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New York City snapshots

Time won’t stand still, especially when we are on vacation. It has been three weeks since S left Moldova with Munchkin, and two weeks since D followed suit. In that time, we visited Ireland, spent some time with D’s parents in Connecticut, made separate trips to New York, and are now catching up with S’s family in New England.

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Though he has not lived in New York for a decade and a half, D continues to think of it as home, and makes sure to schedule a stop in the city whenever we are Stateside. Usually, these visits tend to be short — a day or two at most. This time, not only did D spend four nights in New York, but he also saw parts of the city where he had never set foot before.

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Fifteen years is a long time. Restaurants close, and new ones open in their place; whole neighborhoods change. Yet, underneath it all, the city’s soul remains the same as it ever was. D stayed with a friend in Williamsburg, had Vietnamese food in Flushing, and watched the sun set behind Manhattan from a park bench in Long Island City. S spent a day catching up with a close high school friend on the Upper West Side and attended Yom Kippur services. These neighborhoods could not have been more different from one another if they were located on different continents, and therein lies the beauty of New York.

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View from the railing at Rancid’s sold-out show.

In addition to seeing friends — from junior high school, high school, and college — D saw a couple of his favorite bands in concert. Next to friends and family, live music is what D misses most about the United States when we serve abroad. The odd festival that he is able to attend does little to fill the void. In four nights in New York, D managed to go to as many concerts.

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Fishbone’s all-ages matinee show.

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Same band playing an adults-only show later that night. See if you can spot the difference.

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D also found himself participating in a gameshow-like race out in the boonies of Brooklyn. One of D’s best friends talked him into doing the WipeOut Run with him — a 5km obstacle course that could best be described as a mix of water slides and inflatable fun for adults.

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The best part of visiting New York is that it is such a mecca that one never knows whom one might see there. In addition to catching up with one of his Moldovan friends, D also managed to make last-minute plans with a dear friend from Ecuador whose visit to New York happened to coincide with our time on the East Coast.

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