Meet Rafa. An Expater in New York since 2006, Rafa hails from Barcelona and is a brand designer / art director by trade. A day spent with Rafa is a race through art, culture and technology, and the end destination is often surprising, generally innovative, and always very, very fun. In fact, my husband and I adore hanging out with this guy so much we even named a son after him.
Here is Rafa’s perfect Sunday in New York:
“My working week is so full on I often like to start my weekend with a movie, especially in the winter. My friends back in Spain can’t get the hang of going to a movie in the morning but I love it. My mum knitted me loads of scarves as she was worried I’d catch frostbite if I left my apartment!
I love the Lincoln Center, the Angelika, the Film Forum or the IFC Center, all of which show some great independent films that just don’t get screened elsewhere. If I’m feeling particularly lazy I’ll head for a blockbuster at the Regal Battery Park theater though, as the seats turn into beds there.
Photo by KGSImaging
I rarely get time to go clothes shopping so I get my essentials from Uniqlo, but if I’m need of something a little special I’ll head to Soho or Williamsburg, to places like Gentry. Fashion is obviously a big thing in the city so there are also a lot of good sample sales and I’ll use LazarShopping or racked.com to navigate my way. The Strategist has a ton of gift tips too.
For dinner, l go out early by my Spanish standards, around 8pm, and go for Greek food in Astoria, Queens. My life can be pretty hectic here in New York, and it’s good to have the opportunity to catch up properly with close friends.
Astoria, Queens. Photo by GabrielShore
While I do miss my family and friends from Europe, New York sucks you into its creative vibe and it’s hard to find anywhere that can match it. Perhaps one day I’ll get tired of the freezing winters though and my mum will be glad to hang up the knitting needles.
Soho, New York. Photo by David Paul Ohmer
What not to say to a New Yorker: Radical self reliance prevails here in the US, so don’t ask for too much help!
Wish I’d known before I arrived: NY is extremely fast-paced and competitive. But it’s very important not to get caught out. Take time out, stop, enjoy, breathe… make space for doing nothing. American culture is obsessed with productivity and success, but a lot of times the pace of life has the opposite effect.
Top tip for a newbie expat: New York is a perfect city for meeting new people. Be adventurous, make eye contact and try to speak with as many people as you can.”