Cultural diversity, the driving, the food, famous places everywhere, the people are friendly, Museums are insane, so many good-looking people, people work in famous places, the Yankees are just the local baseball team, and the parks!
Actually, I can’t list all the reasons I love New York City, but here’s a start with my Top 10 Reasons.
- In walking from my flight to the airport shuttle into town I heard about eight different languages. There’s more human variety on a New York subway car than in the state of Oregon.
- The way they drive! If the car is seven feet wide and you have nine feet of space, you go for it. You’re expected to. It’s defensive/aggressive, and runs by the natural laws of driving, with only a little more respect for rules than the Italians.
- The food! One evening I was meeting some friends around 7 and wanted dinner beforehand. I was somewhere around 14th Street and 7th Ave., and I called my friend Joseph, who’s lived in Manhattan all his life. I told him where I was, and he said there’s a great Puerto Rican place over at 15th Street and 8th Ave. A few minutes later I was at the counter with three generations of a family serving me the most tender pork chops I’d ever had, a pile of yellow rice and black beans, flan, and strong coffee with milk …. for $12. It’s called La Taza de Oro (Closed 2015). Go there.
- Moments like looking out the window of a bus and seeing Carnegie Hall. And you think, “Oh yeah, Carnegie Hall is here.” So’s Radio City. And the place where John Lennon got shot. And the Letterman show. And a million other places you’ve heard of. This happens all over New York.
- The people are friendly. They’re in a rush, sure, and they’re loud. But they love their city, are proud of their knowledge of it, and are eager to help you out. Many times I saw a tourist asking for directions and getting two or three people helping them. Giving three different versions of how to get there, but still. On one bus I asked a woman which stop I needed for St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and she told me — then asked if I wanted to sit by the window! If you think about it, the people have to be nice there. The whole place would explode otherwise. Plus, I get the sense that the city is so big, so loud, so concretey, it’s like a beast that we all have to face together.
- The museums are insane. I flunked art history at SMU … twice … but still, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I had several experiences of walking into a room and saying, “Wait, I know that painting!” Oh, and the Met, and several others, is “pay what you want.“
- Let’s say that 1 in 10 people are what you’d call good-looking. New York has a population of 8.4 million people. This means there are about 800,000 good-looking people walking around that city. They’re everywhere! I don’t know if the average is any higher, but let’s take Manhattan for an example. A lot of money in Manhattan: the per-capita income is over $100,000 a year. A lot of power. This brings good-looking people. Manhattan has 1.3 million people in 22 square miles. That’s about 71,000 people per square mile. Plus the tourists. And let’s round up for the money and power. In any given square mile of that island, there are close to 10,000 good-looking people walking around. Maybe more. In Midtown, definitely more. Let’s just say that walking around New York is scenic.
- Most places, when you visit a friend at work, you see a cubicle, or a warehouse, or a truck. I visited a friend in New York, and he took me to the newsroom of the Wall Street Journal. He motioned across the room and said, “That’s the editor in that office there.” On the way out to the street, we walked by Glenn Beck’s studio. Ho hum.
- On my way out of town I was waiting for a subway to JFK, when a train from the Bronx came in, and a wave of Yankees fans swept through the station. They had lost a tough one (good), and I could see the fans were bummed. I remembered that to the world, the Yankees are The Empire, but here they’re the local baseball team. And no, the Mets don’t count. Sorry.
- The parks. This, along with the people being nice, is one of the great secrets of New York. Sure, we know about Central Park, but most of us don’t really understand how impressive it is. And there’s all these other parks! Bryant Park, surrounded by tall buildings and at the foot of the second biggest library in the world. Fort Tryon Park up at the Cloisters, where you can look across the Hudson and see actual trees, and a friend told me there were Baltimore Orioles among the trees. New York is definitely crowded, but it’s a city, built with something of a plan, and plans were definitely made for that most basic of human needs: some peace and quiet.
The Parks are one of the great secrets of New York City
Submitted by Paul Gerald (Portland, OR)
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