ORANGEBURG, N.Y. – From riding a bicycle up the West Side Highway from his Tribeca apartment to taking in some live jazz at Smalls, New York City FC head coach Dome Torrent is in an empire state of mind.
“I enjoy this time in Manhattan because when you have time, in one moment you can say, ‘OK, I can go to the theater, live music, jazz today or maybe the good restaurants,’” Torrent told MLSsoccer.com. “Everything you need is here in Manhattan.”
Torrent said he always enjoyed being a tourist in Manhattan when he and close friend Pep Guardiola would bring Barcelona, Bayern Munich or Manchester City to the Big Apple during preseason.
But now he’s experiencing New York as a resident since being named NYCFC head coach last June.
“Pep is the most famous coach in the world, but when Pep is here, he tells me all the time he’s comfortable here because not many people know Pep here because the focus here is baseball, American football, basketball,” Torrent said. “I’m not Pep, I’m not [Jose] Mourinho, I’m not Jurgen Klopp. But for me it's amazing because it's very kind, for now, the people with me, with my family. I feel really good in New York.”
While Torrent has developed a distinct style of play for NYCFC, off the field, the Spaniard’s tastes are as diverse as the city he now calls home.
A well-known jazz enthusiast, Torrent has numerous options for some live music. But that's only part of his musical palate.
“Sometimes I need rock and roll, you know? For my energy,” Torrent said. “Sometimes I need blues and soul. When I need to relax, jazz is good. I take a drink, red wine is good, and jazz. It depends in the moment.”
On those bike rides up to the George Washington Bridge, Torrent said his iPhone’s playlist includes U2, the Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen. For chilling at home after a long day at the club’s training facility in Rockland County, Sade is his go-to.
Torrent said his last concert was blues legend Buddy Guy with his English teacher at Sony Hall in Times Square last month. A few blocks away at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, he went to ‘Moulin Rouge! The Musical.’
Torrent said a typical day has him at the club’s training facility at 8:30 a.m. He’ll return to his apartment around 3 or 4 in the afternoon, where he’ll work for another few hours hours on NYCFC’s next opponent.
“When I’m tired and my head is full, I take the bike and spend two hours up riverside, Central Park, walking,” Torrent said. “I love Soho, I like Chelsea, I love Tribeca. I love Manhattan in general.”
The NYCFC coach’s culinary preferences are varied as well, and he has several favorite restaurants. They include Nobu Downtown, Tao Downtown in Chelsea, ABC Kitchen in midtown, Buvette in the West Village and Scalini Fedeli in Tribeca.
A self-professed basketball junkie, Torrent split his four games last year equally between the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets, his decision based more about the opponent – especially getting to see fellow countryman Marc and Pau Gasol.
He’s also been to watch the New York Rangers, but there’s still two sports left on his wish list: American football and baseball.
But not just any baseball game.
“I want to go in the playoffs, if possible, because I want to live this experience in the playoffs at Yankee Stadium,” he said. “I need to go at least one time to the American football. I’ve never been. I love, on TV, American football. I don’t know if its the same live.”
Torrent said one reason he feels so at home in New York City is because of the similarities to Barcelona.
“They have good, good restaurants,” Torrent said. “If you like to go to spend two hours in live music, the best clubs maybe in Spain are between Barcelona and Madrid. We have a river here, Barcelona has the beach.”
However, not everything is the same.
“Manhattan is very expensive, the restaurants, the apartment,” Torrent said. “That is the difference between Barcelona and Manhattan."