My Big Apple Exposure
So I had the pleasure to spend three weeks in New York City. And I wanted to share what I’ve experienced and some of my lessons learned. This wasn’t my first trip to the city that never sleeps, I came a very long time ago on a field trip believe it or not. I didn’t understand a lot of the complexities of the city this time I got the full frontal for sure.
The first thing I’ll say about the town is honestly, it’s not as big and scary as I was lead to believe. One thing that did remain a constant in my talks with the natives was that you just don’t go past 100th street. There are also some pockets along each coast of the island that might be wise to avoid. But overall, most everyone that I met was pretty normal and nice. Go figure right? Folks reading this that are from the city or work there, you’ve got to understand there are reputations that are mostly false but that we have all heard from the outside looking in.
Everyone is in a hurry though, there are very distinct separations between tourist’s and locals. If they are walking slow, looking around chances are, they are tourists. Everyone that is in the city has a very specific purpose to every motion they make. I spent a lot of time shadowing one of my clients for lunch and such. He’s about the same height as me. Even he walked at a serious pace, I had a hard time keeping up. So if you don’t want to look out of place, walk quickly and have a purpose.
I noted to my wife that New York is the kind of place I would enjoy if I go full force urbanite. And I still think that is the case. There is a lot to see and do, bars and restaurants everywhere. Side note, Heartland Brewery on 52nd street between 6th and 7th ave has the best oatmeal stout I have had in my entire life. Worth checking out for sure. My heart is still in the country side though.
So here are some lessons learned I’ve picked up in the three weeks:
1. Don’t make too much fun of Jersey, most people in the city live in Jersey
2. When the red flashing hand on the cross walk turns solid red, you better damn well be off that street or you will get hit or at very least, a horn in your ear bone.
3. When you are pulling your luggage around the street, take heed to lesson learned number 2 or you will lose your bags.
4. I can’t confirm but I’ve been told by a few locals, don’t use credit cards at the street vendors, otherwise you’ll have a few hundred calling cards charged to your account.
5. Walking on the street is CUT THROAT! You need to put on a face and walk from point A to point B without giving up as much ground as possible. Don’t be afraid to bump or get pumped, it just happens.
6. People do not pay attention while walking most are buried in their phones, heads up
7. Taxi drivers are INSANE! But in a good way, its an adventure when you get in the cab every time. There were spaces that a bicycle wouldn’t fit through that somehow my cabbie got through
8. IMO I wouldn’t drive through NYC, especially in a nice car, there are NO LINES in the street. Well there are but they are a mere formality
9. Watch out for puddles, you will get wet.
10. Don’t wear new dress shoes when visiting, you will kill your feet. They break in fast but it hurts like hell.
11. It takes a little while to understand how the grid is laid out. Ave’s for the most part run up and down horizontally through the island, streets run laterally. Most people give cross street references when taking a cab, or they say something like “Madison Ave between 58th and 59th on the right side”. That means I want to I want to be let off on the right side of the street in the middle of the block between 58th street and 59th street. You pick that up quickly.
12. Be cool, have fun and be confident. It’s not as scary as it sounds, it was actually a lot of fun seeing some of the sites. I’m not a big man made modern sights kinda guy but I enjoyed some of the few things I got out to see.
13. “Cash Cab’s” cab number is 7N78, he’s followed by a newer white Ford van (chrome grill) and works mostly out of the lower middle to west side. I will find you Ben Baily and I will win all your glorious cabbie bucks goodness!
14. Bring an umbrella, or buy one from one of the 50,000 people hustling them on the corner when it rains. Why you ask? Re-Read #5 then imagine if all those people had umbrella’s with little pointy metal things just waiting to sail through your eye! An umbrella is the only good defense against a hoard of other conspiring umbrellas!
15. When its near the end of a work day, cabs are getting off too, some are leaving the city some are coming into the city. So if you want to get a cab quickly, walk to the the street that is pointing in the direction you’re ultimately going in. If you are going south and you are on a one way street pointing north, its possible that all the cabs are there leaving town and the only way you’ll get a ride is if you are going in that direction. It took me 3 cabs pulling away from me while I’m in the middle of the street to figure that one out.