Catalans Abroad

The melting pot

Why did you leave Catalonia and why did you choose New York?
I moved for my interest in documentary photography and the opportunity to study abroad. I moved to New York City to study at the International Center of Photography.
How long have you lived there?
I moved to New York in the summer of 2008. During the first two years, I lived in New Jersey about 25min away from my school located in Manhattan. Then I lived in Brooklyn, Harlem and and now I am in the Upper West Side.
Are you happy with the job opportunities you found in your adoptive country?
As we have all have heard, New York City is a city of opportunities and I agree with that. The city is really open to new ideas and talented people. New York is a tough city. It is expensive and people have to work hard.
What do you think is the best thing about to live in New York?
The diversity; there are people from everywhere. That makes the city culturally rich, open mind, and flexible. All this diversity brings diversity of food too, and I love that too. Then there is the art, the music.
What would you consider the highlights of a brief first time visit New York?
Well, that's a difficult question and also subject to personal taste. For me, one of my favourite places is Central Park. In the summertime, people picnick, do yoga, skate, run, cycle, swim in the pool, play baseball, listen to music at a free concert or just sunbathe topless.
And if visitors are more time or make a return visit?
For history, the Museum of Immigration on Ellis Island. There are different neighbourhoods and their cultures. From African American in Harlem, various South American cultures in Jackson Heights, Chinese in Flushing, Mexican culture in Sunset Park, Hasidic Jewish culture in Williamsburg, Russian culture in Brighton Beach and so on. And of course, their local cuisine.
What do you miss most from home?
What I miss the most is what I consider our philosophy of life. I think our culture is oriented towards being happy, while I think in America people are oriented towards success.
Do you plan to go back to Catalonia?
I would love to go back to Catalonia. I am missing being close to my parents as they get older. So, yes I am planning to go back within a couple of years.
Ester Jové Soligué is from Lleida. She has been living in the USA since 2008 as a documentary photographer.:

Some suggestions

Can you recommended a place we have lunch with friends or where would you have a special dinner for two?
Well, I recently celebrated my birthday at Casa Mono with my boyfriend, Michael. It is a very intimate restaurant with adventurous Spanish dishes. Personally, it is a plus for me that the chef grew up in Costa Brava and that one of their desserts is called Lleida.
When is the best time of year to plan a visit?
I think fall is a wonderful time to visit New York. Not only because it is not either too cold or too warm, but also for the colours of the trees all around the city and along the Hudson Valley. Going upstate at this time of year is very popular for New Yorkers to see the colour changes.
What is the best kept secret about the area?
I can not help it but smile while I am saying this. For me the best secret is Zabar's Jewish market. Not only I love their bagel and lox and the fact that the owner is a supporter and protector of street art by Banksy. In the top of that, in Zabar's you can find olive oil from Sarroca de Lleida, and that blew my mind.
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