Sunday, June 10, 2007

Foreign Journey: New York, New York 7 @ Soho Area

Soho in New York, stands for South of Houston. Its name has been the model of other neighbourhoods, like Tribeca or Dumbo. Neighbourhoods. Singapore also has its own fair share of neighbourhoods, but the amount of similarity among them is almost choking, while the diversity and difference between each neighbourhood of New York City is overwhelming.

Little Italy used to have a significant Italian population as well as Italian traditional shops and restaurants. However, recently with the rapid growth of the Chinese population in New York (like in every other major cities), Chinese shops are gradually replacing the Italian shops. Although the map might indicate Little Italy, travelers will find more and more Chinese shops in the area, border crossing from the nearby Chinatown. Perhaps a reflection of the real world, of growing power.

The wonderful shop display of Nolita (North of Little Italy), an area for exclusive shopping where shoppers will find private designers and artists, showcasing individualistic products. New York City, a fashion and design capital of the world, can be experienced in this exquisite neighbourhood. Using a word like 'Unique', will be more than appropriate.

With that, it is still possible to find some great Italian food in the area.

Some of the common designs on the buildings around New York City.

Soho, used to be an industrial area and now preserved as a historical district. Artists and designers used to congregate and open their studios several decades ago when the industries closed down. However, when the area was popularised, the rents sky rocketed, driving away the artists and only big label brands could afford the high rents.

However, some artists are still surviving, leaving travelers some insight into individualistic shops, full of taste and distinctive flavour. It might be more true years ago, for in much of today's Soho is consumed by big brands and labels. Cruel, but a fact of life.

The crowded streets of shoppers.

In New York City, every turn is a new surprise, a new discovery. This seemingly famous roadside stall, which seemed to have been featured in the media was seen in the Soho area. There was a substantial line forming and items were quickly sold out. Even after all the food items were sold out, there were still many customers trying to order. Although this stall may be popular and crowded, the owners are still patient and polite.

The simple Mexican tacos. If anyone who patronises fastfood chain like Taco Bell, and cannot understand what is so good about Mexican food, then this stall will explain clearly. Aromatic beef, with special sauce, topped with refreshing tomatoes and herbs, and a squeeze of the lime, a seemingly simple, yet all ingredients match up harmoniously with each other. The right texture, the right taste, it is a wonder how such different ingredients can combine so well with each other. At USD$3 for a small portion, at a roadside stall with a substantial waiting list? Totally worth it, and a revolution to the impression of Mexican food.

A cafe in Soho for tired shoppers.

New York University in the nearby area.

Washington Square Park in the nearby Greenwich Village is a relaxing area and gathering landmark for the locals.

It is an interesting sight to see New Yorkers in their more relaxed form as opposed to the mad rush along the main avenues. They are able to leisurely spend their time away in the great outdoors.

Whether it is reading in the middle of the square,

doing random stuff with friends, socialising or taking the dog for a walk, it is a good place to count every breathe taken

A sight not likely to be seen in Singapore, New Yorkers are able to find the time and mood to relax in the parks, and to take in life with much ease.



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