KAREN TAN New York City, USA
Karen Tan moved to New York in 2012, when she accompanied her husband Chris Teo, who had enrolled for a one-year programme in dentistry at the New York University. Her husband enjoyed it so much that he decided to take up a three-year postgraduate programme. With two more years to go, Tan is taking it in her stride and enjoying what the Big Apple has to offer, spending time with her husband and minding her pet chihuahua. She says: “There really is no other city like NYC. It’s got this energy and buzz going on full-tilt 24/7, which you just can’t get anywhere else.”
Something to try in NYC…are bagels. New York bagels are in a league of their own. Many places do them pretty well, so long as you get one from a legitimate bagel shop. Ess-a-Bagel (831 3rd Avenue) and Black Seed Bagels (170 Elizabeth Street) are some of the more famous bagel shops. I like mine toasted with plain cream cheese.
My top fast-food burger place…is Shake Shack. My favourite branch is at Madison Square Park (Madison Avenue and East 23rd Street). You get to sit in the park, enjoy a view of the Flatiron Building and people-watch as you scarf down your Shack Burger, fries and fairtrade coffee shake. Falling asleep on a park bench after is optional.
The one thing I have enjoyed from the get-go is…the food. NYC has numerous good restaurants and offers so many options. For hot dogs, go to Crif Dogs (113 St Marks Place). They have an imaginative menu and you can have tater tots on the side. Cafe Mogador (101 St Marks Places) serves great Moroccan food; try the lamb tagine. And Peter Luger Steakhouse (178 Broadway, Brooklyn) has the best steak in town — it’s notoriously hard to get a dinner reservation but it’s worth the effort.
The best place to people-watch…is at Union Square (14th Street). There’s always something going on at any point in time. People playing chess, Hare Krishnas singing and dancing, people walking their dogs, the odd protest here and there, streetside peddlers, musicians and skateboarders…it’s almost a circus in itself.
Friends from Singapore…should check out Central Park. In a city so starved for real estate, it’s amazing that a space this large has been carved out for a park. Besides running and biking around the park, there’s always something exciting to do. You could take a free yoga class, watch Shakespeare in the Park, attend the Central Park Film Festival and ice-skate in the winter. Or simply find your own little space in the park for a picnic and a good book.
Another place of interest I’d recommend…is The High Line (which can be accessed via 14th Street), where a park on a disused section of a railway track that previously served the Meatpacking District has been built. This park is elevated above the streets on the west side of Manhattan and gives a great view of the Hudson River and New Jersey. When it’s not too hot, it’s great to take a long slow stroll with a coffee or a popsicle in hand. Take your time, sit, sunbathe and just breathe a little easier.
Magnificence in NYC is…The Brooklyn Bridge. Completed in 1883, it was the first bridge to span the East River. And at the time of completion, it was the world’s longest suspension bridge. What I like most about it is that it’s one of the quintessential New York icons that appeals to both wide-eyed tourists and born-and-bred New Yorkers alike.
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KAREN TAN New York City, USA