Thursday, May 30, 2013

New York City for the first time: Part 1 - Expectations and Surprises

We decided to go to New York City. We arrived on the 1. of  May and we stayed for a week. It was our first time in NYC and first time in the USA at all. That's why I want to share my experience, thoughts and how it surprised me with parks in the middle of the city and its cultural richness.

I thought that NY is something like a big Paris but without  the nice architecture. I didn't like Paris so I thought that NY is even worse. Big dirty city full of stressed people who are hurrying somewhere all the time. But I said OK, let's go and check it out.

After our arrival I found out that I was quite wrong...When we traveled from airport to our accommodation trough the whole Brooklyn and Manhattan I elbowed Daniel and asked him, if he knew, that there are so many black people. I knew that there are many black people in America, but I really didn't know it's this many. Surprise No. 1.

Something about our accommodation. We booked a room at a "bed and breakfast" in Harlem, Manhattan.
This place has only 6 rooms and one small dining room, where you can experience a family atmosphere and eat great homemade cookies. I really liked the Victorian era style of the rooms. I recommend this place for  staying in NY. Here is their website

On the first day we planned to go to camera store to buy Daniel a new camera. And the surprise No. 2 was waiting for me there. It was a really big store and they were closed on Saturday but open on Sunday. Guess why. The employees were about 90% Jews. I don't know why, you don't see them in other shops, but here. It was quite funny.

About that cleanliness of this city. The city is not dirty at all. OK it isn't Zurich, but really, the subway and streets were quite clean. So that marks surprise No. 3. Although we heard, that during the summer it gets much worse.

Surprise No. 4: People. They didn't look so stressed, actually they looked relaxed and they were really friendly. We expected something what is normal in touristic destinations in Europe. People shouting at you buy this, you need to have this... and they talk to you only when they want to sell something. Of course you can find those people in NY too, but just a few. We were in many shops and we talked with people just about normal stuff and they kept talking to us regardless whether  we bought something or not. We were looking into the map on the street and people just stopped and asked if we needed help.
Another surprise about people was, that they are not that fat. Actually you can find so many restaurants or fast foods only with salads or low carb food and you can eat your lunch in one of many parks in the city. Funny is, that there are many squirrels in these parks and they are not timid at all.

This is the first part of our trip to NY. I will come back with the second part about our insights and with the third part about useful information and must visit places off the beaten path.

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