Travel black book: New York

Travel black book: New York

Who: Joshua Kangming Tan, 37. The Singaporean is associate conductor of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and assistant director of the Guiyang Symphony Orchestra.

Favourite city: New York Why: I actually hated New York when I first set foot in the city in 1997.

Everyone had talked about how wonderful it was but I found it so dirty and the subway was old and smelt really bad. It was also crowded. But when I moved there 10 years later, I fell in love with it. It's a real melting pot.

There are people from literally all over the world and they have made the neighbourhoods they live in very distinctive in character. So many people are also there to pursue a dream and that makes the city a very open, vibrant place, especially artistically. That can't be compared with anywhere else in the world.

Favourite hotel

The Milford New York Hotel, which used to be called the Milford Plaza Hotel (700 8th Avenue, tel: +1-212-869-3600), is my favourite for sentimental reasons. It was where I stayed when I was in New York to audition for the Juilliard School in 2007. I remember spending my every waking moment preparing for the audition.

It's in a very good location, close to Times Square and the Port Authority bus station. If it's your first time in the city, it's a great place to start out. It's also one of the more affordable hotels in the city, which is known for its astronomically high rents and hotel rates. Rooms here start from US$220 (S$274) a night.

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