New York City: Likes and Dislikes

What I like about New York

The incredible diversity of the city. There are so many ethnicities and subcultures! My neighborhood has a Brazilian, Greek, Arab, and Italian population. Take the subway a couple stops and you’ll be in a neighborhood where all the signs are in Korean. Dive into the tunnels again, and pop up in an area where you’re the only light-skinned person in sight. And no matter what “type” of person you are – high-powered executive, vegan rastafarian, fashionista clubbing addict, hip-hop junkie, Orthodox Jew, college student, whatever – you’ll almost certainly find others (probably many others) of your kind here.

This diversity exists not just in people, but also in activities. Anything you might possibly  be interested in is available. Got some free time to kill? Spend the afternoon in a museum. Want to take someone out for a special occasion? Do a nice dinner and a Broadway show. Looking to try something new? You can join a writing club, take belly-dancing lessons, learn how to speak French or play guitar. It is impossible to be bored here! Seriously, if you’re bored in NYC, you have a problem.

There’s no need to own a car… between subways, buses, taxis, and living practically at walking distance from an international airport, I’m covered. Saves me thousands a year in gas, maintenance, and insurance. Not to mention parking headaches :-p

Proximity to my family: besides a few in NC and CA, pretty much all of my relatives live in NY, NJ, CT, and PA. After being so far away from everyone for so long, this is really nice.

Unlike São Carlos, where parks consisted of concrete, landscaped with concrete, and embellished with concrete (and maybe a bronze statue for extra extravagance), New York has some parks that are quite nice. Central Park is an oasis in the middle of Manhattan, and there are numerous others throughout the boroughs.

IMHO, outside of Brazil, New York is the place to be for capoeira. I doubt that you’ll find a non-Brazilian city with a greater number and diversity of styles and groups.

What I dislike about New York

The impatient, snobby, standoffish, bitchy attitude that some New Yorkers have. I know, I know, it’s not true of everyone, but let me just say that New York seems to have an especially high concentration of people with a chip on their shoulder. Rudeness is almost considered a  characteristic of the city, a part of the New York “cool.” I can understand why though: it is a fast-paced and cutthroat city. Subways come every 2 minutes. Everyone’s always rushing everywhere. New York is a hub for some of the most competitive professions – acting, music, journalism, fashion, business – in which it’s every man (or woman) for himself/herself.  So either the city attracts people who tend to be rushed, materialistic, and self-centered, or else it makes them that way.

THE SMOKE. I think I’ve inhaled more second-hand smoke in 2 months in NY than I did in my entire 15 in Brazil. Just from all the people puffing along as they walk down the sidewalk, or standing outside their building producing their own personal pollution cloud. What, the air in the city isn’t dirty enough for you? It’s disgusting. It bothers my eyes, nose, and throat, and I sure as heck don’t want to hasten my death because of someone else’s stupid choice.