As a broke college student, I found a super good deal for tickets to New York City and with half my classes cancelled for the week, I decided to treat myself and visit the Big Apple.
I wandered the streets of Manhattan and the NYU area, got some street shots and some pics of myself but honestly, I kind of just wanted to live in the moment and explore the city and spend time with friends.
New York is full of touristy sights and so many things to do, but I decided to spend more time in some of the cultural outlets in the city.
The Chai Spot was my personal favorite place I visited. In the midst of NYC’s China Town is a little tea place based off a traditional Pakistani tea shop.
Tea is freshly made and there are variations of it, modeled off traditional desi chai. Toward the back is a lounging area with cultural South Asian patterned tapestries, couches and pillows; everyone sits on the floor and on these cushions. Customers are asked to remove their shoes prior to entering this lounge area, as this is a common custom practiced in South Asian cultures.
Other cultural hubs I visited in NYC were Middle Eastern, Persian and Afghan restaurants and hookah bars. I personally enjoy spending time eating good food and smoking with friends at these places, and I came a couple of times to a restaurant called Khyber Pass. It’s an Afghan restaurant, hence the name “Khyber Pass,” which refers to the Afghan valley.
Traditional hookahs are prepared and brought out to customers, and common Persian and Afghan dishes are served. Apart from a good night with good friends and shisha, I got some pretty good photos and portraits just by being in this visually interesting lighting and cultural setting.
A week isn’t enough time to explore all of NYC, but from where I did go, you get to see how cultures from other parts of the world really influence cuisine and social spots all over the city. 10/10 would come back, and would love to explore and discover new places.