Thursday, 28 February 2013

New York - the good, the bad

Taking to the big apple for the fourth time is when you begin to get a greater understanding of how this city operates and the mentality of New Yorkans. I always make comparisons to London - and as two major global cosmopolitan cities its no wonder - and really begins to dissect their differences.

Coffee shops - the chillax
Both cities are fast-paced yet the attitudes of residents are somewhat different. Firstly lets take the age old coffee shop, whether its the Starbucks on every street corner or the humble independent one thing is for certain - don't expect to be welcomed to come sit and chillax in New York! Limited seating, lack of real coffee cups, no couches or comfortable arm chairs and many don't have plug points for charging laptops or phones. Styled so you are in and out as quick as possible - you don't stop to enjoy coffee, you run to neck coffee in NYC. This so goes for the bars, high stools and limiting seating again - almost encourages people to come and go, losing any sense of commitment to any venue. In fact the only I found plush seating areas are in hotel lobbies - here the atmosphere thrives as business people, tourists and locals all fight to rest their bums and simply take time from the fast-paced city live.

So fast-paced is NYC that it seems the waiting staff get a little 'pissed' if you don't know what you are ordering within 5 minutes of seating. In fact of 4 meals I had over the past week I felt obligated to make a rushed decision for the sake of my waiter, no sooner had I ordered was I eating and then being ushers with evil eyes out of the restaurant. There's nothing like enjoying a relaxed meal! In fact I was in Williamsberg on my last day, in a busy coffee shop for brunch, we ordered the bill and I nearly fell off my chair when the waitress said "take your time"

The subway - don't get caught out like i did:
1 - you can top up a metro card, don't lose those remaining dollars
2 - beware, if you miss you stop you may not be able to simply cross over to the other track, it may well be another fee to return 1-2 stops
3 - check that you're on the right train and that train stops at the stop you need. Like the A,C,E trains are in the same tricks but they all don't stop at every track
The great thing about the NYC metro is that it is 24-hour, but what I now appreciate about London are the new trains, looked after tube stations and ongoing upgrade work that does make the system much better regardless of the disturbance it can cause.
OMG - in my best American twang - there are NO motorbikes in NYC! Nor bicycles. Ok, there are the odd one but having gone Vespa mad in Vietnam, and regularly dodging speeding scooters in London, NYC is devoid of the vroom that's actually missed.

Check out the differences in business in my next post!

What are you experiences of NYC vs London?