Thursday, 7 November 2013

Ten Things I Enjoy About Living in New York City

I was going to title this post "10 Months, 10 Disappointments" but eventually opted against it (clearly).  Upon reflection, I feel like I've been pretty hard on New York and, with at least another 8 months in this city, that's no way to live.  So, in an attempt to love this city I'm now calling home (at least for the time being), I'm lowering my expectations and starting anew.  Now, instead of 10 months and 10 disappointments, I've rewritten this post to be more positive (though I reserve the right to write about my disappointments in the future).

I have now lived in New York City for 10 months.  That's the longest I've stayed put since we left Seattle after 11 years of residency back in 2010.  And, if our experience in Seattle taught us anything it's that it can take a good two years in a city before feeling at home.  However, if our experience in London taught us anything it's that it can take as little as one month, too.  After 10 months in New York City I can tell you that NYC will definitely be more reminiscent of Seattle than London for us.  Still, although we don't feel at home quite yet, we are really enjoying certain aspects of our new city.  Here, in no particular order, are some of the things I'm enjoying the most.

The UN from a Tudor City rooftop
1.  Hidden New York
Everyone knows about Grand Central, the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building but not very many tourists know about Coney Island or the northern side of Central Park or Governors Island.  It's fun having the time to really explore this city.

2.  Transportation Options
I am no fan of the MTA and it's very possible this same heading will appear on my "10 Disappointments" list some time in the future but, at the same time, I do admit that having multiple transportation options is a good thing and something that should be celebrated.  However, the inane bureaucracy and outrageous costs associated with said options due to the MTA's incompetency is another matter entirely.  But, lest I get too negative in a supposedly positive post, NJ Transit is pretty awesome.

Travel to neighboring areas by train
3.  New Jersey
Speaking of New Jersey, what a freaking surprise!  I haven't had too much exposure to NJ but from what I have seen I'm rather impressed.  Hoboken is adorable and Newark didn't kill me (remember, expectations are low).  Plus, I got to both for only $2.50 each way.  Jersey gets a bad rap but it's looking better and better as time goes on, at least from this side of the Hudson.

4.  European Feeling
Upon moving here, it was very evident to us that NYC is much more European than we had ever noticed prior to living abroad.  Perhaps it's the history of the city or maybe because it's so international but, regardless, there are many aspects of living in NYC that have reminded us of our time in the UK.  From garbage collection to pronouncing French words correctly to not respecting personal space to crossing the street whenever convenient and not just at crosswalks.  New York City is exactly what someone missing London, but banned from residing there, needs.

Autumn in Central Park
5.  Seasons
There are four seasons here.  Really.  Four very distinct seasons.  The summers are hot, the winters are cold, the springs are filled with new growth and the falls are filled with changing colors.  And, the sun shines all year round.  This is perhaps my most favorite thing about living here.

6.  Rainstorms
Speaking of weather, it rains in New York City.  No, like really rains.  Like, thunder, lightning, flash flooding type of rain and it happens often.  Anecdotally, I'd always known it rains more in NYC than Seattle but I'd never really understood how that was possible.  Well, rather than having months of dreariness and days filled with mists of rain or small droplets, in NYC it's a gorgeous day and then, out of nowhere, you're drowning. And then it's gone.  It's awesome and diverting and exciting and fun.  And, since you won't be able to catch a cab, you might as well enjoy the experience.  Seriously, you can try but don't expect to successfully hail a cab in a rainstorm.  They're all taken.  Every single one of them.  Also, you should probably always carry an umbrella.

Sudden Rainstorm
7.  Fireflies
Everyone loves fireflies.  From the kids growing up in the city to the elderly who've lived here all their lives; everyone is enamored by these little sparkly guys.  They're fascinating.

8.  Street Festivals
These are random which sucks because I'd love to plan my calendar around them but the randomness may also make them more fun because when you stumble upon one it's like you've wandered into a surprise party.  For you. I've lived in two neighborhoods now and have awoken to surprise street festivals at least once in each of them.  It's so fun to wake up to a fried Oreo booth on your front lawn.  Seriously.  This is not sarcasm.  I love it!

Marine Park, Brooklyn
9.  Neighborhoods
The real charm of New York City is in the neighborhoods.  I guess that might be true of any city but it's one aspect of big city living that I truly enjoy.

10. Pop Culture References
One of the things I always enjoy is watching a movie or TV show that takes place in a city I'm about to visit or am currently living in or miss terribly.  The Bourne trilogy is good for eastern European cities, the new BBC Sherlock is good for London and Frasier, to a certain extent, is good for Seattle.  But, the depth of material for New York City is bottomless.  The reservoir spilleth over and it's fun to have so many options, especially when I move away and, inevitably, begin to miss this city I called home but didn't appreciate enough while I was here.

1 comment:

  1. As much as you like big cities and London, in particular, have you ever considered either Vancouver, BC or Toronto, Ontario rather than HK?

    ReplyDelete

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