I’m in New York now, and it feels great to be back in my favorite city. Since I was here the last time, they’ve installed these ESTA- machines in the arrival hall at JFK, so if you are a returning ESTA visitor, you can now proceed directly to a special, very short line. It only took me around 30 minutes to get from the plane and through immigration, fastest ever!
In the summer, the time difference between Dubai and New York is 8 hours, and I felt like a walking dead, when I arrived at the hotel. I tried to sleep, but I couldn’t, so instead I arranged to meet with an old university friend, Ehsan. We walked through Midtown and ended up in Koreatown. There are more than 100,000 Koreans living in New York, and even though most of them live in Queens and not in Koreatown, I still love that place. Koreatown, or K-town as most people call it, is the stretch of 32nd street between 5th Avenue and Broadway, spilling over to the neighboring blocks. There are lots of Korean restaurants, but also Korean beauty salons, karaoke bars and a branch of the Korean beauty store chain The Face Shop.
We had dinner at permanently crowded The Kunjip. Most of the restaurants in K-town serve more or less the same food of the same quality, and The Kunjip is a good choice for a casual, Korean dinner.
The staff at The Kunjip was very nice and helpful, and the lady attending to our table even decided to help us mix the bibimbap after she saw our first, half-hearted try. The banchan (small complimentary side dishes) were plenty and delicious and the food arrived quickly to our table.
Visiting K-town is like visiting a tiny part of Korea in the middle of New York. People usually speak Korean to me in this part of the city, and that was also the case at The Kunjip, even though I replied in English. It’s like “hmm, she looks Korean, so we’ll just speak Korean to her, until she understands”. I think some Koreans abroad even suspect that I speak Korean, but just prefer to speak English.