The Concrete Jungle Everyone Loves, New York City.

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If I could blame one person who should be responsible for starting my New York City fantasies, I would probably point my finger at Kevin McCallister. That’s right, everyone’s favorite kid in the 90s. Going way back around 17 years ago, I remember it was my very first time watching the Home Alone series while eating breakfast cereal with my little brother. We loved it so much that it instantly became our favorite movie at that time. Even though both of the movies were great, the sequel which was shot in New York City, was the one that captivated me the most. From his adventure, Kevin McCallister managed to impress me by showing how magical and amusing the city is, especially during the holiday season. Central Park looking all white covered in snow, the skating rink, the toy store, the magnificent view of Manhattan from the top of Twin Towers, the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center, everything seemed wonderful. I was so stunned to the point where I promised myself to visit the city one day no matter what it takes. I fell for New York City ever since.

Before I came here, I’d heard stories that New York is not as pretty as the one you see in the movies. It’s loud, it’s dirty, it’s unsafe, and all sorts of other bad stuff that you could imagine. Well, they are right. I hear sound of sirens everywhere I go, it’s so loud but that’s fine. It’ll probably be gone in 20 seconds or less. There are always piles of trash in the sideways. As a matter of fact, I’m starting to think of it as part of the landmark now. This city can be harsh and mean as well. One day, some guy tried to snatch my phone from my hand when I was walking down the busy 42nd street but hey, I managed to get it back plus a random stranger happened to help me get up and made sure I was ok. So yes, New York City might not be as fantastic as I had envisioned before and I sure did need a little getting used to at first, but today I’m already feeling like at home.

Now that I’ve lived here for several months, I guess it’s neither the tall buildings, the landmarks, nor the fancy little restaurants that fascinates me about the city anymore. It’s the energy that I get from these inspiring New Yorkers everyday. It’s the spirit of creativity and the sense of freedom. New Yorkers are nice, they are genuinely nice and helpful to me no matter where I come from and what my sexual preference is. They make me feel like I belong in the community although I’m a foreigner. I can go on and on about this but eventually, there’s only one thing to say: I can’t help but fall deeper for the city.

Often times I still find it hard to believe that I’m in New York City right now, especially when I realize that I’m actually living here, not just visiting. It feels surreal.

N.

SE1

So God gave me this wonderful gift last year, which was to make me experience the great life in the city I most adore: London.

After my thesis submission last September, I decided to stay a little longer in the UK to gain more knowledge on graphic design and fine arts as well as doing a bit of part-time jobs here and there. What happened there was suprisingly magical (lol) and brought me with too many memories to cherish. And on my first post, I’d like to share about my neighbourhood — SE1, London Borough of Lambeth.

Basically SE1, the postcode, means ‘South Eastern’ part of London with a front view of the River Thames. It is also located in the central area of the city where access to tourism spots are walking distance. To be precise, I have an everyday view of Big Ben on my right and the MI6 Building on my left. Plus, Tate Britain is just accross the river. Isn’t it lovely?!

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Dearest Salamanca Street

The nearest station is Vauxhall, with an access to Victoria Underground line, Overground trains, and various bus numbers! Just a 10-minute walk from Salamanca Place (the name of the apartment I used to live). Definitely made it even easier for me to commute around the city.

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Vauxhall from Lambeth Bridge

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Now a view of Lambeth Bridge itself with the iconic Big Ben and Houses of Parliament. Can you also spot the London Eye?

Oh, behind Salamanca Place, there’s a street called Tyers Street. Along the street there are shops and small restaurants that can be considered quite completing my daily needs, including topping up my Oyster card (a smartcard which can hold pay as you go credit for traveling around the city with almost all Transport for London services).

One interesting place I used to stop by is The Organic Shop. Everything sold is organic groceries (obviously) and way cheaper than other stores in London (as far as I’m concerned). What I like about the store is of course the rustic ambience and also the super friendly owner who likes to share stories about his family or even what happened to him during the day. To add, he’s terribly funny even 80-year-old-look grannies laugh their asses off everytime he tells jokes, lol.

One more thing, accross Tyers Street, there’s a small lane going towards Newport Street Gallery, one of my favourite galleries in London where I used to take visitors to – except Nicke hahaha the gallery was closed due to change of exhibitor. More stories of London galleries and Nicke & Prita’s London trip will be uploaded on our next posts, wait for it!

Ah, well. Til next time for more of my London experience!

P.

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And… Dats me waiting for a bus, wkwk.