I imagined a dirtier, grimier, more polluted city. It isn't. In fact, Manhattan seems quite clean and orderly for its population density. The garbage bags appear through the day, and then, somehow, disappear.
Transit is great. It's relatively inexpensive, easy, dependable and safe. There isn't the graffiti on the subway cars here that one sees in some of the major international cities.
Yellow cabs are everywhere. Except when it rains of course.
For a city that never sleeps, it's relatively quiet when you are away from the tourist centres. Where we stayed, finding a cafe or coffee shop open past midnight was not always easy, the 3 Star Diner being an exception (open 24/7) and a retro kind of place in every sense. So retro it isn't fashionably retro.
There is a wonderful sense of making the best of the old city, yet celebrating the new when it works. New York is a walkable city and the architecture is stunning at every turn.
Conversations are easy to start in cafes, coffee shops and bars; not every person is spiritually attached to their smart phone. New Yorkers seem to love talking with people and about almost anything.
The people are amazing. They are friendly and eager to help. Look at a map in a subway station and only a moment goes by before someone says "Where do ya wanna go?" They seem genuinely proud of their city. They don't need to be told they live in the greatest city on earth. They know. It's the people that make this a great city.
Photos by Jim Murray. Copyright 2014.