Likes & Dislikes

Opinions

New York - Brooklyn Bridge - p.m. photo

New York - fire-escapes - k.t.g. photo


Likes:


•    Approaching the city on the freeway, you can see the skyline of the city from a long way off
•    New Yorkers have learned to be patient with tourists
•    The fact that the part of Manhattan south of Central Park (Downtown) can be explored on foot
•    No litter on the streets
•    Cheap public transport (a ticket is just $2)
•    Masterpieces of modern design, on a grand scale
•    Walking around the city, you feel as though you’ve slipped into a movie


Dislikes


•    The tourist crowds and stink around Times Square
•    Most subway stations are really grungy
•    The city’s vast climate footprint, which was obvious even from a short visit

(P.P., 2018)
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“We were able to experience for ourselves the meaning of that old Sinatra song “I want to wake up in a city that never sleeps”. This really is true of New York – even at 2am there are as many people on the street as in the afternoon, though it’s true that some of them are pretty odd characters. The smell of weed was pretty constant around Times Square, while Broadway was just plain dirty.
It is true, though, that the city has a really indescribable atmosphere. It’s almost uncanny, walking the streets, which are at once so new and so familiar, since we’ve seen these streets and squares in some many films over the years.” (2019)


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“I quickly learned that the first thing anyone asks in this big city that changes from minute to minute is “where do you come from?” This show’s the city’s cultural diversity. The locals are direct, laid-back, and surprisingly happy to help a tourist out. If you get lost and don’t dare ask for help, that’s your problem – you can ask anyone and they’ll turn with a smile, and maybe strike up a conversation.
It surprised me how, after accidentally bumping against someone – practically an inevitability in a city this crowded – we simply apologized to one another politely and went on our way, with no hard feelings on either side. (2018)



Practicals

Transport

Subway

“I was able to download a free New York subway app, and there’s even free wi-fi at most stops, but in the end, I decided that life’s too short to stand about fiddling with a phone app when the analog solution was right there in my pocket. I got my foldable subway map at the airport train station, and I encourage everyone to study the map before planning their trip! Not all trains stop everywhere, and there are also cases where the same number train has two separate terminals. These are most often indicated on the illuminated board on the side of the train, but sometimes you just have to listen to the announcements at each station. (All the same, when a thick Bronx accent calls out the information through a loudspeaker system, it’s not always easy to say whether this is the right train or not.)” (2018)

Taxi

“When should I take a cab?

I can afford the cost
3+ people traveling
the group also has a small child and/or an elderly member
if I don’t cope well with crowds
I have a hard time navigating a foreign city
I don’t speak great English
A lot of bags (or one heavy one)
No great rush, so not a big deal if there’s a traffic jam
I arrive/depart at night and don’t feel safe in the dark”


“What was very surprising to me was that in the taxi – or cab, as the Americans say – the driver is separated from the passenger by plexiglass. You can pay with a card on the touch screen mounted on the back seat, or with cash through a small opening that the driver winds down when he feels safe. :D Speaking of safety, a lot of violence has been/is committed in New York against taxi drivers, so a warning is glued to the plexiglass: If you touch the driver, you can go to jail! Charming.” (2017)
    






New York - taxis - h.i. h photo

New York - multi-storey car park - n.s. photo

New York - the King takes the subway - z.m. photo

New York - World Trade Center train station - The Oculus, transportation hub - m.a. photo

Food

“All this art has left us very hungry, but as we didn’t want to waste a lot of time in a sit-down place, we opted instead to grab a hot-dog from a stall across the street from the museum entrance. About as New York as it gets, right? Don’t do it! We each got a miserable little sausage stuck between a roll with the texture of unbaked bread dough, and lathered with some kind of dilute ketchup or mustard that flowed out in all the wrong places.

The fact is, I had noted down the names of a bunch of good places, but Murphy’s Law states that you’ll never be hungry when you’re surrounded by good eatery options. Not to mention the fact that you have to stand in line for all the decent street-food joints.” (phica, 2018)

New York - Brooklyn - Coney Island - Hot dog eating contest - female record: 45, male record: 73,5 - Krista photo

New York - Manhattan - Broadway - Hard Rock Cafe - b.a. photo

Shopping

“If you’re visiting for a week, it’s worth dedicating one day to shopping (if it’s your thing). We went to Woodbury Common, and the bus ride took about 1 hour. We went with the Gray Line bus company from the Port Authority Bus Terminal. A return ticket was pretty pricey, at forty dollars per person, but we also get a coupon allowing us to take advantage of extra promotions in some stores. Almost everywhere you can buy 40% cheaper by default, and the percentages add up. I planned to be there for three hours or so, but the place was so big and had so many shops that I ended up spending the whole day there. If you’ll be in New York for less than a week, you might be better off going to the Jersey Mall (we weren’t there, but apparently it’s closer than Woodbury, and smaller too).” (Dora, 2018)


Fun

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New York - Broadway - b.a. photo

New York - a street artist and his offbeat percussion instruments - Elter photo

New York - Times Square - Batman approaches the cowgirl - a.g. photo

Public safety

"The cops, though famously tough and merciless in New York, were also extremely helpful. I had to ask them for directions several times, and they were always glad to show me where I had to go. You could see that they really did want to be helpful, and weren’t just doing it because it’s their job. This is also connected to a brief event I remember: I was in Chipotle, eating a burrito, when two cops walked in, evidently on duty. They ordered their food, then sat down next to me with big smiles and a ‘how are you doing?’ Honestly, it cheered me up. I felt a kind of confidence in them, and it gave me a sense of security.”


New York - it seems that five police officers are needed to deal with one homeless - c.p. photo

New York - police - Courtesy - Professionalism Respect - i.h. photo

New York - troopers - h.a. photo

New York - cute police car faded into the whiteness of the snow - p.j. photo

New York - police - b.a. photo

New York - NYPD street briefing - k.g. photo

Others

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New York - free wi-fi at a bus stop - b.a. photo

New York - one of Central Park's iconic pedestrian tunnels familiar from Hollywood movies - z.m..

New York - street chess - z.m. photo

New York - fire escape ladders

New York - Manhattan - street scene - z.m. photo

Background

New York from above - Elter photo

Destination in brief

Population (in 2020): 8.3 million-    32% White (Latinos not included), 29% Latino, 25% Black or African American, 14% Asian 

Average net monthly salary (in 2020): 5400 USD - (US average: 3600 USD)

New York City is home to the highest number of USD billionaires in the world: more than 90. 

In 2019 about 132,000 people slept in New York City's municipal shelter system.

Most common surname: Smith

Climate

“New York winters are no joke. And this isn’t rural America, where winter is only experienced during the ten steps between the house and the car door. In New York, you have to walk, and the decision you make at 9 a.m. about what to wear often matters right up until 9 p.m., whether you’re taking to the streets of the metropolis as a local resident or as a tourist. So, it’s worth thinking carefully about your clothes before you set off. In winter, the number of tourists decreases. On the open-top double-decker sightseeing buses, only one or two determined spectators take pictures with numb fingers. The otherwise fashionable Manhattan women are reminiscent of a shapeless potato bag as they try to get quickly from one heated place to another in their thick parkas and clunky boots. "

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““At the beginning of May it was already 30 degrees Celsius in New York, which I was pretty much prepared for (I didn’t take a jacket with me, for example), but there was one thing I wasn’t expecting: the humidity. There were times of day when the humidity in Manhattan was easily 80% – which makes sense: the air gets trapped between the skyscrapers. This relates to another culture shock: everywhere you go they blast the air-con as though each shop and restaurant is a cold-store. If you get cold easily, bring a sweater and tie it around your waist when you’re on the street.” (2018)

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"Americans and Europeans feel heat differently. We – with honorable exceptions – mostly feel good at home in temperatures around 20 degrees Celsius, while Americans are more comfortable at 17 degrees. That’s why the air conditioning is on everywhere from May to October, even when it’s 15 degrees outside and raining. In summer, it is difficult to get used to the contrast of 40 degrees outdoors and 17 degrees indoors. The ice cubes are part of the same phenomenon. Even in winter, despite the sub-freezing temperatures, if you ask for water in any cafe or restaurant they’ll put ice in it; life just isn’t worth living, it seems, without ice cubes.” (2019)


New York - rain - n.s. photo

History

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New York - Federal Hall at 26 Wall Street - Elter photo

New York - the Dakota building where John Lennon was murdered in 1980 - Elter photo

Nowadays

“Manhattan: a place where Arab sheiks compete with Russian oligarchs to buy millions of dollars in real estate without spending so much as a single night in the upmarket properties they buy, or perhaps even visiting them. That’s why the apartment buildings in the upscale section of Fifth Avenue are shrouded in such menacing darkness at night.
Money is what lives in these buildings, and it doesn’t need light in the evening. This means that pretty much everyone has moved out of the showcase city of Manhattan, especially those who don’t just measure life in terms of money, and that has made some districts of Brooklyn really wonderful and unique.” (2016)


New York - Manhattan - Park Avenue - b.a. photo

New York - middle-class area - b.a. photo

New York - lower middle-class flats - b.a. photo

New York - homeless - c.p. photo

New York - Wall Street sign - Elter photo

People

"When the conversation turns to New Yorks up in my presence, for some reason I always remember a 1987 American film Nuts. The hugely chaotic, unbridled protagonist, played by Barbra Streisand, is unjustly confined to a mental institution, but released at the end of the film, and barefoot, in her ugly, rough-textured overalls, she starts walking down Fifth Avenue in great delight at her freedom and sees people rushing by her on the crowded sidewalk. The film ends with Streisand's mocking smile, with the obvious message: “And they wanted to lock me away?” Of course, the street scene is very mixed, but besides a whole bunch of weird shapes, the majority in Manhattanites pretty much the same, with a lot of suits, and the restrained elegance of office ladies. Even the more unusual outfits blend in with the average overall. It seemed hard to surprise people in a hurry with anything. Things that surprise tourists are normal to them, which makes sense.


New York - pigeon man - f.c. photo

New York - writing notes in the Central Park - k.g. photo

Tourist etiquette

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New York - tourist etiquette - Poles are for your safety, not your latest routine - Hold the pole, not our attention - A subway car is no place for showtime - m.l. photo

Gastronomy

Cookies: Americans know four basic types of cookies: donuts, cupcakes, muffins, and pies. These all contain a whole lot of pastry and not a lot of filling, usually with the deception that 90 percent of the outwardly beautiful muffin is a sponge cake and only 10 percent is the icing. When my American colleague proudly said “I baked today” I tasted the scariest cake of my life, and only managed to choke out a polite “tastes great!” Bone-dry pastry, concentrated, colored sugar — that’s as much as I know. Americans measure the tastiness of a cake exclusively by its level of sweetness: sweet is good, and sweeter is always better. I know now why “white sugar kills” ads have to be printed everywhere. Also, the half muffin alongside the undrinkable coffee is a killer."



Attractions

Times Square

New York - Manhattan - Times Square - d.p. photo

Times Square by night - b.a. photo

New York - Times Square - Elter photo

New York - Times Square - sisterly strangulation

New York - Times Square - these semi-nude girls are not participants of a carnival, but pose for photos in exchange for tips - Elter photo

Statue of Liberty

New York - Statue of Liberty - f.t. photo

New York - Statue of Liberty - m.d. photo

New York - Statue of Liberty - Elter photo

Empire State Building

New York - Empire State Building - Elter photo

New York - Consider the risk before you visit Empire State Building - Elter photo

New York Metropolitan Museum

New York - Metropolitan Museum - z.m. photo

New York Metropolitan Museum - Man with a lollipop by Pablo Picasso - z.m. photo


Central Park

New York - Central Park - b.a. photo

New York - Central Park - b.a. photo

New York - Central Park - b.a. photo

New York - Central Park - b.a. photo

New York - Central Park - b.a. photo

New York - Central Park Strawberry Fields Memorial - the man tries to imagine how long he can squat - Elter photo

Some skyscrapers

New York - Rockefeller Center - Elter photo

New York - skyscrapers of Manhattan - Elter photo

New York - MetLife Building (former Pan Am HQ)

Bridges

New York - Brooklyn Bridge - Elter photo - Elter photo

Museums

New York - Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum - Elter photo

Ground Zero&Freedom Tower

New York - Ground Zero - Elter photo

New York - Freedom Tower - Elter photo

Historic buildings

New York - Federal Hall - Elter photo

United Nations

New York - Headquarters of the United Nations - Elter photo

New York - sculpture of The Knotted Gun (or Non-Violence) at the United Nations building - Elter photo

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