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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A NY Education

During my five busy days in NYC, I learned a few things:
  • The cacophony of honking and sirens actually blends into the background after a day or two, and you get used to it.
  • As a pedestrian in this city, it's just as important to watch out for bikes as for cars when you cross the street. I witnessed some brazen bike riders narrowly miss having accidents.
  • The Met is so overwhelmingly large that it's best digested over a few visits. I suggest using a targeted approach to seeing what interests you most, as seeing all six floors in one visit can be time consuming.
  • There are many more private vehicles on the streets of NY than I was expecting.
  • NY is a high end shopper's paradise.
  • The weather can be sporadic - during my trip it varied from overcast and humid the first day to a torrential downpour with thunder and lightning the following afternoon. Then, the next day it was sunny and warm, and finally, it was cool, cloudy and windy.
  • There are tons of sample sales taking place all the time.
  • Taxis are clean, quick, and relatively affordable.
  • The subway is clean, quick, and very affordable. The subway stations (when compared to the tube in London) leave something to be desired, and the signage can be misleading for first-time visitors. Trains come every few minutes, so you never have to wait long.
  • For budget shoppers, the biggest Forever 21 is located at Union Square, and the biggest H&M is located on the north side of 34th St. at Herald Square.
  • The selection of international fashion magazines at various newsstands is mind boggling.
  • It's possible to walk the average NYC city block in about a minute.
  • Everybody jaywalks and seem to be in a hurry, even tourists.
  • While the city may feel large, it's geographically quite small.
  • Everyone drives in the "bus only" lane.
  • The new Topshop store in SoHo is much smaller than the Oxford St. flagship in London, but larger than other Topshop locations I've shopped in Europe.
  • Occasionally, some of the customer service people that you may encounter in the city can be impatient, less than friendly, and offer up a heavy dose of attitude. It's quite a contrast to the warm, laid-back attitudes I encountered in my travels to Australia years ago.
  • You can buy anything from ties and umbrellas to fruit smoothies and peacock feather headbands from the many street vendors.
  • Overall, it's the most energetic and vibrant city I've visited, although I barely scratched the surface of what NY has to offer.