New York is an incredible city. The people, the colour, the noise (and there is a lot of noise) – it’s like living in a giant performance piece about pressurised city life. But it’s not all music and glamour. The thing with high density city living is…well…high density city living. To whit, here are some of my observations about the city I now call home.
1. New York City is dirty and dusty. The vast number of vehicles, the high rise buildings, the number of smokers…everything is covered in a layer of dirt. Not even a fine layer of dirt. A great honking thick layer.
1a. This means that when it rains, everything turns to gravy. Best not wear your favourite satin ballet flats today, sweetheart.
1b. This also means your nose will be full of dust and dirt. Remember that one time you went to a bush doof with your hippie friends and you blew big dirty boogers for 2 days afterwards? New York City…all the time.
2. There are dogs everywhere. Considering everyone lives in apartments – tiny apartments – I am continually blown away when I see people walking huge great danes or german shepherds down the street. Surely the dogs go crazy in your little one bedroom walk up?! Anyway, one wonderful side effect of dogs everywhere is dog waste everywhere. I’m not kidding when I say you need to keep your eyes down at all times, lest your foot connects with a steaming pile of last nights doggy chow. Also, that puddle you just stepped in isn’t water. This is one reason I don’t wear thongs in the city.
3. Another reason I don’t wear thongs is the toxic gutter slime. The gutters are always full of a delightful mishmash of garbage juice, water runoff, dog pee, city gravy, and whatever else is around. In winter these freeze over and become mini ice skating ponds. In the warmer months they turn fluorescent green. No word of a lie.
4. You walk everywhere. If somewhere is less than 2 subway stops, it’s a quick walk, even if that means 16 blocks. You will trade in all your ballet flats for converse and kicks because you can’t run errands all over town when your feet hurt (read: me). Not only that, but your lovely flats will get shredded and destroyed. This is no place to be precious about shoes. If you’re wearing fancy heels – take a cab.
5. The first few times you catch the subway, you will wonder if you need anti-nausea tablets for the violent rocking, or if you need to see a physio for the whiplash. The first time I took a B train and it flew from West 4th to 34th, I thought we were going to derail. Ditto the L train as it lurches under the East River. Now I barely notice it.
6. You need balls of steel for the roads here. Big balls if you want to drive. Huge balls if you want to ride a bike. The bulk of people on the roads here are cabbies or private drivers with big black SUVs – they smell fear and will eat you alive (or just honk you to death).
7. Women travel in packs of four. Perhaps this is a throwback to the Sex and the City days, or perhaps Sex and the City was actually an accurate representation, but women are usually in bars, at restaurants, and brunching in cafes at tables for four. I find it fascinating.
Have you been to New York? What other observations can you add?
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