(work in progress)
To note that New York City is a veritable melting point of cultures is hardly an original observation. However, what I find so fascinating is to see how people adhere to traditional practices from their home cultures, even if they seem incongruous against the backdrop of NYC's ultra urban, 21st century cityscape.
Take this elderly Chinese lady whom I happened to be walking behind in Greenwich village late one Sunday evening. She needed to carry two (very modern) black plastic refuse bags, and reverted to the age old practice of suspending them from either end of a pole which she then carried across her shoulders. East meets West, ancient meets modern - New York in microcosm.
(work in progress)
My recent trip to New York took place in October 2012, less than a month before the Presidential election, and it was encouraging to see that voter registration was underway in a number of locations I passed.
Democracy is something that most western countries hold dear, and is particularly significant for someone who lives in a relatively new democracy which tens of thousands of people sacrificed their lives over decades to make the right to vote a reality. So it always amazes me how many people either aren't on the voter's roll and/or don't exercise their democratic right to have a say in how they are governed. The way I see it, if you have the right to vote but don't, you have forfeited the right to criticise the way that the country is governed.
Unfortunately I have yet to see a ballot slip that includes the option, "I consider all of the above to be blithering idiots and wouldn't vote for any of them in a pink fit"" ... probably for fear that said blithering idiot would win by a landslide!
I never noticed this until recently, but many New Yorkers check each other out but never make eye contact. After you notice it for the first time, you will see it happen all the time. The checking out part isn't really as sleazy as it sounds. I think many New Yorkers are hyper sensitive when it comes to fashion, and they constantly analyze what's hot and what's not.
As for the eye contact, it can be considered an aggressively hostile move to look someone in the eyes in New York (especially if you mean it). Don't worry if you happen to look someone in the eyes, but just be careful who you look at and how you do it. I'm making New York sound like a terrible place, but it's not. New York ranks 39th safest state (11th most dangerous), with N. Dakota as safest, and Florida as most dangerous with regards to violent crime (according to website listed below).
This was something I had to try and was happy to find it at 2nd Avenue Deli. It's basically just seltzer, milk and chocolate syrup in it so not sure where the egg part of the name comes from. I wonder if back in the day it had egg yolks in it. At any rate, it's quite tasty and if you like chocolate syrup, you're bound to like these. Try one. It's a trip back to the time when soda fountains ruled.
When we got to Newark there were terribly long queues as a flight from Asia had arrived at the same time as us.
There were hundreds of people needing to get through customs, the majority being foreigners, needing the full customs check!
We had sat next to a friendly Welsh couple on the plane and chatted with them in the customs line too, sharing funny stories.
Even though we had heard that American Customs Officials are very tough and unfriendly, we found that they were thorough and friendly enough, even at 3am in the morning!
We got through easily and continued on our way.
Although I've lived in several major American cities, all of which had sufficient drug stores, it is only in Manhattan that I've become a devotee of the pharmacy. Here in New York, with rental prices at a premium, these emporia (Duane Reade, for example) somehow manage to include virtually everything that you'd find at a suburban shop. But like the old Ginsu knives advertisement, I hasten to add, "But wait! There's more!"
Items -- specialized shampoos, unusual cosmetic lines, even handmade cards or things like loofahs in the shape of various aquatic animals -- can often be found in pharmacies which are just not available elsewhere. Since these places are everywhere, you need to check on the special qualities of the one closest to your hotel. Recently I've been quite fond of Gideon's Drugs, located at Broadway and 38th Street, which carries Kerastase (great hair stuff) and the aforementioned loofahs, and even has a second floor which was just too much for me to handle. Oh, and they've got great hair brushes, too! Information below is for Gideon's. They will deliver anywhere in New York.
Started in 2002 by Robert De Niro after the WTC terrorist attacks to help revitalize the neighborhood, this is now a highly attended yearly event. At the main theater in Tribeca as well as other venues in the Lower East Side dozens of movies (documentaries, full-feature and low budget arthouse films are shown. Generally the director, producer and/or actors are present to have audience discussions after the screening. It normally lasts about 10 days at the end of April and into May each year.
“Be praised, My Lord, through Sister Water; she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.”
— St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226) ‘Canticle of the Sun,’ circa 1225
When walking about low-rise areas, such as Greenwich Village or the East Village, you can look up too. Not to see the tall office towers, but a unique New York City fixture: the wooden water tank.
New York City water tanks have been a fixture on this town’s skyline since the mid-19th century. It is estimated that there are between 10,000 and 15,000 wooden tanks in the city’s five boroughs. Their design has changed little from the 1800s; they are a vital element in the city’s water system.
Beginning in the 19th century, New York City required all buildings taller than six stories to have a water tower on the roof to prevent the need for water high pressure at lower levels, which could rupture pipes.
Water is pumped to the tanks and then it is fed by gravity into the building. When levels get too low, a valve in the tank signals the building’s basement pump to send water to the tank. The tanks store between 5,000 and 10,000 gallons of water. Water at the top is for everyday use; and the water at the bottom of the tank is reserved for fighting fire.
Although there are some steel tanks, wooden ones are more common because they can be put together and taken up to the roof in stages and are less expensive.
Herald Square is a small island of green among the traffic noises of East 34th Street, 6th Avenue and Broadway. A square of maybe 20 x 10m, this place is very popular for lunch among those who work close by (e.g. at Macy's, which is just next door). I enjoyed sitting in all the hustle and bustle of Midtown, eating my lunch and watching people passing by. You could easily write a whole book by retelling what you overhear and oversee while sitting there...
Venture out to one or all of the other four boros (Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens or Staten Island) and you will reward yourself with so much more than the average tourist/traveler sees. The four boros along with Manhattan make up New York City and its where the majority of the New Yorkers call home.
Wherever I went I noticed the "National Pride" of the American people, you cannot help but notice the number of locations the American Flag is flying, always in a prominent position.
It is a magnificent flag , a large flag looks outstanding when completly opened by the breeze.
"While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that's free,
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer. "
God Bless America,
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Thru the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home.
"The logo for the I Love New York advertising many campaigns is a rebus created by Milton Glaser consisting of the capital letter I, followed by a red heart symbol (♥), below which are the capital letters N and Y, set in a rounded slab serif typeface. Because of the appearance of the logo, it is often misread I Heart New York rather than I Love New York. The logo is perhaps known best for promoting tourism in the entire state of New York, —contrary to the popular belief of merely New York City, the state's and country's most populous city— appearing in souvenir shops and brochures throughout the state." http://en.wikipedia.org
This is an odd little picture but I thought I may as well share it. Throughout New York City you will see scenes like this as a lot of the city is heated with steam. That’s about all I know about that, if your there in January might be a place to get a blast of warm air?
You might notice at a lot of the pubs/bars in town that if you have ordered three drinks/rounds, the bartender will tap the bar when serving up your fourth - that's on the house!! It's great until you try to take advantage of it :P ..... try getting to your eighth and twelth and...... but it sure makes you feel good that they appreciate your custom.
This is a Hotel /Bed and Breakfast. It is a oasis in the middle of Times Square. It is quiet inside...more
If your pocketbook can afford it, the Sherry-Netherland is one of New York's poshest luxury hotels....more
The Library is a good little hotel but the frustration is it could be a great hotel. Great concept...more