South African In: New York

After studying in New York, I arrived home in South Africa inspired and changed. I love New York! Every single day felt like I was in a fairytale. The flight to New York from South Africa is 14 hours. I can honestly say I was welcomed into the city with open arms. I’d always imagined New York to be an intimidating place. I was thinking “Sex in the City” and famous stars like Beyonce and Jay Z walking the streets on the flight over. Not to mention that it’s the financial capital of the world – the Wall Street Stock Exchange sounds scary. But I was pleasantly surprised with how friendly the people were and how do-able the city was.

This is, after all, the place where all the TV shows we have come to know so well hail from – NBC’s “Saturday  Night Live”, “Law & Order”, “CSI:NY”, “CNN”, “Boardwalk Empire” and more. Not to mention this is the home of Broadway – the place where all dancers, actors and singers from across the globe want to end up. I will never forget how surreal it was to stand in Times Square itself, the Broadway stage only a few metres away. What a magical feeling it was to see all of the places I’ve heard so much about since I was a little girl… The New York Times Building, Grand Central Station, Bank of America, Google… walking down 5th avenue at night, yellow cabs zooming by, famous stores such as Louis Vuitton, Armani, Gucci, Prada, SAKS, Cartier, Tiffany & Co., Michael Kors or Victoria’s Secret. My jaw was on the floor as I watched the world-famous 4th of July fireworks along the Hudson River, welcoming in Independence Day. Experiences like these can’t be topped! Watching a game at the US Open and attending fashion events in Brooklyn are burned into my memory. I remember one of my favourite routines became trawling bars in the East Village, surrounded by musicians, artists, rockstars and leather-studded citizens of the famous city. Having a beer in the same bar that Bob Dylan, Jimmy Hendrix and Bruce Springsteen were discovered. I won’t ever forget a ghost walk I did in Washington Square Park where we touched the building where Edgar Allen Poe lived and composed his famous poem The Raven. I loved just walking around my neighbourhood of the Upper West Side and grabbing a latte at Starbucks (something we see in all the series but don’t have in South Africa). And who could forget looking out the window of my acting class every day to see the Empire State Building? I partied at famous rooftop bars and welcomed in my 25th birthday with my eyes looking at the Manhattan Skyline for the first time in my life. To top it all off, my course at The New York Film Academy was superb. In between classes I tried to fit in as many historic places as I could.  I even met some famous people and acted in a short film which I didn’t expect! I totally fell in love with New York and had the most sensational time seeing out the first quarter century of my life and welcoming in a new era there.

Fireworks along the Hudson River
Hard Rock Cafe Times Square
Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum Times Square
Walking the streets at night
grand central station
Grand Central Station
Times Square


Seeing the New York Skyline from rooftop bars
Lunching in the Meat Packing District
My Fabulous School
Checking out the iconic Radio City
Visiting Cartier 5th avenue
Having a chocolate from Lindt 5th avenue
Watching the Men’s Quarterfinals at The US Open
Having a beer at the oldest pub in New York, Mc Sorely’s in the East Village


Going to the top of the Rockefeller Centre “Top of the Rock”
Listening to live music at the iconic “Cafe Wha?” in Greenwich village
Watching Stand Up Comedy
Walks and Hot Dogs in Central Park
Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge
Watching Street Performances in Union Square
Reading the National Enquirer
Touching an original ancient Egyptian relic at the Metro Museum of Art!
easter island head
Touching a real Easter Island Moai Head at the Museum of Natural History!
Visiting the Metro Museum of Art
Shooting in the Financial District
Discovering Barnes & Noble Bookshop (Union Square)
Strolling through a street market on Amsterdam Avenue
Visiting the famous ‘Julliard’
Visiting the famous ‘Lee Strasberg’ Acting Studio
Standing at the building where John Lennon was shot

Cover Photo: Death To The Stock Photo

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Nicolette Leonard says:

    Love reading of your experiences Tamika. Welcome home but I think you actually belong in the big apple. You a star. Go for it.

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