11/19/2022 – After so many years of seeing New York on tv, and hearing other people’s experiences and/or opinions about it, its nice to know for myself what it’s all about. So I thought I’d share my experience, for what it’s worth.
I’ve been told New Yorkers are rude: what I experienced is that New Yorkers aren’t rude, they’re people. Sure some might be, just like anywhere else. Some local’s definitely have no tolerance for tourists on the subway, as is the case when we had our scooters on the subway that first day. I can’t say I wouldn’t feel the same way if roles were reversed.
What I always thought- New York was a magical place, and it would feel magical. The reality is that it’s a city, some areas are really nice and have door men. Other places, there’s trash, homeless and that one person, yelling obscenities into the unknown that everyone knows to leave them be. Sometimes that’s all of the above, in one place.
Some streets emit a smell of garbage, some smell delicious, and sometimes you’ll get those smells on the same street. Sometimes the heat from the subway rises from below through the grates and can give you a wonderful burst of warmth on a cool evening.
Having only seen New York on TV a part of me thought their weather would be less harsh. Nope, it’s weather, it’s the same damn feeling of hot or cold you’d feel anywhere else!
The best parts about visiting New York was those small moments in time that invoked a true feeling that will make the memories special. I’ll remember how fun it was to barter with the street vendors. Trying to get them to give me a bundle deal. A homeless man asking for money as we walk by saying, “come on miss fancy pants, where you goin?” Hey, miss fancy pants, can you give me a dollar?” Mitch loved it so much he ran back and gave him some money and then he says, “oh hey, Kojak’s comin back, Kojak came back!”
Mitch buying me at $22 ring, only to realize once I put it on that it has “you & me” engraved on the top. Making it a perfect 10 year wedding anniversary ring.
The food ~ I always thought that New York food would have a different amazing extra awesome flavor in everything we ate, you know because its New York. Not the case, sure the pizza was pretty darn good the other day, but it wasn’t something that would make you wanna travel across the country for. It’s pizza. Just like a hot dog from the little stands they have, it’s a hot dog.
I loved that every area in New York had its own uniqueness, Chinatown, little Italy, the west village and so on.
What I heard- The subways are scary, you gotta be careful. The truth is, they’re a great mode of transportation. The variety of people on the subway at any given time are the same as the variety on the streets. The systems run so frequently and efficiently it’s easy to get to where you want to go when you want. Some people make eye contact and smile, some are downright exhausted and others are in their own internet world. Just like how we met Paul, a tiny smile, a kind gesture and what do ya know, a new friend!
Sitting on the subway has that kind of silence you hear in an elevator, the low whispers, or the occasional loud talker, but overall it’s silent. The frequent overwhelming squealing and rocking of the subway drowns out the silence and you can begin to know how close you are to your stop based on the rhythm of the rails. Now I’m not saying it’s always safe, but nothing in this world always is, you just need to have your wits about ya, no matter your surroundings and you should be fine. FYI- the best app for navigating the subway systems I found is- citymapper
The NYPD are throughout the city, trying to keep the peace. We saw them standing on street corners, on the subway, handing out free coffee, cookies and sanitizers in the World Trade Center terminal, directing traffic and getting cursed out by someone they were arresting.
Overall visiting New York, or anywhere else for that matter, remember, it maybe something you’ve always wanted to see, but ultimately it’ll be how you felt, what’s happening in your life personally and what stirred your emotions in those moments that you’ll really remember. Nothing did that for us more than the 9/11 memorial.
Visiting ground zero, to morn the loss of those we didn’t know, but still experienced the loss of our fellow Americans. The day that reminded us all, that we were not impenetrable. To see the love, the resilience and magnitude of the American spirit rebuild after such a tragedy resonates evermore.
Thank you New York for the experience, and thank you New Jersey for letting us call you home for a week.