New York, New York
My first visit to the Big Apple was in 1961 with the family on vacation. We stayed at The New Yorker hotel across from Penn Station, saw a filming of The Price is Right, and toured the usual tourist sights - the Statue of Liberty, Rockefeller Center, Empire State, and Times Square. My dad took my brothers and I to a Yankees baseball game.
In 1972, I went on a Study Tour with Advertising, Theater, and Public Relations majors from the University of Texas. We stayed in the Century Paramount Hotel which was later remodeled by Ian Schrager into a boutique hotel.
During the 1970s, I took several trips to New York while working with the Pressman Company to produce and market the Round Backgammon Board.
While teaching at the Visual & Performing Arts High School in Dallas, I took a great group of kids to see the Big Apple. That got me hooked on guiding student Study Tours to the city.
At UCO and OSU, I continued the tours with college students.
During each of over 20 trips to the Big Apple, I would comment on how much I would like to live there. So, in 2004, I bought an apartment in New York City.
Why I love NY
The best of the best
Some of the best museums, theater, art, architecture, music, restaurants, parks, design, neighborhoods, shopping, and historical sites in the country. People who strive to be/do the best often make a pilgrimage for New York City. The high standard seems to encourage a level of excellence unmatched almost anywhere else in the world.
Intellectual reasonable people
New York seems to contain a greater percentage of people who operate more on reason and rational thought than feelings or beliefs. Sophisticated, respectful, civil (New Yorkers rarely butt in line), and educated; New Yorkers like to linger over meals or coffee and converse about issues and ideas. The influx of people (see below) and quality (see above) may foster more of a desire and thirst for rational and tolerant discourse. They seem to be more 'fluid' - they can adapt and flow with their environment.
People from all over the planet, sharing their cultures, recipes, neighborhoods, ideas, and festivals enhances the environment and experiences of all New Yorkers and tourists.
The city is one of the major cities on the planet. It is connected and part of the larger world - what happens in NYC often impacts much of the world.
There are so many layers of cultural, visual, and intellectual stimuli. Overlapping. Lives overlapping - words, glances, colors, here and there, each touching us in a different way.
The physical size, the importance, the architecture, and the robust in-your-face attitudes.
The beginnings of the USA - financial, cultural, commercial. George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Washington Square, Stock exchange, World's Fairs, Prohibition, art, Bowling Green, Battery Park, Fraunces Tavern, theater, and on and on - years of richness.
The excitement of the sights, sounds, people, and activities contribute to a fluid momentum of energy and enthusiasm. Clerks, waiters, deli people - among others - all have a sense of speed, efficiency, and hustle.
Opportunities to enlarge oneself
The city makes it easy to expand one's horizons, experience new phenomena, grow and learn; assuming one wants to.
Touching the natural world
Ships on Hudson Bay, the waves, birds, the parks - there are numerous opportunities to connect with nature, even in the big metropolis.
Well-known and familiar icons - Empire State, Carnegie Hall, Times Square, the Met, the Statue, Central Park - help one connect to a shared heritage.
The vastness of the city allows endless opportunities to set out on adventures, to find new things, to discover people, places, and activities. True experiences of serendipity - finding the unexpected, the spontaneous.
As a result of the above, the city is full of creative and intellectual stimuli.
A few things to work on
New York City is a great town, no doubt about it. But (there's always a but) here are some suggestions that would make it even better.
Less horn honking
Gee whiz - most honks are completely useless. Just obnoxious and of no value. The honkee is usually stuck - that driver can do nothing about the situation, and the honker is not making things any better. Horns should be reserved for courtesy calls - reminders, caution - or for emergencies. Honking is so prevalent that many people tune them out and when, like the boy who cried wolf, it is really crucial, they would be less effective.
I suggest we initiate devices in all vehicles with three different options for honking a horn:
1. A siren sound that would be used only for true emergencies - it would command the most respect in the surrounding reception area. It could be the sound of a person screaming - as a warning of danger.
2. A brief, friendly toot - this would be used to alert pedestrians and other drivers of a situation that needs attention, like caution, watch out, etc. This would command courtesy and consideration. It could even be like the sound of a person doing the Ahem cough to get attention or Psst - something more human, courteous, and less intrusive.
3. An electric shock - used when the driver is just being rude or stupid or needs to show some power and superiority. The strength of the shock would diminish as the driver gets conditioned to stop being so stupid and rude. This would replace 95% of all honks in the city.
When clerks bag food items, they put in a whole stack of napkins and lots of condiments. I once asked for 2 packets of salt and got a handful. A handful of pepper, too. On the Staten Island Ferry one morning, I ordered 1 breakfast sandwich and 1 bottle of water. The cashier grabbed some napkins. I sat down to eat and counted the napkins - 25. Yes, 25 napkins for 2 items. I got home and wrote a letter to the Dept of Transportation suggesting they could save money and help the environment by giving 2 napkins per food item bought, not 25 napkins per food item. Cutting back on these freebies would cut back on the amount of materials to be thrown away. I have found this one to be true all over the USA but especially pronounced in Manhattan.
There's a lot of trash everywhere - even when there is a trash can within easy walking distance. I often stoop down and pick up trash and put it in the next trash can (granted there are less trash cans around now since some people have become more paranoid that a terrorist will put a bomb in one) but there are still enough around. I do it partly to make the city look better, partly to set an example and show how easy it is, and partly to stupefy the natives. Imagine how great the city would look if every one of 8 million people picked up just one piece of litter each day.
Holy cow! New Yorkers seem to bitch about any little thing. "Fireworks over our head were too loud." "Trucks driving down my street." The examples go on and on. Get a grip - life in the big city will have some tribulations. I don't know if its cuz New Yorkers are spoiled and coddled, are really fragile, or just like to participate in the national sport of bitchin'.