Where have you been living as a Kiwi expat?
New York, New York! Otherwise known as The Big Apple, The City of Dreams, The Concrete Jungle!
What took you there, what did you do?
I’ve always known that I wanted to move there one day, so I headed over on a 1-year work visa. My plan had been to get an internship in footwear design and let the rest unfold, naturally. After a few weeks as an intern, I was offered a full-time job as an Executive Sales Assistant/Business and PR Coordinator, which meant working 24/7 – but I really enjoyed it. Not many people can say they enjoy their job, so I’m really lucky. The position was full on, but it allowed me to travel with the CEO to places like Canada and Las Vegas for meetings and tradeshows, so it’s been a great experience.
How did you find living overseas on your own – had you ever lived alone before?
Honestly, I’m a really independent being. I moved to Sydney for a few months when I was 21, and in my eyes, Sydney is a mini New York, so I knew I’d be fine. I also think I’m a pretty fortunate person – everything always seems to work out for me (at least that’s what I like to think, anyway). I’m really spontaneous, especially when it comes to traveling – I decided one weekend away with the girls that I was moving to New York, and in August last year, I spontaneously booked a ticket to Paris and London. The only thing I can say is that, because I worked so much while living in New York, there are times it did get lonely. It’s ironic because even amongst all the millions of people in New York, one can still feel lonely. But it’s a good lonely, not a sad lonely. I just reminded myself to focus on what I moved here for (to build a career for myself), and not to be swayed by anything or anyone. Not everybody can say they live/lived in New York, but then again, not everybody is cut out for New York either.
Now, New York!
Your favourite spot/s in the city?
This is a hard one… I’ve got a lot of favorite spots!
– Station in Williamsburg is a place I take all my friends that are new to or visiting New York. They do a really good eggs benny for brunch, or white wine and garlic mussels for dinner.
– Izakaya Mew in the garment district is my local for Japanese food. All the dishes are cheap and cheerful – it’s great for share plates. I took a friend once, and he basically ordered almost everything on the menu!
– The Jimmy at the James Hotel was our Friday night destination for sipping cocktails and drinking in (pun absolutely intended) the view of New York City.
– Wholefoods – the salad bar is my favorite part.
– Tortilla Flats is good on a Monday or Tuesday night. Mexican food and Bingo is quite a combination. The best thing about it is that if someone on your table wins at Bingo, everybody on the table scores a free round of tequila shots, plus you can win other prizes. My best way to describe it is a Burger King joint on acid.
I kept a travelog and noted down my year in New York, so for more places to check out, have a look on http://www.tiffanytalkstravel.tumblr.com
What did you miss most about home?
My family. Christmas 2012 was my first Christmas away from home, so I did get quite homesick. Also, not that I drink it, but coffee in New York is nothing compared to coffee in New Zealand. [For good NZ coffee, go to Happy Bones on Bond St.]
Hardest/ worst thing about living there?
The time-zone difference and trying to keep in contact with people back home. Also, the rats that live in subway stations and wander the streets. Oh, and also the smell in the summer (those that have been to New York know what I mean). I’m not really phased by the rats or the smell, but I know some people are. As I said, not everybody is cut out for New York.
Must see places for a NY first-timer?
If it’s your first time in New York, I recommend doing the tourist-y things, such as The Rockefeller Centre, Highline, Central Park etc. You’ve got to do a rooftop drink (preferably in the summertime) – The Jimmy at the James Hotel, phD at the Dream Hotel, and/or The Wythe Hotel are great options. For quirky restaurants and bars, I suggest the Lower East Side or Williamsburg. There are so many great spots in New York, most of them you hear through word of mouth from friends, or just stumbling across them. Oh, and you must do a boozy brunch. That’s a must. Ken & Cook does a really good Bloody Mary.
What was the best thing that happened to you/ best experience you had in New York, which could have only happened there?
I have had so many great experiences that I could roll on about but one that stands out a lot to me is the time I had a dinner date which I had actually forgotten about. I wasn’t 100% on it, but I agreed to go. An hour before I was meant to meet up with the guy, I was given tickets to a New York Knicks game, which I was SO EXCITED about [side note: that’s also another thing you should do, if you have a weekend in New York – go to a Knicks game]. Anyway, I thought I’d cancel on the date and take one of my girlfriends instead, but they were working or sick, so I ended up going with the date and you know what? I ended up having so much fun and he was so stoked. A first date watching The Knicks play, whilst eating hotdogs and cheering on the team? Only in New York.
Lastly, was it anything like Sex and the City?