On July 2016, I was assigned to to a business trip to New York City, USA and I found the place quite interesting, I had hundreds of cultural shocks per minute and couldn’t avoid comparing everything with Lithuania or other European countries.
There is nothing compared with Hyper Rimi, Maxima XXX or big Iki. There are food markets named Trader’s Joe, Whole Foods Market, Union Markets and one semi-supermartket named Target but everything was three times more expensive and sometimes the quality was not so good. A French baguette costs U$ 2,00 but it is not as tasty as the € 0,35 French baguette from Iki. I lost so much weight that my underwear don’t fit me anymore.
There are so many buildings next to each other in Manhattan (borough of New York City) and almost zero green areas between them. Everything was grey and trees look like they were growing from the asphalt. It was so refreshing coming back to Vilnius and see so many green places with many trees. New York has many parks, but they don’t feel real because there is so many noise and pollution around.
There are so many people walking in Manhattan that you feel insignificant but it is nice to see so many shiny happy people moving around. It feels like Vilnius gatve but with 100 times more humans moving around. I was missing this feeling because I am an energetic Latin American, but sometimes I need the calm and serenity of the White Bridge.
NYC Pro tip: Avoid walking the streets nearby Time Square after midnight. A lot of drunk people and girls trying to choke one another.
Starbucks vs Vero Caif Coffee Inn
Probably one of my biggest surprises: burgers in New York are not as good as in Vilnius. Americans who visit Lithuania get impressed with the quality of food and specially burgers. Drama Burger, Boom burgers, Indie Bar, Meat Lover pub are all popular places in Lithuania and I even heard that some of them are opening stores in USA.
NYC Pro tip: Drinks are huuuuuge but burgers are smaaaaall. Try to check what people are eating before entering any restaurant.
VNO pro tip: Drama burger has small but really juicy burgers so order beer and something exotic like fried broccoli. Boom burgers is usually full so try to reserve or arrive mentally prepared to wait in line.
New York invested a lot of money in art and there is no match for those amazing Van Goghs. I visited the MET museum but I think that the MoMA has better paintings.
NYC Pro tip: You can pay whatever you want to enter some museums. One of my friend paid $ 1,00 and everything went alright. Museums get a lot of private company money, so don´t feel so bad
VNO pro tip: The money museum and the genocide museum are really interesting
European beers are light years better than anything you can find in other continents, but I found interesting how many IPA and Belgium inspired beers you can find in supermarkets. There are a lot of crazy beers with strange flavored, but I still prefer a Šviturys or a Belgium Leffe or Duvel.
VNO pro tip: Wheat beer are something new for me, try Svyturys Baltas. Ungurio Kojos is my favortie Lithuanian beer (try it at Republic bar groud floor), I personally detest Kalnapilis, you can find Belgian beers at Iki.
Amusement parks and fun
The are so many self service laundries (laundromat) in New York because some apartments do not support the machines, WTF? I heard that is something related to the water pressure. This is quite uncomfortable and a waste of time to walk around the streets with your dirty clothes. It takes one hours to wash and dry everything but at least I could read some books but I would prefer to do it at home. You can easily find one laundromat in every block at residential areas. Most probably a Starbucks nearby as well 🙂
NYC Pro tip: Laundromats sell washing powder for ~ U$ 1,00 and the machine costs U$ 2,00 (You need to insert four 25 cents coins, the laundromat person can change bills for coins), the dryer is tricky, I would advice to use it for 30 minutes to make sure everything is dry.
VNO pro tip: I think there are no Laundromats in Vilnius, avoid getting dirty.
Both are interesting places and everything is even better with friends. I enjoyed so much hanging out with my friends in NYC and I simply adore all the things I do with my friends and my girlfriend around Vilnius. So many things to discover around here and at NYC as well.