If there is one thing you don’t know about me, now you know. I LOVE NYC. It is where I was born, where I grew up, where I worked 3 jobs at the same time, where I danced the weekends away, where I discovered bottomless brunch, where I loved and where I lost.
If there is another thing that you don’t know about me, now you know. I LOVE MADRID. It is where I started to learn Spanish, where I became a freelancer, where I discovered a new culture, where I developed a new appreciation for vino, and where I changed my life.
The best part about both? The neighborhoods or Los Barrios. This is where you find your niche. I was quite surprised to learn how much Madrid is like Manhattan, and at only 1/3 of the cost. I have lived long enough in both places to see the similarities between the two, and this is why I call Madrid the new Manhattan:
- Sol- Welcome to Times Sq.
If you are a local, you avoid it like the plague. You see pictures of it on every travel site or magazine, and they are beautiful pictures indeed. Stunning buildings and full of energy. Nobody actually lives in Sol; “it’s for the tourists” we say. You can find great shopping but never go on a Saturday morning. Save it for 9am on a Monday morning. Overpriced, tourist traps, crowds of people everywhere. (Hint: Do all your holiday shopping in November not December; you’ll thank me later.)
- Chueca- Welcome to Chelsea
Picture this: You walk through the streets and see dozens of gorgeous well-groomed men walking their little French Bulldogs, speaking a mile a minute and rainbow flags everywhere. Home to the famous Gay Pride parades. Restaurants and bars with the best décor and you could only wish you could afford to live there. Use to be a run-down neighborhood, now all of a sudden it has become the new “hot spot” in the city. Yes, everyone, Chueca is Chelsea.
- Malasana- Welcome to the Villages
Looking for a cozy café or the latest vintage shops? Wondering where all the “guiri’s” live? Look no further than the trendy barrio of Malasana, where you can choose from plenty of cafes to set up your workspace for the day, grab some cheap drinks at night, and overall have a good time partying with the Spanish locals and Foreigners combined.
- Salamanca- Welcome to the Upper East Side
If you have your heart set on some serious shopping or fine dining in the newest restaurants, you will find it all the Barrio of Salamanca. Streets of posh clothing stores and banks it’s The Upper East Side to its core. A little further out in the center, it is where you expect to pay a little more for everything.
- Lavapies- Welcome to the Lower East Side
Diversity, gritty, up and coming. Those are the words that describe the Barrio of Lavapies. The place where no one really cares what other people think, its home. It’s where diversity thrives and different languages are spoken. Craving authentic food from Morocco or India? Here you will find it and more. Looking for some good music spots? You’ll find that here as well.
Los Barrios= Neighborhoods
Guiri= Slang term for people from other countries