(this was written in september '08)
this city is HOT. i would happily give up my sneakers and wear halters and shorts like everyone here. i will, too :) today though i was stupid enough to wear black and with the amount of walking you do here...
everyone wears flats. no hotties in high heels. yaay! :)
the new york subway is dirty and in parts, smelly. the people are friendly enough, although definitely preoccupied; it took me a while to look around for someone who wasn't striding purposefully towards the turnstiles. but theyre friendly; once you ask a question they wait till you've understood and followed through :) an adorable old black man got me to 125th street station, where i was headed to sign my lease agreement.
new york - or atleast, manhattan (which is all you need to know of new york for a long time) - is neatly gridded and divided east/west and uptown/downtown, by avenues and streets. columbia stretches from 110th - 124th streets; 110th is the upper boundary of the upper west side and 125th is in much maligned harlem; and you can tell there is a distinct difference in neighborhoods.
where i am staying is way down in 34th street; home of the empire state and time square, haven of much of commoditised america. going from 34th to morningside (the columbia neighborhood) is like moving to another city altogether... downtown is all bustling streets and shopping malls; morningside is .. green, and quiet, and almost as pretty as london (but not quite :) )...
the average american is so jhalla. i used to be intimidated by the average woman on london's streets; here everyone is in shorts and tshirts and chappals. sarojini maal :) clothes are cheap here, too. the latinas are the only well dressed ones :) theyre pretty sexy. the train i took - the 1 train - goes all the way up to 205th street. way into harlem and spanish territory.
the new york subway, like everyone else in new york, isnt tolerant of mistakes. when i took the uptown train (ending up going further north) instead of the downtown on my way back, i had to get out of the station completely, cross the road and take a train backwards, paying another 2bucks in the process. the london tube on the other hand - you pay a flat fee going into the station and you can take as many transfers, as many changes backward and forward. the money is deducted only once you swipe your card getting out of the station finally.
i wonder what that says about the nyc vs continental mentalities.
but it really was worth it, the extra two bucks, cos after 125th street the subway is overground!! :)
i feel so lucky to be able to compare two of the most awesome cities in the world! :)
getting out on 125th street i go towards 119th where the office is; a short 10 minute walk that is surprisingly - uphill! who wdve thought new york is hilly?? the buildings are beautiful and ivy clad as i move towards the campus. hot dog stands everywhere; people on morningside park having lunch. fountains.
people are nosy and not as stand-offish as you may have thought - as i did! ..new yorkers are nice! i was going around clicking pics and this black guy smiles and says hope youre getting a good collection today :) ...people are busy but they smile and say sorry if they bump into you. havent seen any of that aggression.. not yet anyway :)