Observations from the Big Apple

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

H2B and I spent Friday through Sunday in New York City, a first-time visit for both of us. To say we were overwhelmed by the city would be a gross understatement. Prior to visiting NYC, the biggest city I'd ever been in was Toronto, and New York makes Toronto look like a village.

People have been asking me how I liked NYC. The short answer is, I loved it, but I wouldn't want to live there. In true OCD fashion I have broken out a list of pros and cons about the city that never sleeps.

-The people were super friendly. I don't know who started saying that Maritimers are the friendliest people on earth, because I find generally they are the most ignorant and rude. In New York we were asked multiple times if we were lost (I guess we looked pathetic!) Waitstaff were nice, store clerks were nice, people on the street were nice.
-The pace was awesome. When a traffic light turned green, people DROVE.
-Central Park is beautiful and was probably my favourite thing about the city.
-Everywhere you look there are street vendors selling hot dogs and big pretzels. I'm not a fan of the 'dog but I could get on board that soft pretzel wagon mightily fast. This would make me a turbo fatty if I weren't walking everywhere and burning off the pretzel calories!
-I really enjoy taking subways. I'd love not having a car.
-Shopping was obviously amazing.
-There are so many cultures, it's incredible. At dinner for example, our waiter was Egyptian and the table behind us were visiting from Italy but one of the guys was originally from Ethiopia.
-There's this feeling that whatever is happening in the world is happening first in New York. The attitude and the vibe there is incredible--so high-energy and exciting.

-So many people. There were times when all I wanted was 30 seconds to look at my map or just regroup, which was impossible.
-It's expensive. I'd need to be super wealthy to live there and enjoy myself.
-No space. Other than Central Park, everything is a concrete grid. There is no room to run around and act a fool, which is pretty much a mandatory in my daily life.
-On a lazy day in Halifax I can go out looking like a dirtbag and frankly, blend in pretty well. In New York I would constantly feel pressured to look nice (which can be a good thing too, I suppose...)
-I think the competition for jobs, apartments, ANYTHING would be so intense and exhausting. Here, if 50 people apply for a job it's considered an overwhelming response. In New York you'd probably have thousands of people applying for a position!

The consensus is, it's a wonderful place to visit and I definitely want to go back in the spring or fall, when the weather's a bit warmer but not stinky-hot. I think I could have spent a month there and still not seen everything I wanted to. We had to pick and choose pretty carefully to manage our time as best we could, so we saw Central Park, the New York Public Library, Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Ground Zero, Rockefeller Centre, did a bunch of shopping, and took a million pictures. Next time I'd want to do more museums and galleries, and maybe take in a ball game.

Overall, it was a fantastic but exhausting weekend. I didn't want to leave, but I was happy to get home.

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  1. I totally know what you mean about dressing up in NYC. I always feel like such a slob if I go into the city in just jeans.

  2. I had salt stains all over my boots and felt like a complete hobo. Everyone looks like a million bucks there.