May 21, 2014

New York City ~ it's the people

Things I found of interest during my first trip to New York City:

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.

There are surprisingly few panhandlers on the streets. In Manhattan the homeless are largely invisible. The why of that is of concern, especially when we know there are over 50,000 in municipal shelters every night and thousands more living rough. Why aren't they more visible? It's easier to see the rich; they are everywhere as are the working class citizens who serve them. Where are the homeless?

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.

There is a great deal of horn honking going on. Short toots for no reason at all and a wall of sound for something more important, like waiting more than 15 seconds for a delivery truck driver to finish his job. Or maybe they were honking at Jeem for standing in the street.

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.