Everything is Ridiculous in New York City: Travel Impressions

Canada Day morning, after sleeping off the lingering exhaustion from New York City, I woke up and made a pot of coffee. I spread out the NY Times I brought back from the trip, turned the
TV on low, and curled up in my pyjamas. I found it difficult to imagine just a day earlier, I was battling the crowd at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Even New York City Hotels are chaotic.

New York City was pretty well what I expected: chaos. People moving, cars speeding, flashing lights. I loved every second of it, but damn, I do appreciate a quiet morning.

Found in a bathroom stall somewhere. Sums it up.

Found in a bathroom stall somewhere. Sums it up.

I jotted down some impressions of NYC while on the plane.

A short walk in NYC is never a short walk – Now, whenever I’ll hear someone say, “Oh, it’s just a few blocks away” my pupils will dilate and I’ll shudder. “A few blocks” always turned into a 20 minute trek, which is difficult when you’re being stifled by the heat and you’ve slept for 3 hours the night before.

Don’t walk in the bike path –
Oh man, people yell.

The man population is phenomenal –
My ginger roots did a lot for me. While at Mason Dixon, I went to observe the mechanical bull and was approached by two men within five minutes, then swamped by a bachelor party. One dude even called me when I got back to Canada. His name was Tony, and he had an impressive Jersey accent. It could have been fate.

Wheres Alec Baldwin when I need him?

Where’s Alec Baldwin when I need him?

NYC is not as expensive as I predicted –

I didn’t do any shopping, and other than the hotel and flight expenses, I spent under $400. Food was a bit pricey after not having to pay for it at the conference all week, but pub-hopping was awesome and most places had sweet specials.

Yeah, I’ve come to gauge how expensive a city is by how much the beer costs.

People are NICE! –
Other than the dude that yelled at me on the Brooklyn Bridge, everyone was amazing. Cailin and I were sitting on a bench at the Staten Island ferry terminal, when the guys next to us just struck up a big conversation and asked us a million questions about Drake, a Canadian hip-hop star. They also wanted to party with us, but we declined. We’re VIP, fool.

Being anonymous is awesome –
Around here, everyone knows me. I usually duck my head while running through downtown St. John’s, rarely do I ever face traffic head on. NYC is entirely different: nobody gives a shit who you are. I find this soothing.

Everything is vertical –
There’s a Newfie joke that goes something like How can you tell somebody is a Newfie in New York City? The roof of their mouth is sunburned. Fairly accurate, I think. I’ve never seen such perfect use of space.

Sleep is for chumps – Some fellow bloggers wanted me to see Times Square at night, so we headed there after the opening night party on Friday. The crowd density was pretty much exactly the same as during the afternoon; mothers even pushed their children in strollers.

Times Square by night

Times Square by night

Also witnessed one woman pushing her kids down the road on a hotel luggage trolley. Not sure why that didn’t strike me as strange the first time around.

This was also my first time visiting the U.S.A. Conclusion? NYC might be the epicentre of the universe.

  • July 06 2010

    Dear Candice,

    I am sorry we missed each other. You got all the right 1st impressions. My hope is that you will visit again so I can show you a quiet morning (after all, I write a column over at my website called Still Sundays) and a much, slower pace and a neighborhood where everyone knows your name.

    Great pictures and glad you were such a good sport. :)



  • July 06 2010

    Having “done” Beijing and Bangkok, I was actually really underwhelmed with NYC. But I wish I had more time to see sites.

    • August 20 2010

      NYC metro is bigger population-wise than Bangkok (and at least as big as Beijing)and much more impressive with its canyons. Underwhelming? Sounds like you went during the cold, quieter months…

      • August 22 2013

        Bangkok is much vaster than NYC. It’s a sprawling third world city in Asia, of course it’s going to be more urban and hectic. Have you been to Tokyo? The city is 5 times bigger than NYC, there are neighborhoods with blocks and blocks like 42nd street, and the flood of people during rush our is incessant. You’ll feel like you’re going back to Boise, ID after returning from Tokyo.

  • July 06 2010

    I was so sorry to miss TBEX! I really enjoyed reading your impressions of NYC — I’ve lived here my whole life and I love hearing what people think of my little old hometown. I’m glad you thought that New Yorkers were nice — our rude reputation is definitely undeserved, although sometimes our brusqueness can be misinterpreted as rude. I’m chuckling over the “just a few blocks” — we walk a lot here, so a half-mile or whole mile is not a big deal. But we also always underestimate distance, and that’s my excuse for chronic lateness.

    • July 11 2010

      I discussed how nice people are with another native New Yorker, who said that the attitude towards tourists is generally pretty welcoming because we’re refreshing to see! Haha. Totally did not encounter a single rude person, other than the dude who yelled at me to get off the bike path, which was my own fault. Love the city!

  • July 07 2010

    Haha! Yes, sleep IS for chumps! I’m a chump. :( Damn my 10 hour work days.

    So glad to hear you had a blast in NYC. Too bad we missed each other. Let me know when you are coming back again.

    • July 11 2010

      Agreed! So sad. Will you be in Vancouver?

  • July 07 2010

    NY to me doesn’t appear to be much different from most othre big cities around the world with the exception that the buildings seem to be more densely populated and close to each other, it must be quite dark on the streets?

    • July 11 2010

      Not at all! I thought about that too, but it was bright and sunny the whole time. There’s just a different vibe there, it’s very…unique. Yeah, that’s all I got.

  • July 07 2010

    Yes, NYers tend to feel they are very much the epicenter of the universe. Everything else is just…not there. In that way, it can be an oddly provincial place. I’d say it’s the real main fault of people here.

    But it is one of the friendliest places in the world. And for NYers, a 20 minute walk is just a little walk! You get crazy exercise here, even in 100 degree heat.

    In response to what other people said about NY being underwhelming or no different than other cities, I’d counter that. NY is not the busiest or most populated, but what is truly overwhelming about it are the thousands of worlds within it. I’ve lived in places in BK where the guy working at the corner store — who’s spent his entire life here — doesn’t know english. I’ve met people in Queens who’ve been to Manhattan once in their life. No joke. You could spend your whole life discovering this place.

    Love your title, Candice. It is truly the city of ridiculous things. Ever go to the site Overheard in NY? That is NY to a T.

    • July 11 2010

      Oh wow, that is impressive! Kinda crazy. And I agree, it’s hard to define anything as uniquely New York (reminds me of the tongue twister from elementary school — unique New York), but that’s what makes it so unique…? And I LOVE Overheard in NY, one of my all-time favourite sites.

  • July 07 2010

    Aaaahhhh… you keep making me want to go back! But I have so many places on my to visit list! ;P

  • July 07 2010

    first time in the US of A? well congratulations! sounds like you had a favorable first impression. i want to visit, so i’m glad to hear it’s not as expensive as one might think.

    • July 11 2010

      Hehe yeah, so many people were surprised when I told them that! Had a blast!

  • July 07 2010

    NY is a pretty impressive city. I agree with Simone, I think that’s the coolest part about it how many different cultures there are in NYC, it’s hard to find a make-up like that anywhere else.

    • July 11 2010

      Totally, I noticed the blend of cultures a lot. It’s not very common around here at ALL.

  • July 07 2010

    I totally agree with you on the whole “short walk” thing….”couple of blocks, you say?” HA! But I did find the people of NYC to be very nice also – also very helpful when it came to riding the subway – quite a few of them helped keep me from getting totally lost! :-)

    • July 11 2010

      Hahaha yeah, Cailin and I were standing on the subway when she broke out in a weird heat rash from all the sun, and a stranger sitting next to us expressed so much sympathy it was kinda ridiculous. So nice.

  • July 07 2010

    Hi Candace! This is my first time commenting on your blog – your impressions of my dear city have compelled me. I agree with Simone 100% – living in New York City is like living everywhere in the world at the same time. You can travel to 4 different countries in a span of three blocks in the East Village: food shopping at Dual Specialty (India), lunch at Caracas (Venezuela), Drinks at Zum Schneider (Germany), dinner at Kafana (Serbia). Not to mention the troves of ethnic enclaves in the outer boroughs. I love this article: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/29/nyregion/29lost.html

    • July 11 2010

      Dammit, you’re all just making me wish I had much, much longer in the city!! Hahaha. There’s still so much left to do!

  • July 08 2010
    eyen amos

    oh candice this is a nice piece you have got about the big apple. life there from what i learnt is fast and only the tough thrives there. your pictures are fab; they seem to portray the city in a way that will make anyone want to dive into it. the way you immersed into the yonkers life is electric. that bathroom that have that statement that became your title caption. an excellent piece!

    • July 11 2010

      Thanks so much! It’s funny what kinda inspiration strikes when you’re sitting on the can, right? Hahaha. Such a ridiculous trip, so awesome.

  • July 08 2010

    Great observations, Candice. I agree that New Yorkers are nicer than their reputation would have you believe. I even saw people (occasionally) get up to let others sit on the subway, something I’d been led to believe never happens in NYC. “The roof of their mouth is sunburned”–LOL. I’m going to remember that one.

    • July 11 2010

      Absolutely! My parents were so freaked out when i told them I was going there to meet a bunch of strangers, haha. They were like, “But you’ll get shot!” Right.

  • July 08 2010

    It was great hanging out with you!! Totally agree with “sleeping is for chumps” I think we might have been trying for a record there for a few days :) and that there are no short walks! But then I found out that it takes 20 blocks (can’t remember if it was streets or Ave) to make a mile…it just seems longer in the city somehow..

    Hope to hang out with you again soon!

    • July 11 2010

      Vancouver 2011 baby! Apartment rental!

  • July 09 2010

    Love the observations! I love NYC, but can only handle the crowds for a couple days at a time.

    • July 11 2010

      Yep! Not sure how I’d function there long-term.

  • July 11 2010

    Oh! You have made me even more excited for my upcoming NYC trip in 3 weeks! I love my city of birth :)

  • December 11 2010

    Hi Candice!

    I just found your blog and I just love hearing what people have to say about NYC. I live here so I’m a little partial. And I’m glad you found the people nice- I love it here but one of my biggest problems is I find a lot of people too aggressive so I’m glad you got to experience the nice New Yorkers!

    • December 13 2010

      Thanks for commenting, Danee! People were outrageously friendly to me, other than on the Brooklyn Bridge, hahaha. I want to come visit again!

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