Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Still breathing!

It's been a while since I've sat down and put finger to key to update this virtual diary. Not because I've been too busy, but because I've been thinking that what I'm doing is not actually all that interesting. My lovely friend L is having such a blast in Hong Kong, working like a dog, but grabbing life with both hands and squeezing out all it has to offer. Her blog is hilarious, sad, touching and inspiring reading, so go and visit it!

One thing I've done recently that certainly was not dull was visiting Manhattan - the antithesis of boring. It was truly amazing. We didn't stop discovering, walking, exploring for the whole week we were there. The city of New York is one of those intoxicating places where you leave with the feeling that you still have so much more to learn and discover. We went to museums (the Met, the MoMA, the Frick Collection, the Guggenheim), restaurants (One If By Land, Uno, Vinyle, Joe Allen), shops (Century 21, DKNY, Barney's, Bloomingdale's) and countless other places.

New York is a sizzling mix of cultures, so you can not only eat Chinese but you can choose from Szechuan or Catonese; the choice of restaurants alone is dazzling. Chinatown itself is spreading out from its original location around Canal Street and is swallowing up Little Italy, which is now just a street or two of Italian restaurants. The map of the city is dotted with Little Ukraine, Little Korea and is only becoming more and more diversified as time goes on.

One threat to this diversification is the gentrification of most of Manhattan. The West Village is no longer gay and bohemian but rich and bourgeois. Harlem is no longer a no-go zone where drivers jump the red lights to avoid stopping in the area, it has an H+M, a Starbucks and a Body Shop. You can even see on the photo above that a Caviar and Champagne Emporium is opening soon in the middle of Harlem. For New Yorkers, the soul of their gritty city will soon be lost forever and they are seriously against most of the sterilisation of their beloved neighbourhoods.

So now I'm back in Paris, back in my real life routine and back at work. My 31st birthday has just gone by and we marked it in style with a New York cocktail party. Lots of fun and lots of cosmopolitans, but somehow the rainy Paris evening outside didn't quite match up to the brisk, cold NY skies.

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