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A Foreigner in New York by Ram贸n Ybarra Rubio


A Foreigner in New York


by Ramon Ybarra Rubio Burlington Books * P.O. Box 54411 3721 Limassol Cyprus Burlington Books is an imprint of Danos Books Ltd.


Maps of New York Area and Manhattan

The publisher would like to thank the following people: Castellano: Català: Euskara: Galego:

Elena Terán Herranz Maria Esteve Serraviñals Edurne Azkue Urrestilla Ramon Nicolas Rodriguez

All rights reserved by the publisher. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means - electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise - without permission in writing from the publisher.

ISBN 9963-46-898-5 Copyright © 2003 Burlington Books Burlington Reader No. B2.16 10 12

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Comparison of American and British English

A Foreigner in New York


Questions on the Text








Antonio es un joven español al que le gusta viajar y siempre ha deseado conocer Nueva York. A Foreigner in New York nos cuenta cómo por fin se le presenta la oportunidad de ir y las dos visitas que hace a la ciudad. Al seguirle en sus rutas turísticas conocemos sus impresiones, los lugares famosos y otros que no lo son tanto, y también a su interesante grupo de amigos. La lectura ofrece una vision fascinante de esta ciudad conocida en todo el mundo, de su historia y su modo de vida, desde los perritos calientes hasta los partidos de beisbol. ¡No te sorprendas si despues de leerla sientes ganas de coger el primer vuelo a Nueva York!

Antonio bidaiatzea gustatzen zaion eta betidanik New York ezagutzeko gogoa izan duen espaniar gaztea da. A Foreigner in New York ek nola azkenean hirira joateko aukera zabaltzen zaion eta bertara egiten dituen bi bisitaldien berri ematen digu. Antonioren ibilbide turistikoen ondotik, bere inpresioak, leku ospetsuak eta ez hain ospetsuak ezagutuko ditugu, eta, aldi berean, bere lagun-talde interesgarria ere. Bidaien irakurketak mundu osoan ezaguna den hiri honen ikuspegi xarmagarria eskaintzen digu, bere historiarena eta bizitzeko erarena, saltxitxa-ogitartekoetatik hasi eta beisboleko partidetara. Ez zaitez harritu irakurri ondoren New Yorkera doan lehen hegaldia hartzeko gogoa sentitzen baduzu!



L'Antonio es un jove espanyol a qui li agrada viatjar i sempre ha desitjat coneixer Nova York. A Foreigner in New York ens explica com per fi se li presenta l'oportunitat d'anar-hi i les dues visites que fa a la ciutat. Mentre el seguim en les seves rutes turfstiques coneixem les seves impressions, els indrets famosos i d'altres que no ho son tant, i tambe el seu interessant grup d'amics. La lectura ofereix una visid fascinant d'aquesta ciutat coneguda arreu del mdn, de la seva historia i la seva manera de vida, des dels hot dogs fins als partits de beisbol. No et quedis sorpres si despres de llegir-la tens ganes d'agafar el primer vol cap a Nova York!

Antonio e un mozo espanol ao que lie gosta viaxar e sempre desexou conecer Nova York. A Foreigner in New York cdntanos cdmo por fin se He presenta a oportunidade de ir e as diias visitas que fai a cidade. Ao seguilo nos seus roteiros turisticos cofiecemos as siias impresidns, os lugares famosos e outros que non o son tanto, e tamen a sua interesante panda de amigos. A lectura ofrece unha visidn fascinante desta cidade conecida en todo o mundo, da sua historia e o seu modo de vida, desde os bocadillos de salchichas quentes ata os partidos de beisbol. Non te sorprendas se logo de lela sentes ganas de coller o primeiro voo a Nova York!





American English

British English





cell phone

mobile phone





French fries


get sick

become ill



guy line













dinner suit








"Hi, Antonio, it's Jason." "Jason! How are you?! Where are you?!" I hadn't expected to hear Jason's voice when I picked up the phone. The last time I had seen him was more than two years before when I was in my last year of studying journalism and English at Salamanca University. At the time, he had just spent one year of his university studies at Salamanca and had then returned to Boston University to finish his theatre studies. "I'm in New York. I'm finally living here!" he said. "How long have you been living there?" I asked. "I've been here for almost six months," he replied. "I'm sorry that I didn't call or write to you earlier. I wanted to wait until I was settled here. I've finally got an apartment and a regular job. Well, it's not an acting job yet. I'm working as a waiter like every other unemployed actor, but the important thing is that I'm living my dream." "That's great, Jason! I'm really happy for you!" I said. "How are you?" asked Jason. "What are you doing?" "I'm fine," I answered, "and I'm writing articles for a travel magazine." "That's perfect because I haven't forgotten the offer that I made to you before leaving Salamanca," Jason said. Jason and I had become close friends in Salamanca. We shared a lot of the same interests. For example, we both loved movies. Our favourite movie director was Woody Allen and the city that we both really wanted to see was New York. Most of Woody Allen's movies are set there. We often talked about how magical and special the city looked in his movies. Another interest we shared was travelling. I had even written a book


about my experiences in Great Britain and it had been published. We also had our own personal reasons for wanting to go to New York. Jason was studying to be an actor. He wanted to move there and act in a Broadway musical one day. My reason was that my father is from New York. "New York City is a different country," my father often used to say when we were living in Florida during my childhood. I grew up hearing stories about my father's childhood in New York. He used to talk about going to the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. I tried to imagine what it was like to walk down the city streets or to go to the Bronx to see a baseball game at Yankee Stadium. The Bronx is one of the five different boroughs, or areas, of New York City. The other boroughs are Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the island of Manhattan, which is where the centre of the city is. However, my family moved to Spain just before my 12th birthday and I never got the opportunity to visit my father's home city. Although Jason still remembered it, I had almost forgotten the offer that he had made me the day he left Salamanca. "I want you to come and visit me when I move to New York," he had said. "You can stay as long as you like. Mi casa es tu casa.''' Then he got on the bus that took him to Barajas airport. That was the last time I had talked to him until this phone call. "I haven't forgotten your offer, Jason," I said, trying to sound truthful. "Good," he replied. "So, when are you coming?" "I don't know," I said. "Your phone call is completely unexpected." "Well, think about it and let me know," said Jason. "Christmas time is a great time to come if you can. The city is really beautiful then and it would be a lot of fun to spend New Year's Eve with you in Times Square." 9


Times Square is located in the centre of the theatre district. Most of the main theatres, rehearsal and audition halls are there. It's also where people go to celebrate New Year's Eve. "I promise to call you back in a week with an answer. Goodbye, Jason," I said and put down the phone. I didn't want to visit New York for just a few days because there are too many things to see and do there. The flight is also much longer and more expensive than travelling around Europe. My main problem was that I didn't have enough money to stay there for a long time. New York can be an expensive city. I decided to call the magazine that I work for and propose writing an article about New York City at Christmas time. They thought it was a good idea and agreed to pay me in advance for the article. I calculated that it was enough money to live there for a little more than a month. I bought my plane ticket and called Jason to tell him the good news.

/ bought my plane ticket and called Jason to tell him the good news.

Here are my New York adventures. I hope that you enjoy them as much as I did. 10




"Is this your first trip to New York?" asked the man sitting next to me on the plane. He had noticed that I was reading a guidebook of the city. "Yes, it is," I answered. "I've always wanted to go there." The man's name was George and he was very friendly. He was from New York and worked as the chief editor of the arts and leisure section for The New York Times, the city's most prestigious newspaper. He told me that he was returning from visiting a friend who lived in Madrid. We talked for the rest of the flight and he told me a lot of interesting things about New York that weren't in my guidebook. I told him that I really appreciated all the information he was giving me. I explained that I wanted to feel what it was like to live in New York and to meet real New Yorkers. George laughed. "What do you think a real New Yorker is?" he asked. "Someone like you or my father," I replied. "He was born and grew up there." "Well, I grew up there but I wasn't born there," George said. "I was born in Athens." George explained that his parents were from Greece. Shortly after he was born, they moved to New York City. "My father worked very hard," George said. "First he bought a small fruit store in the Bronx and made it popular. Then he sold it and bought a bigger one. After that store became successful, he sold it too and bought an even bigger one. Now he's got an enormous fruit market in Queens. He's the definition of a real New Yorker. "People from different races and cultures have been coming to New York to make a better life for themselves since the city was founded. It has always had a mixture of cultures and religions. You'll see that there are people there from every part of the world and they're all 'real' New Yorkers. That includes your friend Jason, who has been in the city for less than a year. 11


He moved there to live his dream. That makes him a New Yorker. I guess that's the main reason why it's such a special place." While we were waiting for our luggage, George asked me how I planned to get to my friend's apartment. I told him that I was planning to take a bus into the city and then call my friend to come and get me. "That could take a long time," George said. "Kennedy airport is very far from the centre of the city and you'll probably have to wait some time for a bus. I've got a private limousine waiting for me. I'd be very happy to take you to your friend's apartment." "Thank you, but you've already been enough help," I replied. "I don't mind taking the bus." "Don't be silly," said George. "A lot of people think that New Yorkers aren't friendly. Maybe it's because we're always in such a hurry. I want to prove to you that we actually are." I accepted. When I saw the limousine, I knew that I had made the right choice! It was enormous and I felt like a movie star sitting in it! During the drive, George told me about interesting places that weren't in my guidebook - including his favourite pizza shop - and made a list of them for me. Suddenly, I saw the New York skyline outlined in the early evening sky with all the buildings lit up, including the Empire State Building. It's hard for me to describe what I felt at that moment. It was beautiful! "I'm jealous," George said. "Why?" I asked, surprised. "I love and appreciate this city," he explained, "but I've never had the look of wonder in my eyes that you've got now. I guess that it's because I grew up here and I'm accustomed to it." I tried to look at everything we passed as we drove through the streets of Manhattan. Just before reaching Jason's apartment, we passed through Times Square. I was speechless. There were so many people and lights and traffic! It had an energy I've 12


The limousine was enormous and I felt like a movie star sitting in it!

never felt before or since. It was like seeing your favourite movie star in person. I had seen these streets so many times in the movies and now I was really here! A few blocks later, the limousine stopped in front of Jason's apartment building. George helped me with my bags while I rang my friend's buzzer. Seconds later, Jason appeared at the door to welcome me and I introduced him to George. They shook hands. "Well, I need to go now," George said. "My wife will get worried if I'm late." "Thank you so much for everything," I said. "You've given me a wonderful introduction to the city." 13



"You're very welcome," he replied. "Here's the list of the places that I mentioned and my personal card. Don't hesitate to call if you need something. I hope you have a lot of fun during your stay. Goodbye." George got into his limousine and the car drove away. Jason turned to me with a smile on his face. "Well, you really know how to travel in style!" he said. I told Jason how I had met George as we carried my two heavy suitcases up to his fourth-storey walk-up. That means that his apartment was on the fourth floor and there was no elevator! After resting from the exercise, Jason suggested that we take a walk to Times Square as it was nearby. It sounded perfect! Jason's apartment was on 46th Street between 9th and 10th Avenues. It's very easy to get around Manhattan because most of the streets and avenues are numbered. The streets go northsouth and increase in number as you go north. The avenues go east-west and increase in number as you go west. This way of planning a city is called a grid system. Barcelona has the same thing in L'Eixample (El Ensanche), only the streets aren't numbered there. The only part of Manhattan that isn't in a grid system is the most southern part. That's where the original settlement was located. A Dutch businessman named Peter Minuette bought the island of Manhattan from the local Native Americans (or Indians as they were called in those days) for 60 guilders (600 euros today) in 1626. Gradually, the settlement became a city and in the early 1800s, the grid system was established to give some sense of order to its expansion. "This neighbourhood is called Hell's Kitchen," Jason said, as we walked along. "Hell's Kitchen!" I exclaimed. "This is where my father was born and grew up! He told me that it was a very tough neighbourhood because it was very near the piers where the ships used to arrive and there were a lot of gangs in the area. It doesn't look so dangerous now."

"That's because the piers aren't used any more," Jason explained. "Many of the old buildings have also been renovated. It's a much more expensive neighbourhood now." "I guess that it's changed a lot," I said. "Well, there's one thing that hasn't changed," Jason said. "A lot of actors and dancers still live here like they used to when your dad was growing up. This particular street has always been called 'Dancers' Row'." "Why is that?" I asked. "Hell's Kitchen is just west of Times Square," replied Jason. "It's much more convenient to live a few streets away from the theatre district than to take a 40-minute subway ride to get here. If I've got any auditions while you're here, you'll understand." Just then, we arrived at Times Square. I've returned to Times Square many times since then, and I always feel the same energy and vitality. I live in Madrid and have often been to London, but I've never seen so many different kinds of people walking past me. It seemed like the whole world was condensed into this square. George was right. People from all over the world lived here.



It seemed like the whole world was condensed into this square.



There was so much to look at! There were enormous advertisements everywhere! To my right stood the building where the ball comes down during the countdown to midnight on New Year's Eve, just as in the Puerta del Sol in Madrid. There were Broadway theatres all around me with bright marquees advertising the shows that were playing in them. We stopped to listen to a really good jazz saxophonist on one street and then stopped to listen to a man playing the bagpipes dressed in traditional Scottish clothes - kilt included - on the next street. Eventually, we entered a piano bar to have a drink and to talk. As the piano player sang songs from famous Broadway musicals, Jason and I told each other everything that we had done in the past two years. We didn't get very far because I suddenly felt very tired. "I think that we'd better get you home and into bed," Jason said. "I'm sorry," I replied. "It must be the change in time zones. I guess I'm still on Madrid time and it's 3.00 am there." "That's OK, you need your sleep," said Jason. "We're going to have a full day tomorrow." "We've already got plans for tomorrow?" I asked. "Of course we do," replied Jason. "Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. We've got a parade to go to in the morning and a dinner in the evening."

I woke up early the next morning feeling very excited. When I was living in Florida as a child, Thanksgiving was one of my favourite holidays. It commemorates how the Native Americans, or Indians, helped the first English settlers in Massachusetts survive their first difficult year in the New World. They gave them food and showed them what vegetables to plant. The English settlers celebrated their first harvest by inviting the Indians to a big dinner to thank them for their help. American

families still celebrate this holiday as a day to give thanks for all the good things they've got by getting together and having a big turkey dinner. Although turkey wasn't the main dish on that first Thanksgiving, it was one of the things that they ate. The turkey is a native American bird which quickly became the main dish for any special meal in the United States. New York adds a special touch to this holiday by having a big parade on Thanksgiving morning that is televised nationally. It is organised by a famous department store, Macy's, and is more than three hours long! Marching bands from high schools from all over the country play in it. There are also lots of clowns and famous people who ride in elaborate floats. However, the most impressive things in the parade are the enormous balloons that are part of it. They are usually balloons of famous cartoon characters and can be as big as 20 metres high! Jason had said the night before that we needed to find a space along the parade route by 7.00 am. The parade starts at 8.00 am and thousands of people go to see it. At 6.45 we were finishing our coffee when Jason's buzzer rang. "Oh, I forgot to tell you last night," Jason said. "I invited a friend of mine to come with us to the parade. I hope you don't mind." "Of course not," I said. "I'm looking forward to meeting your friends." As we were walking down the stairs, he told me that his friend's name was Elaine. They both worked as waiters in the same restaurant. She was studying at New York University and was finishing her doctoral thesis on the history of New York City. * "I'm sure that she'll be able to tell you lots of interesting things about the city," Jason said as we reached the ground floor. Jason opened the door and introduced me to his friend. I didn't expect her to be so pretty. She looked just like Nicole Kidman! "I've brought some hot chocolate in a thermos," she said.







"It's quite cold and we'll be standing in the open air for more than three hours. I'm sure that we'll be happy to have it." She was right. It was very, very cold but we had a great time and the hot chocolate helped a lot. We got a space on the corner of 49th Street and Broadway and waited for the parade to start. "Actually, the origins of this parade are European," Elaine explained. "Really?" I asked. "I thought it celebrated an American holiday." "It does," she replied. "However, the people who worked at Macy's in the 1920s were almost all European immigrants. These immigrants wanted to celebrate this day like they celebrated local holidays in Europe. I guess that a lot of parades were organised there because in New York they marched down the streets dressed up as cowboys, knights and sheikhs. They even borrowed 25 animals from the Central Park Zoo. More than 250,000 people came out to see the parade. It was an instant success. The first big balloons appeared in 1927. The people who dress up as clowns and pull the balloons are still Macy's employees." Just then, I saw an enormous balloon appear in the distance. It was Snoopy. As it got closer, I saw that more than 30 people were holding its ropes and pulling it down Broadway! It was so big that it almost touched the buildings on either side of the street! For the next two hours, many other balloons, marching bands, floats and clowns marched past us. I felt like I was a little boy again and I couldn't stop smiling. The last float of the parade carried Santa Claus. "Wait a minute," I said. "Why is Santa Claus in the Thanksgiving parade? He isn't part of this holiday. He belongs to Christmas." "In a way, he is part of Thanksgiving," answered Elaine. "His float marks the end of the parade and the beginning of the Christmas season here."

After Santa Claus had passed, Elaine turned to Jason. "I should go home and make the mashed potatoes for later on," she said. "Will Antonio be joining us for the orphans' dinner?" Jason nodded. "Great!" she continued. "Well then, I'll see both of you in a few hours." She gave us a lovely smile and walked away. "I'm confused," I said to Jason. "Are we going to a dinner with orphans tonight? Aren't we supposed to be having a traditional Thanksgiving dinner?" "We're the orphans," Jason answered, laughing. "People in



The last float of the parade carried Santa Claus.



the United States try to have Thanksgiving dinner with their families. However, this is a very big country and sometimes people can't travel to be with their immediate families. Elaine and I have got a group of friends who, for various reasons, can't be with their families. That's why we call ourselves orphans. We'll all have Thanksgiving dinner together and make our own family. Each person is bringing a different part of the dinner. Elaine is bringing the mashed potatoes and we're bringing the wine. I think that you'll enjoy yourself. It's going to be in a very special place." A little after 1.00 pm, Jason and I were getting into one of New York's famous yellow cabs -just like the ones I had seen in the movies. I didn't pay attention to the address he gave the driver. I was too surprised by the turban that the cab driver was wearing. I asked Jason about it as we got out of the cab. "Haven't you ever seen a Sikh before?" he asked. "Only in London," I answered. "I'm sorry, I guess that I forgot that there are people from all over the world here, too." "That's OK," said Jason. "I forget that you've only been here for a day. To see so many different cultures mixed into one city must be new for you." As we walked down the street to the apartment where the dinner was being organised, Jason explained that we were in a neighbourhood called SoHo. I remembered reading that it was an area with a lot of fancy stores and art galleries. The architecture of the buildings and the narrow streets reminded me of parts of London. "These buildings were all small factories at the beginning of the 20th century," Jason explained. "People started converting them into apartment buildings a few decades ago. They're called loft apartments and take up the whole floor. They're enormous and very expensive. Did you ever see a movie called Ghost? "Yes, I did," I answered. "Well, where Demi Moore lived was a typical loft apartment

in this neighbourhood," said Jason. "Have you got a rich friend who lives here?" I asked. "No," he replied. "Actually, a friend of mine has got rich friends who live here." Jason explained that he had a Hawaiian friend called Peter who was a ballet dancer. He was a friend of the married couple who owned the loft. They were marine biologists and he was taking care of it while they were away in the South Pacific working with whales. It all sounded so exotic! Minutes later, we walked into the largest apartment I've ever been in. It was so big that one of the guests was riding a bicycle around it, although it was fully furnished! There was a grand piano in the middle of the room that looked small in so much space! Elaine walked up to us and gave us each a kiss on the cheek. "If you don't mind," she said to Jason. "I'm going to introduce this handsome Spaniard to the rest of the group." My face went red and I hoped that she didn't notice. Then I was introduced to the most interesting group of people I've ever met in one place. As well as Peter, the Hawaiian ballet dancer, there was an opera singer, a composer, a few musicians, a few actors, a sculptor, a painter, a journalist, a chef and a couple of lawyers. The places that they were from were as varied as their professions. There were people from California, New Orleans, Alabama, France, Japan, Russia, South Africa and there was even someone from Seville! His name was Jose Luis and he was a sports journalist for a Hispanic newspaper. "I didn't know that there were newspapers written in Spanish here!" I said. "Sure," he replied. "There's a very large Hispanic population in New York with people from almost every part of Latin America. Many of them like to read the news in Spanish." Just then, Peter came out of the kitchen. "The turkey's ready," he said. "It's time to eat."




We all sat at a long table and had a wonderful meal. The food was delicious and the conversation was stimulating. Everyone was from such interesting places and had such interesting jobs that there was always something to talk about.


I was very happy to hear that Elaine was going to share a cab with us as she lived very near Jason. "I suppose that you're planning on seeing all the typical tourist attractions while you're here," she said to me as we were going home in the cab. "Yes, I am," I replied. "Would you like some company?" she asked. "I've never been to the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty or any of those places. I'm like most New Yorkers. We want to see these things but constantly postpone going to them. As you're here, I'd like to show them to you - and to myself." "That would be wonderful," I said. She promised to call me the next day to decide which place we would go to first. It was the perfect ending to a perfect day. CHAPTER 3


They were also very friendly and open. I felt completely at home with them. Although we finished having coffee and dessert around 5.00 pm, no one left until 10.00 pm. I looked at my watch and couldn't believe how much time had passed! It had been a wonderful evening and I felt that I had made some new friends. Almost everyone gave me their phone number and told me to call them because they wanted to show me things that they liked in the city.

The phone rang the next day about noon. It was Elaine calling to make plans to go sightseeing. "I've got the day off work tomorrow," she said. "Would you like to see some tourist attractions then?" "That sounds great," I replied. "What do you want to see?" "Well, I'd love to show you the Statue of Liberty," she answered. "We could take the first ferry to Liberty Island in the morning and maybe see the Empire State Building in the afternoon." The Statue of Liberty is on an island in New York harbour called Liberty Island. There's a ferry service that takes tourists there from the southern tip of Manhattan. We agreed to meet at 9.00 the following morning. I put down the phone feeling excited about the next day's plans. I asked Jason if he wanted to come with us, but he said that he had to work at the restaurant. I spent the rest of the day relaxing and talking to Jason. It was the perfect thing to do because my body was still getting accustomed to the change in hours and I needed



We all sat at a long table and had a wonderful meal.



some rest before my first big day of sightseeing. When I walked out of Jason's apartment building the following morning, I was happy to see that it was a bright, sunny day. Elaine suggested that we take the subway to get to the Statue of Liberty ferry. "Great!" I replied. I had seen the subway in movies many times and was very curious to travel on it in person. We walked into the Times Square subway station and Elaine led me to a track where the express trains stopped. I looked at the signs and was surprised to see that a number of different subway lines were announced on the same track. "Do all those different lines pass through here?" I asked. "Yes," she replied. "I know that it's a bit confusing at first, but once you become accustomed to it, it's the fastest, cheapest and most efficient way to travel around the city." While we were waiting for our train, Elaine and I walked to one of the subway maps on the wall and she tried to explain it to me. It was really confusing! There were three or four different lines running on the same track in a lot of sections of the map. Also, almost every line had both express and local trains.

"The New York subway system was the first to have express trains," Elaine explained. "It makes trips shorter for people who need to travel a long distance like we're doing today. We'll only stop at a few important stations instead of stopping at every single one." She was right. According to the map, if we took the express train, we'd only be stopping at four stations instead of about fifteen. Our train arrived and we got on. I've never been on a subway train that went so fast! In about ten minutes, we had travelled half the length of Manhattan and were now at its southern tip, ready to take the ferry to the Statue of Liberty. We went to buy our tickets and I saw a sign that said that the ferry also went to Ellis Island. "Tell me about Ellis Island," I said to Elaine. "It's an island close to Liberty Island where the majority of immigrants who came to America between 1892 and 1954 were processed," she answered. "It's been converted into a museum. If you like, we can go and see it after the Statue of Liberty. The ferry stops at Ellis Island after stopping at Liberty Island. We can either get off and see Ellis Island or stay on the ferry and come back to the city." "Let's go and see it," I suggested. We stood at the front of the ferry as it left Manhattan and sailed towards Liberty Island. New York harbour is enormous and the Statue of Liberty stands majestically in the middle of it. My excitement and wonder increased as we got closer to it. It was truly beautiful and more impressive than I had imagined! Elaine looked at me and smiled. "The Statue of Liberty was the first thing that immigrants saw when they came to the United States," she said. "I've read that many of them cried with emotion when they saw it. It was something that they never forgot for the rest of their lives." She told me more things about the statue as we got off the ferry and walked towards its pedestal.

Elaine and 1 walked to one of the subway maps on the wall.





"The statue was a gift from the French government in 1876 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the USA. The only thing that the city of New York had to do was to build the pedestal for it. However, there was an economic recession at the time and few people wanted to spend money on it. The arm of the statue that holds the torch was brought to New York and placed in one of the squares in the city to promote the project. It stayed there for five years until the decision was made to accept the statue and build the pedestal. The statue was finally erected in 1886." "You're a great tour guide!" I said to Elaine. "You know so many interesting facts!" "It's what I'm studying," she replied, smiling shyly. "It's funny, I always think that people will find what I say boring." "Well, I don't, so please continue," I said. In recent times, the Statue of Liberty has been closed to visitors. However, when we were there, it was still possible to walk around the observation area on the pedestal, with views of the harbour and the statue directly above. We also walked up the stairs in the interior of the statue and looked out of the windows that are in the crown on the statue's head. It was interesting to walk up the spiral staircase inside the statue. The statue is 22 storeys high, so there were a lot of steps to climb! Elaine continued to tell me things about the history of the statue as we walked up. "The statue was designed by a French sculptor called Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi. He used his mother as a model for it and it took him 21 years to finish it. The interior structure that you can see as we climb was designed by Gustave Eiffel - the same man who later designed the Eiffel Tower." We finally reached the crown and looked out of the windows. The views were impressive and Elaine told me to look at the book that the statue holds in her left hand. 'July 4th, 1776' was printed in Roman numerals on it. That was the date that the

United States was founded. We couldn't stay there too long because it was a very small area and there were people coming up the stairs behind us. We walked down and, after taking a few photographs from the observation tower, we took the ferry to Ellis Island. "There are about 100 million people in this country who are descendants of someone who passed through this island," Elaine said as the ferry approached the island. "I'm one of them. My great-grandfather came through here when he emigrated from the Italian town of Naples at the beginning of the 1900s." We got off the ferry and spent the next three hours in one of the most interesting museums I have ever been to. There were audio-visual exhibits that explained the history of Ellis Island. Its busiest years were from 1892-1924, when the island received thousands of immigrants a day. In that 30-year period, more than



We finally reached the crown and looked out of the windows.



As we returned from Ellis Island, we stood at the front of the ferry again to observe the Manhattan skyline. It was spectacular but there was something missing - the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre. "I've never been here before," I said, "but I've seen this

view too many times on TV and in the movies. It's not the same without the Twin Towers." I looked at Elaine. Her eyes were filling with tears and I felt stupid for mentioning this. "I'm sorry," I said. "I didn't mean to upset you." "It's OK," she replied. "It's just that it's still a shock to me. I feel like a part of me has been amputated. When I look there, I still expect to see the Twin Towers." We were silent for the rest of the trip back to Manhattan. "Ground Zero is pretty close to here," Elaine said as we got off the ferry. "Would you like to see it before going to the Empire State Building?" "Sure," I replied. It's hard for me to describe what I felt while I stood in front of the enormous crater that is Ground Zero. Everything seemed so surrealistic! It was hard to believe that this was where the two majestic towers had stood. I remembered the horrible images on TV, but it was still hard to assimilate that so many people had died at that place. "I know someone who was here and survived," I finally said to Elaine. "You do? Tell me what happened," she said. "He's a friend of mine," I told her. "He's a lawyer who was sent by his law firm to work for their New York offices. He worked in the tower that was hit by the second plane. He told me that his extreme punctuality saved him." "What do you mean?" Elaine asked. "He had to be at a meeting at 9.00 am, so he got to his building 15 minutes early," I explained. "The first tower was hit a few minutes after he got to his desk. It took him 20 minutes to walk down the stairs from his office on the 40th floor. When he got to the street entrance, he saw that big parts of the plane that hit the first tower had fallen right in front of the main door of his building. Those parts would have killed him if he had arrived at the building a few minutes later."



30 million people passed through there! I was really impressed by the photographs of the immigrants that were on the walls. Their eyes showed a mixture of hope, fear and determination. Most of them brought very little with them. "They left everything behind," Elaine said as we looked at picture after picture. "They left their countries, their cultures, their friends and their families for a new life in a new and unknown place. It's hard for us, who can travel anywhere in the world on a plane, to imagine what it was like for them. When my great-grandfather said goodbye to his mother in Naples, he knew that he would probably never see her again." Each room that we walked through seemed to have its own particular story. "I've read that almost every language in the world was spoken here daily," Elaine said as we walked through the great hall. This is where the immigrants went through the final stage before they were permitted to enter the United States. We passed a place called the 'kissing post'. This was where the immigrants who were going to stay in New York City were reunited with family members who had already immigrated there. "The people who passed through Ellis Island helped make this the great city that it is today," Elaine said as we walked to the ferry for our return trip to the city. "The only thing that they wanted was the opportunity to work and to make a better future for their children." CHAPTER 4




We were both silent for a moment, looking at the crater. Elaine broke the silence. "Well, I guess that's the best reason I've heard for being punctual," she said, smiling sadly. "Are you ready to go?" "Yes, fine," I replied. "Good. Next stop, the Empire State Building," Elaine declared. We turned around and walked towards the subway. Fifteen minutes later, we were walking out of the 34th Street subway station and there it was - the Empire State Building. It was so tall! I couldn't stop looking up at it and almost walked into the sign at a bus stop. Luckily, Elaine pulled me out of the way just in time.

"Be careful!" she said, laughing. "I'm just as excited as you are about visiting the Empire State Building, but I watch where I'm going!" We walked in, bought our tickets to the observatory and waited in line for the elevators. We had to take three different ones to get to the top and they went so fast that my ears popped! The first elevator operator looked at my surprised expression and laughed. "It's pretty fast, isn't it?" he said. "It travels at about 1,200 feet* a minute." We left the third elevator and went quickly to the observatory to see the views. They were incredible! According to the visibility report in the observatory, we could see 80 miles** in every direction! To the west, we could see past the Hudson River and far into the state of New Jersey. To the south, we could see the harbour past the end of Manhattan with the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and even further. To the east, we could see into the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. To the north, we could see further than Central Park all the way to the Bronx. "Wow, I didn't realise that Central Park was so big!" I said. "Yeah, it's pretty impressive, isn't it?" Elaine said. "It's even more impressive when you walk through it. That enormous piece of land was bought by the city in the middle of the 1800s to make a park for the city. The local administration realised that they needed a big green space for people to relax from city life. If you like, I can go to the park with you in a couple of weeks and tell you more about it. I'll be busy until then with my doctoral thesis." "I'll probably see it before then, but I'd love to go there again with you," I answered. We spent the next hour talking and taking pictures of the different views. Another tourist was even nice enough to take a

There it was - the Empire State Building. It was so tall!


* 1 foot = 30.5 centimetres, so 1,200 feet = 366 metres ** 1 mile = 1.6 kilometres, so 80 miles = 128 kilometres




picture of Elaine and me with the views of New York behind us. It was incredible to actually look down on all the other skyscrapers surrounding the Empire State Building. The people on the streets looked smaller than insects! We took the elevators down and walked out of the building. When we were two blocks away, Elaine suddenly stopped. "I forgot to tell you while we were up there that the Empire State Building was built in only 16 months," she said. I looked back at the enormous building and said, "Actually, I'm glad that you've told me now. It makes me appreciate it even more."

little anonymity. If you want to act as if you're from New York, you can notice them, but don't bother them." I appreciated this advice because I saw a lot of famous people during my walks around the city. In less than a week, I saw Al Pacino, Bono from U2, Meryl Streep, Mick Jagger and Cameron Diaz! The most incredible thing about this is that I saw all of them in the middle of the day on very busy streets. Jason was right. Almost everyone left them alone. Only a few people who looked like tourists (they had cameras and guidebooks) stopped them to ask for autographs. It was funny to observe that everyone else looked almost angry at how the tourists acted.



I spent the next few weeks exploring the city. I did it by myself, with Jason or with some of the people from the Thanksgiving dinner. It was nice to see that they had been sincere when they promised to call me and show me some of their favourite parts of the city. I've always enjoyed exploring a city by myself. I like to wander at my own pace and see things that aren't in the usual guidebooks. New York is a great city to do this in. Almost every street has something interesting on it. I passed by people from all over the world on the street. I could stand on almost any corner, waiting for the traffic light to change, and hear two or three different languages being spoken around me. I would usually return to Jason's apartment, look through my map of the city, and realise that I had walked four or five kilometres! I also saw a lot of famous people doing normal things like shopping for food, buying newspapers or just taking a walk. Jason had given me very valuable advice for these situations. "If you pass by someone who is very famous," he said, "don't go crazy and ask for their autograph. Usually it's the tourists and non-New Yorkers who do this. One of the reasons famous people like living here is because they can maintain a


It was funny to observe that everyone else looked almost angry at how the tourists acted.




Although I enjoyed my solitary walks through the city, it was more fun to have some company. Jason and his friends from the Thanksgiving dinner did a great job of taking me to places only New Yorkers would know. Although all of these experiences were great, a couple of them were particularly memorable. One night, I got a phone call from Peter, the ballet dancer who had organised the Thanksgiving dinner. "Have you been to Chinatown yet?" he asked. "No, I haven't," I answered. "Good, because I've got a free day tomorrow," Peter continued. "I'd love to be your guide if you haven't got anything else to do." Peter explained that his father was Hawaiian but that his mother was Chinese and had a brother who lived in Chinatown. His name was Lin and he owned a store in Chinatown. When Peter moved to New York from Honolulu, Lin let him stay in his home until he found an apartment. They became very close and Peter got to know the neighbourhood well. "That sounds great," I replied. "It sounds like you're the perfect man to show me Chinatown!" When we got off the train on the Canal Street subway station, I already felt like I was entering a different country. The signs on the walls were all in Chinese and English! Canal Street marks the northern border of Chinatown. We walked up onto a street filled with stores and crowded with Chinese people. The rest of Chinatown was the same. There were people, stores and restaurants everywhere! Along with stores that sold souvenirs, there were also stores that sold imitation designer clothes, watches and bags. The food markets really caught my attention. They sold all kinds of Chinese sauces and spices as well as food and vegetables that looked really good. "These markets sell some of the best fish, fruit and vegetables in the city," Peter said.

"I've been to Chinatown in London," I replied, "but this is much bigger and busier!" "It's the biggest Chinese neighbourhood in the United States and the biggest concentration of Chinese people in the western world," Peter explained. "There are about 150,000 people living in an area of only two square miles." After walking around for some time, Peter took me to his uncle's store in one of the food markets. His uncle was very nice and asked me a lot of questions about Spain. He also insisted I taste some of the different Chinese sweets and desserts that he sold. "That's enough," Peter told Lin after I had tried three different sweets that were all delicious. "Don't ruin his appetite. I'm taking Antonio to the Golden Phoenix for lunch." "Ahhh," said Lin, turning to me and smiling. "You're going to have a very special lunch!" He was right. Peter took me to a restaurant that only someone from the neighbourhood could find. It was in an alley and couldn't be seen from the street. I've never had such exquisite Chinese food before or since that meal. Each dish seemed to taste better than the previous one! When the waiter asked us if we wanted some tea or dessert, Peter told him no and asked for the check. "Aren't we going to have any Chinese tea?" I asked. "I'll buy you some tea to take back to Spain with you to remember your visit to Chinatown," he said. "It's time to change continents now." We crossed Canal Street and suddenly we were in a completely Italian neighbourhood! "Welcome to Little Italy," Peter said. "After such a delicious meal, I prefer to have really good coffee." The neighbourhood is full of Italian restaurants, cafes and food stores. Peter took me to a small, dark cafe that was filled with older men playing dominoes. The espresso and the





atmosphere made me feel like I was sitting in a dark cafe in Rome! "It's too bad that you won't be here in September," Peter said as we left the cafe. "That's when the San Gennaro festival takes place. San Gennaro is the patron saint of this neighbourhood and it's quite a party. There are people selling Italian food everywhere as well as music and dancing. They even have a procession through the streets with the bust of San Gennaro. You should come back for it." "I'd love to," I answered. "The problem is that I don't know if I'll have the money to come back here so soon." We walked a bit more through Little Italy and Peter pointed out its best restaurants. I paid attention to his recommendations for another day. I was still too full from our lunch to think of eating more that day!

like when Athletic de Bilbao plays Real Sociedad or Barcelona plays Espanyol. Plus, the Nets have been a dominant team for the past few seasons and have beaten the Knicks in the last six games that they've played against each other. I'm sure that the home fans will be hungry for revenge." "That sounds great!" I said. "When is the game?" "It's next Tuesday, December 17th," answered Jason. In the following days, I read as much as I could about both the Knicks and the Nets. I also tried to watch any televised game that either team played. I wanted to make sure that I knew all the rules as well as all the players on both teams. Jason and I bought Knicks T-shirts for the game. "How are we getting there?" I asked Jason as we were leaving his apartment. "Are we taking a cab or the subway?" "Neither, we're walking," he replied. "Madison Square Garden is on 34th Street. That's only 12 streets away from here. We'll be there in 15 minutes." The atmosphere in front of Madison Square Garden before the game was incredible. I've been to some big football matches in Spain, but there seemed to be much more excitement here. We walked into the arena and I was immediately impressed by the size of it. It was enormous! We learned later that there were almost 20,000 people at the game! Our seats were really good. They were located at the centre of the court, only five rows up from the floor. I had never been to such a spectacular basketball game. Even the introductions of the players were spectacular. All the lights went out, really loud music began to play and an exciting laser light show began. Each player ran out onto the court as his name was announced. Once both teams were introduced, the regular lights came on again as the players got ready to begin the game. "Look down there to your right!" Jason said. "Do you know who that is?"



A few days later, Jason came home from working at the restaurant with a big smile on his face. "Do you like NBA basketball?" he asked. "Sure," I answered. "Well, I've got tickets for the Knicks game against the Nets at Madison Square Garden. Do you want to go with me?" he asked. "I'd love to go!" I answered. Jason told me that Jose Luis, the sports journalist from Seville that I'd met at Thanksgiving, had come to the restaurant to offer him a pair of free tickets for the game. He also explained that there was incredible rivalry between the New York Knicks and the New Jersey Nets. Even though the Nets were officially from a different state, they played just across the Hudson River and were considered a local team. "It'll be just like the football matches that you call 'derbis' in Spain," Jason explained. "The atmosphere at the game will be 36




I looked and saw a thin man standing in front of his seat on the court. When he turned to talk to the person next to him, I recognised him instantly. It was Woody Allen! "He's a big fan of the Knicks," Jason explained. "He comes to almost all the games." I wanted to run down to him and ask for an autograph, but just at that moment the game began. I couldn't have asked for a better game. It was pretty close, but the Nets were winning for most of it. It wasn't until the fourth quarter that the Knicks tied the game and then went ahead with only two minutes left in the game. Then the Nets tied the game again. The Knicks got the winning basket with only 18 seconds left! The final score was 101-99. The Knicks fans - me included - went crazy!

As people got up to leave, I ignored Jason's advice about acting like a native New Yorker and shyly walked up to Woody Allen. 1 got his attention and told him that I was visiting from Spain and was a big fan of his. "Spain is a beautiful country," he said. "I'd like to go back there soon. I hope you enjoy your stay here." He autographed my ticket for the game, smiled and walked away. I ran back to Jason with the ticket in my hand and an enormous smile on my face. "Sometimes it's better to act like a tourist," I said. We went to the cafe where we had planned to meet Jose Luis after the game and thanked him for the tickets. "Now it's our turn to do something for you," Jason said. We invited Jose Luis to dinner at a sports bar close to Madison Square Garden. The bar was built in the early 1900s and had been conserved well. It had a long bar that was made of beautiful, dark wood. The bar's walls were covered with old pictures of baseball and basketball stars. "This place has some of the best hamburgers in town," Jason said as we sat down at a table. He was right! All the ingredients were fresh and the hamburgers were really big. "I'll never go to McDonald's or Burger King again," I said as I finished my meal. "Well then, I feel like I've done something good today," Jason said. The three of us laughed and lifted our glasses of beer to drink a toast to a wonderful evening. CHAPTER 7

/ couldn 't have asked for a better game.



Not everything went perfectly during my stay in New York. A few days after the Knicks game, I got a phone call from Elaine. "Hi, Antonio," she said. "It's Elaine speaking." "Hi! Are you ready to give me that tour of Central Park?" I asked. 39



"Well, that's why I'm phoning," she said. "I won't be able to go with you." My heart sank. "My parents have given me a surprise Christmas present," Elaine continued. "They've bought me a plane ticket to spend Christmas with them in Chicago. I leave tomorrow morning." "So won't I see you again before I leave?" I asked sadly. "I'm going back to Spain on the 2nd of January." "We'll see each other. I'll be back on the 31st, in the morning," she said. "Have you made any plans for New Year's Eve yet?" "Not yet," I replied. "Jason still doesn't know if he'll have to work that night at the restaurant." "Well, my roommate, Elise, is a pianist and singer," said Elaine. "She'll be playing in a hotel with a view of Times Square for New Year's Eve. She'll only play during the dinner part of the evening. A dance band will play afterwards. A few of the people from the Thanksgiving dinner and I are going to reserve a table there. Would you like to come with me?" "I'd love to," I answered. "Great!" she said. "I hope that Jason doesn't have to work that night. He should be with us on New Year's Eve. I'll phone you when I get back from Chicago. Have a merry Christmas." I put down the phone feeling very fortunate. I couldn't think of a better way to spend New Year's Eve and finish my trip to New York! Jason's family invited me to spend Christmas with them. They live in a suburban neighbourhood in New Jersey. "Do you know how to ice-skate?" Jason asked me the day before going to his family's house. "Yes, I do," I answered. . "Good, because we're going to go ice-skating in a very special place," he said. He took me to Rockefeller Centre, a group of impressive

buildings that were built in the 1930s. There's a little bit of everything in these buildings. There are theatres, corporate offices, nice restaurants and even the main studios for one of the national TV networks. However, during Christmas, the most special parts of Rockefeller Centre are the outdoor ice-skating rink and the enormous Christmas tree above it. The tree is never less than 20 metres high!



Jason took me to Rockefeller Centre.

"There are more than five miles of lights on that tree," Jason said as we skated under it. I had a wonderful time skating under the big tree, surrounded by skyscrapers. I had never felt such a Christmas atmosphere as I did then. Jason's family was very nice and I had a pleasant Christmas with them, but I couldn't help looking forward to New Year's Eve. I became even more excited when Jason was told that he didn't have to work at the restaurant that night. I was going to spend New Year's Eve with all my New York friends. Perfect! Elaine phoned me around noon on the 31st and we agreed to meet at 7.30 that evening to walk over to the hotel. She was happy to hear that Jason was coming as well. After putting down the phone, Jason and I went to get the tuxedos that we had rented for the evening. It was quite cold when Jason and I met Elaine in front of her apartment building. When we reached Times Square, I was surprised to see that it was already almost full. There were thousands of people there! "Are all these people going to stay here until midnight?" I asked. "Sure," answered Jason. "But it's freezing!" I said. "Yeah, but it's also New Year's Eve and they're in Times Square," Jason said. "The weather isn't important to them." I looked around and saw that he was right. The whole square was filled with a festive atmosphere and no one looked cold. Personally, I was happy that we would be celebrating indoors. We went into the hotel and took off our coats. Then we went into the hall for the New Year's party. It was beautiful and had enormous, two-storey windows that looked down on Times Square. There was also a terrace that we could walk out on and hear the festive crowd's noise from below.





"You look very pretty," I said to Elaine as we walked to our table. "Your dress is spectacular." 'Thank you," she replied. "And I'm happy to be with such a good-looking guy." Most of our friends were already sitting at the table and it was great to see everyone together again. We drank champagne and talked and Elaine's roommate, Elise, began to play the piano and sing. She was really good! Soon, the waiters began serving a delicious dinner. "Is something wrong?" Elaine asked me while we were being served the main course. "You've got a funny look on your face." "I'm just taking a minute to appreciate everything around me," I answered. "The food is delicious, the company is wonderful, the view of Times Square is great and the music is lovely. Everything feels so elegant!" I took my glass of champagne and stood up. "I want to drink a toast to all of you," I said to the people at my table. "You've all helped to make this the most special trip I've ever had. Thank you all!" Everyone was enjoying themselves so much that the time passed very quickly. Suddenly, it was 11.50 pm and we went out onto the terrace for the final countdown to New Year. The whole of Times Square was full now. The ball began to fall and everyone in the square began to count the last ten seconds. "... three, two, one, ... HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!" The noise from the crowd was incredible! I hugged and congratulated all my New York friends. Then, I turned to Elaine and got the sweetest New Year's Eve kiss I've ever had. We all spent the rest of the night dancing and laughing. The sun was beginning to rise when we finally left the hotel. "When does your flight leave?" Elaine asked me as we stood in front of her apartment building. Jason was standing a few metres away to give us a little privacy.

"At 4.00 tomorrow afternoon," I answered. "Can we meet for coffee in the morning?" she asked. "I want to give you something before you leave." "Sure," I said. Jason and I slept until late in the afternoon. I spent the rest of the evening packing and getting ready for my return to Spain. I was already trying to find a way to come back to New York as soon as possible. The next day, I met Elaine in a Greek cafe. While we were having a cup of coffee, she gave me an envelope. "Here," she said. "Please don't open it until your plane is in the air." "What is it?" I asked. "It's a little something to remember me by," she answered. We exchanged addresses and sadly said goodbye outside the cafe. Then I walked back to Jason's house to get my things. "Why don't you come back in the summer?" Jason asked me as I was getting into a cab. "There are so many other things that you can do here when it's warm." "I'd love to," I said. "Wish me luck in finding a way to come back, OK?" "OK. Have a safe trip," Jason said. Once my plane was in the air, I took out the envelope that Elaine had given me and opened it. I pulled out a photograph of the two of us at the Empire State Building. I turned it over and saw that she had written something on the back: 'I've got a copy of this photo. I'll look at it often and remember the lovely time I spent with you. You're a very special person. Please don't forget me and come back soon. Love, Elaine.' I smiled and spent the rest of the flight thinking of her, the wonderful city she lived in and the new friends that I had made there.






At the beginning of March, I received a phone call from the editor of the travel magazine. "Congratulations, Antonio" she said. "Your article on New York City at Christmas is one of the most successful articles we've ever had in the magazine!" "Really?" I answered, quite surprised. "We've received hundreds of letters from our readers telling us how much they liked it," she continued. "Many of them said that it made them want to fly to New York immediately!" "Wow!" I exclaimed. "I'd like to offer you a permanent position on our team of writers," she said. "Are you interested?" "Of course I am!" I answered. I travelled a lot for the magazine during the next few months and published at least one article for each of their monthly issues. I e-mailed Elaine and Jason constantly, telling them about my adventures. They always replied quickly and gave me news about what was happening with them. In early June, I went to AlmerĂ­a to write an article on Cabo de Gata. As usual, I checked my e-mails when I arrived at my hotel room and saw that I had received one from Jason entitled 'Urgent'. In it, he asked me to call him at home as soon as possible. This worried me and I called immediately. "Jason, it's Antonio," I said when he answered the phone. "What's wrong? Has something terrible happened?" "No, something wonderful has happened!" he replied. "I'm sorry if I worried you, but I wanted you to know the good news right away!" "What is it?" I asked. "I'm in a Broadway show!" Jason said. "Congratulations!" I exclaimed. "What show is it? When did you get the job?" "It's Man of La Mancha and the production office called me 46

yesterday to offer me the job," he said. Man of La Mancha is a musical based on Cervantes' Don Quixote de La Mancha. Jason explained that a new production of the musical had opened on Broadway in November. He said that he'd gone to the first open auditions that had been organised after the production had started. "I don't understand," I said. "Why do they have auditions after a show has opened?" "Equity, the professional actors' union, has an agreement with the Broadway producers' association that their shows must have open auditions every five or six months, even if they don't need anybody," Jason explained. "Hundreds of actors go to these auditions because everyone is desperate for a job. I guess that I was lucky because the chances of getting a job from these auditions are usually very small." "Who do you play in the show?" I asked. "I've got a very small role," he answered. "Basically I'm part of the chorus, but I don't care because it's a Broadway show and it's a beginning! Plus, the most exciting thing is that I'm also the understudy for one of the principal roles." "What's an understudy?" I asked. "An understudy is an actor who is the substitute for one of the main roles in a show," Jason explained. "If the actor playing that role gets sick or can't do a show for any reason, the understudy plays his part." "That's great!" I said. "So now you must come and visit during the summer," Jason said. "You're right," I replied. "I'm very busy at the magazine right now, but I promise that I'll visit you as soon as I can." When I had finished my article on Cabo de Gata, I proposed to my editor writing a second article on New York City. "This one will be different," I explained. "It will be about the city in the summer."



"I like that idea," my editor replied. "Let's do it!" I immediately e-mailed Jason and Elaine, told them the good news and a little after 1.00 pm on July 7th, my plane landed at Kennedy airport. When I walked into the arrivals lounge after getting my suitcase, I was very pleasantly surprised to see Elaine waiting for me.


"I hope that you're not too tired," she said after kissing me warmly, "because we're going to the theatre tonight." "Tonight?" I asked, confused. "Yes. The actor that Jason is understudying for is sick," Elaine explained. "The show's production office called him this morning to tell him that he'll be doing that role in tonight's show. He'll even be singing a solo in two songs! I'm here to welcome you back and to give you the keys to his apartment because he's rehearsing at the theatre right now. He's reserved two free tickets for us for tonight's show."

Elaine and I talked and laughed continuously during the bus trip into the city. It was wonderful to see her again and to be sitting next to her! The bus station was very close to Jason's apartment, so we walked the rest of the way. "Are you hungry?" Elaine asked me as we stood in front of Jason's apartment building. "I'm not hungry right now," I answered, "but I'm sure that I will be soon." "Then let's meet at six o'clock this evening," she suggested. "The show doesn't start until eight o'clock, so we'll have enough time to have a light dinner before going to the theatre." "That sounds perfect," I said. I slept for a short time on the sofa when I got into Jason's apartment because I didn't want to fall asleep during the show. After that, I unpacked some of my things, showered and put on some nice clothes. Elaine rang Jason's buzzer from the street as I was putting on my shoes. It was time to see a Broadway show! We had a delicious dinner in a small Japanese restaurant nearby and then walked to the theatre which was only two streets away from Jason's apartment. While we were getting our reserved tickets, 1 looked at a sign that had the ticket prices for the show. The least expensive tickets were $45 and the most expensive were $98! "Wow!" I said. "Broadway shows are really expensive!" "Yes, they are," Elaine agreed. "It's a good thing that we know someone in the show who can give us free tickets!" "How can people who aren't rich go to such expensive shows?" I asked. "Well, there's a place in the middle of Times Square that sells half-price tickets for Broadway shows," Elaine explained. "However, they only sell tickets for that night's performance and only for shows that aren't completely full. There's usually an enormous line to buy tickets there but at least it's less expensive."



/ was very pleasantly surprised to see Elaine waiting for me.



We walked to our seats and nervously waited for the show to begin. Elaine took my hand and squeezed it when the announcement was made that Jason was going to be playing the part of Anselmo in the show. Then the lights went down and the show began. Everything about it was incredible - the orchestra, the lighting, the music and the performers. They were all excellent singers, dancers and actors. I now understood why Broadway was considered the mecca of theatre. When the time came for Jason to sing his first song, Elaine took my hand again and squeezed even harder. "Why do I feel so nervous?" she asked me in a whisper. "I don't know," I replied. "I'm really nervous as well. I guess it's because we both want Jason to do well." And he did very well. He sang his song beautifully and the audience gave him a very enthusiastic ovation. I felt so proud of my friend! He was living his dream and I was lucky enough to be in the theatre to share it with him. When the show ended, Elaine and I went outside to the stage door at the back of the theatre and told the guard that we wanted to see our friend who was in the show. A minute later, Jason appeared. He was covered in sweat and still had his make-up on, but he looked very excited and happy. "Can I be the first person to ask for your autograph, Mr Broadway Star?" I asked, giving him my programme. "Of course!" he said, laughing. "Welcome back, Antonio! Why don't you two come with me to my dressing room and I'll give you a little tour backstage?" "Can we?" I asked. "Of course!" Jason replied. "You're my guests!" On the way to his dressing room, Jason took us onto the stage so that we could get an idea of what the actors saw when they were acting in the show. I looked out at the empty seats in the theatre and was filled with admiration for my friend and the other actors in the show. I would be scared to death to walk out

in front of almost 1,000 people to sing and act! Jason also introduced us to all the main actors in the show. I was particularly impressed when I met the actors who played Don Quixote and Dulcinea. It was obvious that they had completely transformed themselves into their characters because they seemed so normal now! Both of them congratulated Jason and predicted that he would have a very successful career. After Jason had taken off his make-up and changed clothes, he, Elaine and I went to celebrate in a nearby bar that the actors in his show frequented. We met most of the people in the show and had a lot of fun with them. It was a perfect way to spend the first night of my return to New York City.







The following day, Jason and I met Elaine, her roommate, Elise (who had played the piano on New Year's Eve), and her boyfriend, Scott, at an art gallery in SoHo. Scott was a fashion photographer and the gallery had an exhibition of some of bis more artistic photographs. I was really impressed by them and I also enjoyed having the opportunity to meet someone new. Everyone seemed excited to show me what New York was like in the summer. "The best thing about New York in the summer is that there are so many free cultural events planned all over the city," Scott said. "At least one interesting free thing is organised every day." "In fact," added Elise, "my favourite event of the summer will be happening tomorrow night." "What's that?" I asked. "It's a free classical music concert performed by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in Central Park," she explained. "Between 200,000 and 500,000 people go to this concert. It's a very special event because the Philharmonic only plays twice there during the summer. Tomorrow is their second and final performance and you'll be interested to know that they'll be playing some Spanish music. Manuel de Falla's 'El Amor Brujo' is on the programme for tomorrow's concert." "You can't miss this, Antonio!" Elaine said and turned to Scott and Elise. "Why don't Antonio and I go there early to get a place for everyone and you two can meet us later?" "Great," said Scott. "We'll bring the dinner and the candles." "Dinner and candles?" I asked, confused. "I thought that this was a classical music concert." "It is," said Elaine. "It's a very special concert. You'll need to bring a big blanket from Jason's apartment. That's all I'll say for now." She then turned to Jason who had remained silent.

"I'm assuming that you won't be able to join us because you'll be working." "You're right," he replied. "I'll try to meet you after my show ends, OK?" Elaine, Scott and Elise agreed to phone all the people who had been at the Thanksgiving dinner and invite them to come to the concert with us. I was excited at the thought of seeing them again, but I was also very curious to see what made this concert so special. I met Elaine at 3.00 pm the following day to go to Central Park. I was surprised to see that she was holding an enormous purple balloon. "What's the balloon for?" I asked. "Everyone else will be arriving at the concert just after 7.30 pm," she explained. "There will be a lot of people there by then and this will make it easier for our friends to find us. I've told them to look for a purple balloon." Central Park starts on 59th Street. Although we could easily have walked there, Elaine insisted on taking the subway to 72nd Street instead. She said that she wanted to show me something. There was a large, pretty 19th century building on the corner of 72nd Street just before crossing into the park. "This is the Dakota building," Elaine said. "John Lennon lived here for more than ten years. He was fatally shot right here at its main entrance." We stopped walking for a minute and contemplated the building and its entrance. Then Elaine took my hand and pulled me across the street toward the park. "There's something else I want to show you," she said. We entered a beautiful, tranquil area of the park. "This is Strawberry Fields," she said. "It's named after a famous Beatles song that John Lennon composed. Shortly after he died, the city dedicated this garden to him because he liked to spend time here. Countries from all over the world have





donated trees or plants for this special garden." There was a circular area in the centre of the garden with a mosaic mat spelled out "Imagine", the title of Lennon's most famous song. Lots of flowers and candles were placed on it. "It's been more than 20 years since he died and people still bring flowers here," Elaine said as we looked at the mosaic. "It's incredible, isn't it?"

"Yes, it is," I responded. "Thank you for bringing me here." "You're welcome," she said, smiling at me. "Come on. We have to get a place for the concert." We walked north through the park and passed by a beautiful lake that was surrounded by tall trees. The weather was perfect. It was warm and the sky was completely clear.

"It's nice to see that this part of Manhattan Island has been preserved in its original state," I said to Elaine. "This isn't the way the land originally looked," Elaine replied. "Central Park was deliberately designed to look this way by two men called Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted." "But it looks like we're in the countryside walking through a forest!" I said surprised. "Well, that means that they did a good job, doesn't it?" Elaine said, laughing. "Every path, tree, bush and lake was designed to be where it is. This is one of the first examples of man making nature. The land to make Central Park was bought by the city more than 150 years ago. The city leaders realised that New York was growing rapidly and that there weren't any public green spaces where people could get away from the urban environment. The only places that they could go to were the cemeteries and that can be pretty depressing. When they decided to buy this land, the city ended at 38th Street. That's more than one mile from where the park actually starts! The only problem was that this land didn't have many trees and was actually quite ugly. The city government organised a competition to see who could make the best design for the park. Vaux and Olmsted won the competition. More than four million trees and plants were planted here and the lakes were also designed and built. It took 20 years to finish this park." "Wow! That's an incredible story!" I said. "You're right, Vaux and Olmsted did a great job making this park." Just then, we reached an enormous open space the size of at least three football fields. There was a stage at one end of it. "Well, here we are," said Elaine. "Let's find a place close to the stage." There were already some people who had placed large blankets down on the grass. We put our blanket down about 20 metres from the stage and Elaine tied the big balloon to a small



There was a circular area in the centre of the garden with a mosaic that spelled out 'Imagine'.



rock. We spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the sun and each other's company. Little by little, the field began to fill with more people setting up their picnic blankets. "Hi, there!" a familiar voice said behind us. It was Scott and he was with Elise and Jose Luis, the Spanish sports journalist. I looked at my watch and saw that it was already 7.30 pm. The time had passed so quickly! "We've brought some provisions with us," Scott continued. They had wine, fresh fruit, assorted cheeses and pate as well as paper plates, plastic knives, forks and spoons and candles. By the time the concert started, most of the group from our Thanksgiving dinner had joined us, bringing more food and wine. The concert was excellent. I had never heard an orchestra as good as the New York Philharmonic. Once the sky was completely dark, I looked around and saw a very special sight. Everyone in the field as far as I could see had lit candles and was eating silently while listening to the music.

"This is incredible!" I whispered to Elaine. "Everyone is listening quietly to the music!" "Of course they are," she whispered back, looking a little confused. "This would never happen in Spain," I explained. "We Spaniards like to talk too much." "You mean like you're doing right now?" she asked. My face turned bright red and I felt completely embarrassed. Elaine kissed me on the cheek to let me know that she was only joking. I lay down on the blanket and looked at the starry sky for most of the rest of the concert. I understood why she described this as a special concert. It was a chance to spend a lovely summer's night listening to beautiful music with good food and, above all, good friends. It was the most cosmopolitan evening I had ever had. CHAPTER 10


/ had never heard an orchestra as good as the New York Philharmonic.

I went to Central Park many more times during my summer stay there and it was often to see a free cultural event. More than 30 pop and jazz concerts are programmed there in the summer. I enjoyed Ruben Blades' concert the most because I was able to teach Elaine a bit of salsa dancing. I also saw a full production of Verdi's opera La Boheme. I went to one very special event that was a mixture of culture and sports. "It's the Broadway Show League," Jason said. "Most of the Broadway shows form teams with their actors and technicians and play softball every Thursday morning." "What's softball?" I asked. "It's just like baseball only it's played with a bigger ball which is also a little softer," Jason explained. "The tradition of people from different shows playing softball against each other started as informal games in the 1950s. Eventually, a proper league was formed. They've even got a sponsor now who





donates money to fight AIDS. I'll be playing on the Man of La Mancha team next Thursday morning. Do you want to come and see the game?" "Sure!" I replied. "But I'm worried that I won't understand what's going on." I explained that, although I'd played baseball in Florida when I was little, I remembered very little about the rules. "Well, let's ask Jose Luis if he's free that day," said Jason. "I'm sure that he knows the rules for baseball and softball. After all, he's working as a sports journalist here." Jose Luis said that he would love to go to the game. "I might even write a short article about it for my newspaper," he added. The following Thursday, the three of us walked to Central Park. It was a beautiful, sunny summer's day. We entered the park on 63rd Street and soon reached an enormous area that had at least six different softball fields inside it. It was interesting and fun to see the actors from Jason's show dressed as normal people outside the theatre. However, there were some people on his team that I didn't recognise from the show. I asked Jason about it just before their game against the show The Lion King started. "You don't recognise them because they're our technicians," Jason explained. "Nobody sees them but they're also an important part of our production." Jose Luis and I sat on some seats on the side of the field and watched the game. Everyone on both teams was having a lot of fun, although it was clear that both teams wanted to win. I was glad that Jose Luis was with me because he helped me a lot by explaining what was happening in the game. "Are you guys from Spain?" asked a voice behind us. We turned around and saw a man wearing a baseball hat and sunglasses. We recognised him immediately. It was Antonio Banderas! I remembered reading that he was starring in his first Broadway musical.

"I heard you two talking in Spanish and recognised your accents," he continued. "Especially yours," he said to Jose Luis. "You're also from Andalucia,.aren't you?" Jose Luis nodded. "Do you mind if I sit with you?" Antonio Banderas asked. "I wanted to see a Broadway Show League game, but I don't know much about softball and it sounds like you do. It's also nice to speak to people from my own country." "We don't mind at all!" I responded quickly. He sat down and watched the rest of the game with us. He was very nice and very funny. He asked Jose Luis a lot of questions about softball, but he also wanted to know about us. I couldn't believe that I was spending a lovely summer's morning in Central Park talking and laughing with Antonio Banderas! "This could only happen in New York," I thought. "Thanks for letting me sit with you," he said when the game ended. "It was great to see the game with you. I'd like to invite you to my show. I'll tell the people at the ticket office at the theatre to expect a phone call from my two Spanish friends. Phone when you've got a free evening and there will be two free tickets waiting for each of you. However, you must promise to come to my dressing room after the show to say hello. OK?" "OK!" we said in unison. Another memorable event in Central Park that summer was going to see "Shakespeare in the Park". Every summer, a free Shakespeare play is performed in Central Park in a theatre called the Delacorte, which is located close to where the Philharmonic concert was held. That summer, Michelle Pfeiffer was starring in the Shakespeare comedy, Twelfth Night. The same group of people that were at the Philharmonic concert went to the play. This time, we decided to go on a Sunday evening so that Jason could also come. His play only had an early afternoon performance that started at 2.00 pm on Sundays. He promised to meet us in the park after it was over. Although the Shakespeare performance started at 8.00 pm, plans were made to meet near





the theatre at 11.00 am. "Why are we meeting so early?" I asked Jason that morning. "People line up to get their free tickets early and it's done in an original way," Jason explained. "There's a nice field next to the theatre, so people organise picnics while they wait for someone from the theatre to distribute the tickets. The line actually consists of different picnics. Some time between 1.00 pm and 2.00 pm, a representative from the Delacorte asks people to form a proper line so that he can distribute the tickets for that evening's performance. Everyone takes their things, lines up and receives their tickets for that evening's show." "That does sound like a very original and enjoyable way to wait for tickets," I observed. "But you won't be there to get a ticket!" "Don't worry," said Jason. "Every ticket is good for two people. We can both go in with your ticket." It was another beautiful summer's day and we had a delicious and relaxing picnic while we were waiting for the tickets. I had brought Jason's football with me and after getting the tickets, we organised a small match between us and the

group of people who had been behind us in the line. Although Americans in general aren't big fans of football, I was surprised to see that a few of the people actually played quite well! The production of Twelfth Night was as good as any Shakespeare play that I'd seen in London and I was very impressed with Michelle Pfeiffer. She was excellent as Olivia. "I can't believe how many things I've done in this park!" I said to Elaine as we left the Delacorte Theatre. "It's a very special park for a very special city," she replied, smiling at me and taking my hand.

We organised a small football match.




A week later, Jose Luis, Scott (the fashion photographer) and I were in the subway going to the Bronx. That's where Yankee Stadium is located. Jose Luis had asked me a few days before if I would like to see a professional baseball game. During the summer, one of his jobs was writing about the New York Yankees baseball team for his newspaper and he said that he could get me tickets. I'd never been to a professional game, so I said yes and Jose Luis quickly got me two tickets to a daytime game the following Sunday. Most baseball games are now played in the evening, but Jose Luis said that it was more traditional and fun to go during the day. Jason had a show that day, so I invited Scott to go to the game with me. "Do you know anything about the New York Yankees?" Jose Luis asked me. "Well, the only thing that I know is that they're a professional baseball team from New York," I answered Jose Luis. "They're more than just a normal baseball team," Jose Luis explained. "They're like the Real Madrid of baseball. Most people either love them or hate them. They've been league champions - or World Series champions, as they say here - 26 times in less than 100 years. A lot of the greatest players in 61



baseball history have been on this team and are now part of national folklore." He mentioned a list of names, but only Joe DiMaggio sounded familiar because I had read somewhere that he'd been married to the famous movie star, Marilyn Monroe. Jose Luis spent the rest of the subway ride telling me about the history of the New York Yankees and how Yankee Stadium became the temple of professional baseball. He compared it to the reputation that Las Ventas in Madrid has for bullfighting. We got off the subway at the Yankee Stadium station and JosĂŠ Luis took us into the stadium through the press entrance. He wanted to show us the press box where he watched the game. It was exciting to see all the journalists getting ready for the start of the game. After that, Jose Luis took us to our seats. I was very impressed with the stadium. It was a very big, elegant building and the playing field was in perfect condition. "I have to go and work now," he said. "Enjoy the game and I'll join you here when it finishes. It won't start for another 20 minutes, so you've got time to get something to eat if you want." Scott and I thought that was a good idea and left our seats to get some lunch. As we stood in the line to order, I looked at the list of food that was offered and couldn't decide what to get. There were too many things to choose from! I asked Scott to help me decide. "I want to order the most typical thing to eat at a baseball game," I said. "That's easy," Scott replied. "Order a hot dog and a Coca Cola. I'll have the same." I asked for two hot dogs and two Cokes. "What size Coke do you want?" asked the vendor. "Small, medium or large?" Scott wanted a small Coke, but I was quite thirsty so I ordered a large one. The first Coke that was served was in a large glass so I took it.

"That's my Coke," said Scott. "That's the small size?" I asked incredulously. "I don't remember seeing such big drinks when I was in Florida. If that's small, what's large?" I turned to look at the vendor as he gave me my Coke. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. It was a twolitre glass! Scott laughed when he saw the expression on my face. "Do people really order such big drinks at baseball games?" I asked him as we walked back to our seats. "People order big drinks like that at baseball games, cinemas, coffee shops, everywhere," Scott answered. "Remember, everything is bigger in the US." We had a great time watching the game. Scott explained what was happening on the field as the game progressed because I didn't remember many of the rules. The Yankees won a close, exciting game against the Cleveland Indians, 6-5. However, the thing that most attracted my attention during the game was how often people bought things to eat and drink. It seemed like everyone around us was eating and drinking constantly.



We had a great time watching the game.



"Jason called me on my cell phone," Jose Luis said when he met us after the game. "He wants to meet us for an early dinner at a special place." "What place is that?" I asked. "He wants it to be a surprise for you," Jose Luis answered. "He says that you'll recognise it when you see it." We took the subway to Times Square and walked north for a couple of blocks. I recognised the place the moment we arrived at it. It was the Carnegie Deli! The Carnegie Deli is one of the best Jewish delicatessens in New York City. I recognised it because important parts of one of my favourite Woody Allen movies, Broadway Danny Rose, were filmed there. Jason was already sitting at a table waiting for us when we arrived. The walls were covered with autographed photos of famous people who had eaten there. "I thought that you might like to have some typical New York food after the game," he said as we sat down. Many New Yorkers consider Jewish food typical New York food, much like British people consider Indian food British. "I also thought that you'd like to see a place that's connected to Woody Allen," Jason continued. We looked at the menu and I noticed that they even had a sandwich named after the protagonist of the movie - the Broadway Danny Rose. My decision was made. I ordered a bowl of chicken soup and a Broadway Danny Rose sandwich. The soup was delicious. As I was finishing it, the waiter brought our sandwiches. Again, I couldn't believe what I was seeing. My sandwich was 15 centimetres high! "This is crazy!" I said. "I can't eat all of this sandwich!" "Eat what you can," said Jose Luis. "You can take the rest home in a doggie bag." "But none of us have got a dog!" I protested. "Do people really give their food to their dogs?" Everyone at the table laughed. "That's just the name that's given to the bag that you use to

take food home with you," Scott explained. "I'm sure that some people give left-over food to their dogs, but I personally think that it's a sin. I'd rather eat it myself the next day." "It's an American custom that I like," added Jose Luis. "I thought that it was strange when I first arrived here, but I've become accustomed to it. I now prefer to take food home with me and eat it another day than to know it's been thrown into the trash." "Jose Luis was right," I thought to myself the following day as Jason and I ate the other halves of our respective sandwiches from the Carnegie Deli for lunch. They were still delicious and it would have been a pity to throw them out.





I told Elaine about the baseball game a few days later as we were waiting for a classical music concert to start in Bryant Park. This park is located behind the main New York City public library on 42nd Street and 5th Avenue. On weekdays during the summer, the city organises small concerts at lunchtime for the people who work in the area. People from all kinds of professions buy a sandwich or salad and sit in front of a small stage to eat their lunch and listen to classical music. Elaine and I often met there to have lunch together since it was such a nice event. "It sounds like you had a great time," said Elaine. "You even had a typical baseball lunch - a hot dog and a Coke. Did you know that the hot dog was invented here?" "Here in Bryant Park?" I asked. "No, silly!" Elaine responded, laughing. "I mean in New York City, although the exact place is far away from here." "Where is it?" I asked. "It's on Coney Island, on the far side of Brooklyn," she replied. "It was a popular vacation place for rich people during the second half of the 19th century. It's also got the oldest



amusement park in the US." She paused for a minute and looked at me. "How do you say that in Spanish?" "Parque de atracciones" I said. "Par-que de a-trac-cion-es" she repeated slowly. "I've got a proposition for you. I'll take you there after the concert if you teach me more things in Spanish. I want to visit you in Spain and need to know more Spanish than the little bit that I learned in high school." "I accept your proposition," I said as the concert began. Once the concert ended, we took the subway to Coney Island. The trip lasted more than 40 minutes! "Are we still inside the city?" I asked Elaine as we got off the subway train on an elevated platform. In this part of Brooklyn, the subway ran above the ground. "Yes, we are," she answered. "Why?" "I didn't realise that the city was so big!" I responded. "It's easy to forget that the city is more than just Manhattan. Remember, there are four other boroughs in the city. Look over there," Elaine said, pointing behind us. The Empire State Building could be seen far away on the horizon. It looked so small! "One of the reasons that the elite started to go on vacation to Coney Island was because it was so far away from Manhattan," Elaine explained. "In those days, there was almost nothing here except beaches and luxury hotels." It was hard to imagine that as we walked toward the amusement park area next to the beach. The area now looked like a city neighbourhood with lots of large apartment buildings. "In the late 1870s, some of the most elegant hotels in the country were here," Elaine continued. "There was one hotel called the Sea Beach Palace that had a capacity of 10,000 guests and could serve 15,000 people in their restaurant. The very rich stopped coming to Coney Island as it became easier for people with less money to come. In 1920, the subway finally reached

here, converting Coney Island into what it is today - a recreational place for people of all classes." We stopped in front of a large corner restaurant with enormous signs above it announcing 'This Is the Original Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs'. "Is this where the hot dog was invented?" I asked.


We stopped in front of a large corner restaurant.

"No," responded Elaine. "Almost all the buildings in Coney Island from the early 1900s don't exist any more. This is one of the few that does remain. A man named Nathan Handwerker started this restaurant." "Did he invent the hot dog?" I asked. "No, he didn't," Elaine said, smiling. "Let me explain. The hot dog was invented by a man named Charles Feltman in 1867. He sold food to some of the bars here. Eventually, the bar 67



owners asked him for hot sandwiches. Feltman got the idea of putting a German sausage into a piece of bread. That's how the hot dog was born. It was so popular that Feltman became a rich man and eventually owned a lot of land and several hotels and restaurants here. "Nathan Handwerker worked for Feltman and saved enough money to start his own hot dog restaurant. He tried to become successful by selling his hot dogs for five cents each. That was half the price of Feltman's hot dogs. At first, people didn't buy Nathan's hot dogs because they thought that things that were less expensive were of inferior quality." "So what did he do to convince people to buy his hot dogs?" I asked. "He convinced ten vagabonds to have a bath and then dress as doctors in white coats for free food," Elaine explained. "Then he put up a sign that said, 'If doctors eat our hot dogs, you know they're good!' After that, everyone began buying his hot dogs. Eventually, he was selling an average of 75,000 hot dogs every summer weekend! Nathan's hot dogs became so popular that they began to sell them at baseball games." "Well, thank you for teaching me the history of the hot dog!" I said. "You're welcome," she responded. "Now you have to teach me something. How do you say "roller coaster" in Spanish?" "Montana rusa," I said. "Why do you want to know that?" "Because I'm going to take you to one of the first and most famous roller coasters in the world," she said as she started in the direction of the amusement park. "It's called the Cyclone and it was built in 1927. It's still considered one of the ten best in the world." A few minutes later, we were standing in a line for the roller coaster. It was the first time that I'd seen a wooden one. The whole structure vibrated when the roller coaster cars passed in front of us. The noise was very loud!

"Are you sure that it's safe?" I asked Elaine nervously. "Of course!" she replied. "It's probably safer than when it began operating because the safety regulations are much stricter now. It's a lot of fun." She was right. It was a lot of fun, but it was also scary because it was so loud and everything vibrated so much! When we got off the roller coaster, my hands hurt from a combination of holding tightly on to the safety bar and the vibrations from the ride. We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening exploring the amusement park. Eventually, it became dark and everything was illuminated by the lights from the rides and the different stores. Elaine and I acted like two children, laughing constantly and running from ride to ride. After going on every ride that we could, we sat on a bench to rest for a minute. "I'm really hungry!" she said. I looked at my watch and was surprised to see that it was already 9.30 pm. "Can we get something to eat at Nathan's?" I asked. "I'd like to taste a piece of Coney Island history." "That's a great idea," she said. We bought some hot dogs, French fries and sodas to take away and walked to the beach. We sat on the sand and ate silently under the starry sky, listening to the sounds of the ocean and looking at the moon's reflection on the water. "Are you OK?" Elaine asked me after we'd finished eating. "You look sad." "I'm sorry," I replied. "I'm just thinking that I'll be returning to Spain in a couple of days. I'm going to miss this city and the friends that I've got here. And I'll miss you most of all." "I'll miss you too," she said. "That's why I've asked you to teach me some Spanish. I was serious when I said that I want to visit you in Spain. Will you be my special guide there?" "Of course I will," I said smiling. "I'll look forward to it." "Good! There's one last important thing that you must do





before leaving," she said as she stood up and collected the left-overs of our dinner. "What's that?" I asked. "You'll have to come to the goodbye dinner that we're planning in your honour!" she replied with a smile. EPILOGUE My goodbye dinner was in a small Indian restaurant located on 6th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues. People call the street Indian Row because there are only Indian restaurants on it. The restaurant was reserved only for us and I was impressed to see that the family who owned it was dressed in formal Hindu clothing. I was also happy and honoured to see that all my New York friends were there. The food was delicious and the dinner lasted until very late. Just before leaving the restaurant, I stood up and thanked everyone for their hospitality and promised to do the same if they ever visited me in Spain. "Thanks," said Peter. "However, we all know that we'll have to wait until after Elaine has visited you." Everyone at the table laughed as my face became red. The following morning, Elaine and I had breakfast together at an Italian cafe close to her apartment. After that, she accompanied me to the airport to say goodbye. "Will you really come and visit me?" I asked before going to my plane. "Of course I will. I'll be there as soon as I can," she replied. "Have a good, safe trip home." After returning to Spain, it took me very little time to finish my second article on New York City. It was such a success that my editor started calling me her 'star writer'. Did Elaine come and visit me? She did, and her Spanish improved greatly, but that's all I'm prepared to say! After all, this is a book about New York City. I hope it will inspire you to visit the city soon and have your own adventures there. 70

/ stood up and thanked everyone for their hospitality.




Questions on the Text

Chapter 4 1. How did Elaine feel about the Twin Towers? 2. How was Antonio's friend saved when the Twin Towers collapsed? 3. Why did the local administration buy an enormous piece of land in the middle of the 1800s?

Introduction 1. Why hadn't Antonio visited New York before? Chapter 1 1. Why is it difficult to talk about a real New Yorker? 2. How did passing through Times Square affect Antonio and why? 3. Why did Antonio's father say that the Hell's Kitchen neighbourhood was tough? 4. Why did Times Square remind Antonio of the Puerta del Sol in Madrid? Chapter 2 1. What does Thanksgiving commemorate? 2. Which groups of people take part in the big parade on Thanksgiving morning? 3. Explain how the orphans' dinner got its name. 4. Why was Antonio surprised when he entered the loft apartment? 5. Why are there newspapers written in Spanish in New York? Chapter 3 1. Why was Antonio happy to spend a day relaxing with Jason? 2. What did Elaine tell Antonio about the subway in New York? 3. Why was Ellis Island important in the past? 4. Who gave the Statue of Liberty to America and why? 5. What made leaving difficult for the new immigrants?


Chapter 5 1. Why did Antonio enjoy seeing New York by himself? 2. Why was Antonio surprised when he saw famous people in New York? 3. Why did Antonio feel that Peter was taking him to a different country? 4. How does New York's Chinatown compare with Chinatown in London and to other Chinese communities in America? 5. Why did Peter say that he and Antonio were changing continents? Chapter 6 1. Explain briefly how Antonio prepared for the basketball game between the Knicks and the Nets. 2. What was special about the way that the players were introduced to the crowd? 3. How did Antonio ignore Jason's advice about acting like a native New Yorker? 4. Why did Antonio say he would never go to McDonald's or Burger King again? )




Chapter 7 1. How is Antonio going to spend New Year's Eve? 2. What interesting things can you see at Rockefeller Centre at Christmas? 3. Why was Antonio surprised when he got to Times Square? 4. What was in the envelope which Elaine gave Antonio? Chapter 8 1. Why was Antonio worried when he checked his e-mails in AlmerĂ­a? 2. Why was Jason so excited about being an understudy? 3. What was the good news that Antonio heard from Elaine when he arrived at the airport? 4. How do people who are not rich manage to see Broadway shows and what is the problem about this? 5. Why was Antonio filled with admiration for Jason when he stood on the stage after the show? Chapter 9 1. What happens only twice each summer in New York? 2. What is special about the Strawberry Fields garden? 3. What are the main features of Central Park? 4. What impressed Antonio during the concert in Central Park? Chapter 10 1. Why is the Broadway Show League described as a mixture of culture and sports? 2. Why did Antonio Banderas want to sit with Antonio and Jose Luis at the softball game? 3. Explain briefly why Antonio and his friends had to meet at 11.00 am for a play that started at 8.00 pm.


Chapter 11 1. How did Jose Luis get tickets for Antonio to see a professional baseball game? 2. What is special about the New York Yankees? 3. What most attracted Antonio's attention during the game? 4. Give two reasons why Jason wanted Antonio to go to the Carnegie Deli. Chapter 12 1. What three facts did Elaine tell Antonio about Coney Island? 2. What changed Coney Island into what it is today? 3. How did Nathan Handwerker convince people to buy his hot dogs? 4. Why did Elaine ask Antonio to teach her the Spanish for "roller coaster"? 5. Why did Antonio look sad? Epilogue 1. Why did Antonio's face become red at his goodbye dinner?











actually alley appreciated assorted average backstage bagpipes bullfighting

realmente callejón

realment carreró agraïa variats mitjana entre bastidors gaites les sessions de toros

actually alley appreciated assorted average backstage bagpipes bullfighting

benetan karrika estu eskertzen nuen askotariko batez besteko oihal atzean gaitak zezenketak


txirrin automatikoa

no t'ho pots perdre

can't miss this

redactor en cap renyat no podia evitar pista plede no molestis disfressats finalment em sento com si carrosses visitar els llocs d'interes retícula port

chief editor close couldn't help court crowded with don't bother dressed up eventually feel like floats go sightseeing grid system

ezin duzu aukera galdu erredaktore nagusi borrokatua ezin nuen saihestu pista -z bete-betea ez gogaitarazi mozorrotuak azkenean dirudit karrosak leku ikusgarriak ikustera joan parrila



realmente ruela agradecfa surtidos media entre bastidores gaitas as corridas de touros porteiro automatico, timbre non podes perdelo redactor xefe rifado non podia evitar cancha ateigada de non amoles disfrazados ao final sinto coma se carrozas visitar os lugares de interese grella porto


can't miss this chief editor close couldn't help court crowded with don't bother dressed up eventually feel like floats go sightseeing grid system harbour

agradecía variados media entre bastidores gaitas las corridas de toros portero automatico, porter automatic, timbre timbre no puedes perdertelo redactor jefe refiido no podia evitar cancha abarrotada de no molestes disfrazados al final siento como si carrozas visitar los lugares de interés parrilla puerto 76










harvest have beaten hesitate hugged I'm looking forward to meeting kilt knights and sheikhs left-over food lit up mashed potatoes my ears popped

cosecha han ganado a dudes abracé estoy deseando conocer

collita han guanyat dubtis vaig abracar tine moltes ganes de coneixer

uzta garaitu dituzte zalantzarik izan besarkatu nituen ezagutzeko irrikitan nago

colleita ganaron a dubides apertei, abracei devezo por conecer

falda escocesa caballeros y jeques

faldilla escocesa cavaliers i xeics


las sobras iluminados puré de patatas se me destaparon los oídos asintió

els sobrants il-luminals pure de patates se'm van destapar les orelles va assentir

harvest have beaten hesitate hugged I'm looking forward to meeting kilt knights and sheikhs left-over food lit up mashed potatoes my ears popped

faldra escocesa cabaleiros e xeques as sobras iluminados pure de patacas destaparonseme os ofdos asentiu

outlined pace parade piers rehearsal and audition halls rink set settled settlement shared

dibujada ritmo, paso desfile muelles locales de ensayo y pruebas pista ambientadas asentado colonización compartíamos

dibuxada ritme, pas desfilada molls locals d'assaig i proves pista ambientades assentat colonitzacid compartiem

gona eskoziarra zaldunak eta xeikak soberakinak argiztatuak patata-purea belarriak ireki zitzaizkidan buruaz baietz esan zuen marraztua erritmo desfilea nasak entseiatze eta froga aretoak pista girotuak finkatua kolonia banatzen genituen


nodded outlined pace parade piers rehearsal and audition halls rink set settled settlement shared


debuxada ritmo, paso desfile resortes locais de ensaio e probas pista ambientadas asentado colonizacion compartiamos









shook hands

se dieron la mano

es van donar la ma

shook hands

deronse a man

sin speechless squeezed stage starring in starry take up tied tightly to drink a toast to tough track truthful turkey understudy upset wander was covered in sweat were processed

pecado sin habla apretó etapa, paso el protagonista de estrellado ocupan empataron fuertemente para brindar por peligroso vía (de metro) sincere con pavo suplente disgustar pasear estaba sudando

pecat sense parla, bocabadat va estrènyer etapa, pas el protagonista de estrellat ocupen van empatar fort per brindar per perillds via (de metro) sincer amb gall dindi actor suplent trasbalsar passejar estava suant

what's going on

tramitaban su entrada que está pasando

tramitaven la seva entrada que esta passant

sin speechless squeezed stage starring in starry take up tied tightly to drink a toast to tough track truthful turkey understudy upset wander was covered in sweat were processed

eskua eman zioten elkarri bekatua mutu, hitzik gabe estutu zuen urrats, etapa -ko izar nagusi izartsu hartzen dute berdindu zuten estuki -ri topa egiteko arriskutsua trenbide (metrokoa) egiati indioilar ordezkoa atsekabetzea hara-hona paseatzea izerditan zegoen

tramitaban a sua entrada que esta a pasar

wonder would be scared to death

asombro me moriría de miedo

admiracio em moriria de por

sarrera bideratzen zuten zer gertatzen ari den harridura beldurrez hilko nintzateke


what's going on wonder would be scared to death


pecado sen fala apertou etapa, xeira, paso o protagonista de estrelado ocupan empataron fortemente para brindar por perigoso via (de metro) sincere con pavo suplente desgustar pasear estaba a suar

asombro, abraio morreria de medo

A Foreigner in New York  

El librico de Ingles

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