Start spreadin’ the news, I am leaving today…
Boisterous and rambunctious, New York is a legendary American city that ensnares the senses of travellers year after year, but what are ten truths about this behemoth of a city?
It’s a petri dish of people
In New York you can find everything and anything, anyone too…
You might say that’s true of any city, but in New York it’s just on a larger scale. Any niche interest you may have, the strangest type of person, the crevices of any community, you’ll find it here.
An interesting paradox that NY holds is that despite its mass and occupants, it’s very easy to feel lonely in the city. Yes, there are plenty of people here, but the city drives its citizens hard. Whether they’re working or commuting, people tend to float in little bubbles that can be hard to pop. Others have entered the city with an iron-clad determination to ‘make it’ in a particular field, and have no time for niceties. Friends are there to be crushed under the soles of their ambition (that might have been a little dramatic…)
The airport staff are the rudest in the world
It’s a toss up between Morocco and NY, but NY wins by a hair. I’ve never had such a stressful experience at an airport than I did in NY. After 9/11, NY had to step up its security, as did the Western world in general, but this doesn’t explain the incompetence, rudeness and obnoxiousness of many staff. On my last layover to NY, I was presently surprised by a kind and funny member of security so shout out to the ones who care.
It’s 4am, most people are enjoying a well earned nights sleep. Not in NY. NY is a 24/7 city and that means something is always happening and that something is almost always loud, deafening in fact. Personally, I like a little noise but NY can begin to fray even well-weathered nerves. Noisy cars, incoherent voices, lots of shouting, music, horns blaring, sirens, ah the sounds of the city. This cultivates both a very lived in vibe and also the sense of being constantly harassed…
Living here is for a special kind of person
For a short stint, I really loved NY. For one, I wasn’t working there but also it is an exciting, dynamic city. It’s very hard to feel bored here. That said, I can imagine that living in NY long term can transform you into a ticking tetchy time bomb. Psychologists link anger to exposure to particular triggers including people, noise and heat and in NY, between bumping into endless people in a day, having your ears mildly harassed every minute and roasting to death in a sad and pitiful way on the subway, your happy-go-lucky personality may disappear, making way for a gremlin who feeds on the souls of the damned. You certainly need to be tough to take NY as your long-term love.
The people are larger than life
You often hear people say that New Yorkers are larger than life characters and I find this to be true. You can’t live in a city like this and not have a personality to match its size and scope. City dwellers also tend to develop certain characteristics don’t they? Toughness, resilience, character, a certain spunkiness that helps them navigate the hardships of city life. Yes, plenty of locals are rude but many are also very interesting and lovely and proud of their home.
Wherever you go, someone is there
You know when you wake up really early and decide that todays the day you want to head to X, Y or Z for some peace and quiet, or a pancake or a sit on a park bench. In some places you can still get away with being ‘first.’ In NY, this is not so. Someone is always there. In fact someone is always everywhere. There is nowhere you can go where someone will not be. If you’re a misanthrope, this is not ideal.
The food isn’t that great…
Don’t hate me, I still loved the food, but I wouldn’t say it’s the ‘best in the world.’ In NY everything calls itself the best. This is the best pizza. This is the best burger. I respectfully disagree, but I do admire the bravado.
The city will rattle your self-esteem
Many people come to NY, just as they do to LA, with aspirations of being a big fish. Many do succeed, and many do not. This can create a certain type of person, one who feels downtrodden, depressed and despondent. Perhaps they took the Greyhound bus in from Minnesota hoping to be an actress, and realised a million other people had the exact same idea. It’s easy to feel like an ant in NY, which is perhaps why people try so hard to stand out.
Just as you take a bite out of the big apple, it takes a bite out of you
NY is a city that leaves a strong impression but you might feel you’ve barely left a ripple. I think it’s more accurate to say that the big apple takes a bite out of us little apples, rather than the other way round. That’s not necessarily a bad thing…
All my love