Life, travel and hub writing - New York City

Wuppertal

Last year I sold a used Spanish book on Ebay to somebody who lived in Germany. I was surprised when I saw the name, as it was a Spanish one, so I added a comment in Spanish, as I could not help myself. The person answered and added that her name was Sara, that she was originally from Chile and that she was married and living in Wuppertal. We became good friends, exchanged emails once in a while and I got worried at the time of the Chilean earthquake, as she had told me she would go to Chile to visit her family early 2010. I was also in Argentina and Brazil at that time: Itaipu: clean and renewable energy for Brazil & Paraguay! and, coincidentally, it was in an airport that I first heard about the Haitian earthquake of January 12! I wrote to Sara expressing my worries and she wrote back saying that she and her family in Chile were all right! I had never heard about Wuppertal before, but now I had a friend who lived there!

The second time I heard about Wuppertal was when I was on a plane flying to western Canada. Vancouver, time zones and next full moon! From Europe we went over the Iceland volcano and then continued flying west over Canada until we got to our destination. On the plane I made friends with Berit, a very interesting person, who now lives in Brussels and Wuppertal, who could not only speak German, but English too. She could tell me all about Zinc and all its benefits, which were completely unknown to me and that prompted me to write a hub about it. Zinc: essential for life!

The third time I heard about the place again was when my brother suggested we go and see Vollmond when we were in New York City, as it was a dance performance by Pina Bausch, a German choreographer from Wuppertal.

Pina Bausch, 1940 - 2009 (uthoffsdancespin.wordpress.com)
Pina Bausch, 1940 - 2009 (uthoffsdancespin.wordpress.com)

Vollmond (Full moon)

Continuing our wave of overseas trips this year, in October we went to New York City, as my husband had a meeting there. Our flight was during the day, so we left Austria mid morning and after 9 hours arrived in the Big Apple in the early afternoon! I had not been to the city for more than twenty years, so I was eager not only to see the city again, but also my brother Will, whom I had not seen since our Burgundy cruise a couple of years before. Enjoying boating holiday in Burgundy, France!

Before leaving home and at my brothers recommendation, we bought four tickets for Pina’s Bausch’s Vollmond (Full moon) and despite the long day, we still went out for dinner and then to the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) with Will and his friend Jennifer, for the performance.

As I thought about my two Wuppertal friends Sara and Berit, we went to the BAM theatre and the only thing there was a big rock, which took up a quarter of the stage. The performance was nothing like what I had seen before, a mix of dialogue, narrative and modern dance. The work gleams, as water runs over the giant rock, rushes across the stage, or rains down drenching the dancers. As the performance continued, water became more and more important in the piece. Dancers swam in it, one woman used her wet hair to throw water in a spiral in the air, two men dragged a woman through the water, performers threw buckets of water on the rock and each other. Then rain fell down, adding an element of sound that was unexpected, but welcome. Water became a part of the rhythm of the various types of music played and it all suddenly became kind of hypnotic. There were elements of humour, but also moments of grace and great beauty. It turned out to be a really engaging and enjoyable experience despite it being over two hours long! Vollmond was a tribute to the mad spirits unleashed by the full moon, but after hours and hours of rain, the furious gestures turned into joyous play.

New York city lights

When Vollmond was over we took a bus into town and we had an amazing view of the lighted Manhattan skyline before us! We still had to walk to our hotel, but gone was the tiredness, we were in the city that never sleeps, so we could only be happy at that moment!

Jose de San Martin statue in Central Park
Jose de San Martin statue in Central Park
Simon Bolivar statue in Central Park
Simon Bolivar statue in Central Park
Enjoying our picnic in Central Park with a bottle of champagne we brought from Austria, while sitting on a big rock (not the Vollmond one)!
Enjoying our picnic in Central Park with a bottle of champagne we brought from Austria, while sitting on a big rock (not the Vollmond one)!
The Guggenheim Museum
The Guggenheim Museum

Central Park

The first day we were in NYC we got together with Will and Jennifer and went for a picnic in Central Park. It was a beautiful morning, blue sky and sunny, although a bit windy. We caught up on the latest news of our family, which are spread over many countries: Australia, England, Spain, Austria and the Dominican Republic. Will brought along some chicken sandwiches and together we drank the bottle of champagne we brought from Austria, which my husband got as a present for his birthday in August. As we walked back from Central Park I was surprised to find statues of Jose de San Martin and Simon Bolivar, of all people! San Martin is considered one of the greatest heroes of South American independence, as he helped lead the revolutions against Spanish rule in Argentina (1812), Chile (1818), and my home country Peru (1821). Bolivar, on the other hand, is credited with the liberation from Spanish domination of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Panama.

On a rainy day we also went to visit the Guggenheim Museum and we were very impressed by the exhibits, as well as Frank Lloyd Wright, the architect of the building.

Francisco's Centro Vasco

  • Will loves good food, as I know from our boat trips to Burgundy and the Midi in France Enjoying the Canal du Midi in France!, so trust him to know about this place! The Centro Vasco likes to say: “Roll up your sleeves” for a Spanish “Lobsterfest” at this “longtime Chelsea favorite”, where “gigantic crustaceans” are “cooked to perfection” for “rock-bottom prices”; the “pace is frenetic” and it's “not the classiest” joint, but the “value-seeking crowds” don't seem to mind.

    Francisco's Centro Vasco
    159 W 23rd St
    New York, NY 10011

Gourmet dinner!

Will is not only good at finding good restaurants, but he is also good at preparing gourmet dishes himself! When we were there he prepared pigs cheek's for us and it was delicious! In Facebook he said he prepared some Bucatini all'Amatriciana. "Well, actually I couldn't find the Bucatini", he said, "so some pennene had to fill in. But there's one thing in the recipe that really shouldn't be replaced: Guanciale -- that's salt-cured pig cheeks. Finding it isn't so easy" ... Yea, I know, we went together to get it!

We were lucky to be able to stay in Will’s flat for one night when he invited us for dinner, as it was to be our last night in the city. Helping him prepare our meal, I saw a quilt hanging from his kitchen wall and I could immediately recognize my mother’s pet hobby! I could see the colourful sunrise from my window the next morning and later I even looked through my brother’s book collection, as we shared our love for Latin American folk singer Mercedes Sosa’s music.

My brother had only moved a month before, but I had to agree with his choice of location, as the flat was very central, quiet and it had good light. The move had meant an extra bedroom for an office, as well as a $8,000 reduction in rent. As we took the taxi that would take us to the airport I was happy about Will and Jennifer and I hoped that we could meet them again soon somewhere.

Jennifer Grifith
Jennifer Grifith

Meeting Latin Americans

In addition to finding San Martin and Bolivar in Central Park, I also came across a big bottle of Inca Kola (the yellow soft drink from Peru in a corner shop (Longing for Peru!), then the person who cleaned my room in the hotel we were staying in was from Bogota, Colombia and the taxi driver who drove us back to the John Kennedy Airport was also from Ecuador! How nice!

Last but not least!

I have left Jennifer for last, but she was one of the most pleasant surprises of our trip! We were happy to have the opportunity to go and see her singing some jazz at the Miles' Cafe Jazz Club and she even sang a song she had composed for my brother Will! She was tall and elegant, with a nice voice and it was an honor to see her perform!

Francisco's Centro Vasco Restaurant map

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Comments 4 comments

nextstopjupiter profile image

nextstopjupiter 6 years ago from here, there and everywhere

Thank you for this hub! When I visited New York in 1998 I met there two of my friends from Wuppertal ...


sylvia13 profile image

sylvia13 6 years ago from Shoal Bay, NSW, Australia Author

I wish I could meet my friend from Wuppertal, as we still have not met yet! She once went past Graz on her way to Croatia, but unfortunately did not stop here! Although maybe we could meet in Wuppertal and that way I could go to her once a month Spanish literature meetings in a cafe there!


Mike's Corner profile image

Mike's Corner 5 years ago from Maryland

Great NYC hub, Sylvia, thanks!


sylvia13 profile image

sylvia13 5 years ago from Shoal Bay, NSW, Australia Author

Thanks for leaving your comment! I had never enjoyed NYC as much as this time, be it because of my brother, Jennifer, Vollmond or the beautiful food we found there!

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