New York City

See also: CapitalOfTheWorld, NewYorkCityCulturalAssumption

To some, NYC is TheCity.

New York City is really a collection of cozy small towns.

Each neighborhood in New York City is almost completely autonomous and composed of small privately owned businesses much like the small towns across America were probably like before the sterile mega stores moved in. Almost everything you need to live is no more than a 15 minute walk away. People who reside in these neighborhoods recognize one another and there can be a strong and affectionate feeling of community amongst the residents.

New York City is a warm and friendly place once you have established yourself in your neighborhood a bit. I can walk down the street in my neighborhood and say hi to the corner store guy, or the dry cleaning guy, or the flower shop girl, or the coffee shop girl, or the pizzaman or twenty other people I know from the shops, all who work at the small businesses. After living in the neighborhood of Gramercy Park for more than four years I probably know over a hundred people by sight simply by repeatedly encountering them when walking in my neighborhood. I love animals and there are a few people who I have gotten to know by always stopping to pet their dogs when they are out walking them.

I remember walking home Christmas Eve at 230am in the morning. I passed by someone on the street and called out "Merry Christmas". He in turn said very jovially and warmly "And a Merry Christmas to you !". That was one of the many times I had a lump in my throat from how grateful and happy I am to be living in a city with such friendly, interesting, adventurous, intelligent and unique people.

I love New York !

-- RodneyRyan?

In spite of this, it can be very intimidating to the casual visitor, perhaps just on account of the immensity and the busy-ness of the place. -a casual visitor

A lot of that is because casual visitors go to places that are very busy and intimidating like Times Square, Rockefeller Center, the Theater District etc. If you go where New Yorkers actually live, it is still busy but much less intimidating. I totally agree with being able to get to know the people in your neighborhood. I know vastly more shopkeepers and such personally in NYC than I ever did in North Carolina. -AndyPierce (on the upper-upper east side / lower east Harlem)

One of the advantages of New York City for a software developer is the abundance of user groups. If one were so inclined one could visit a different group every night of the month. My favorite is the ExtremeProgramming group XpNewYorkCity. -- AdamWildavsky (Jackson Heights, Queens)

I'm not a native of NYC, but whenever I visit, I find New Yorkers to be very polite and friendly. Many visitors don't recognize the behavior as such because they don't understand that the politeness and friendliness is based upon principles that make sense for a large, crowded, diverse, busy community: I find it to be a refreshing change from the slow pace and unfocused behavior of people in the South. (It's not that I don't find the South charming; I just find the contrast interesting.)

-- KrisJohnson (Duluth, Georgia)

New York somehow seems very compact from the air (almost compressed) a microcosm of the world yet infinite in history and experiences. Coming in a cab from the airport you see a wall of glass sunset makes a mosaic of colours. Times Square strangely symmetrical (triangle intersections both north and south sometimes you don't know which way you are looking. Everytime you go to times square there seem to be more lights and screens. Only place I've seen where people do somersaults on the subway (buskers). Wall Street seems smaller than you imagined before seeing it the first time. World Trade Center seemed bigger than you could imagine. Having a drink at the top some years ago it seemed like you could see the whole world, so many lights below. Now there seems like a black hole took everything away but the city is not just its buildings, but its people and it will survive and be greater. Often think when there of the Carpathia docking with the survivors after Titanic, Hindenburg across in New Jersey, there is sadness and struggle as well as excitement of the great city. But someone once said, whatever "it" is, the cities that have got "it" for sure are London, Paris and of course, NY. Chrysler and Empire State look just as impressive especially walking up to them. New Hayden Planetarium is amazing, they serve wine and cheese on the first level. One display said Andromeda and Milky Way are on a collision course - a revelation as you would find in NY. Some interesting places - Chumley's a speakeasy where Hemmingway liked to go. Delmonaco's where MarkTwain celebrated his birthday. Anywhere in Greenwich Village. De Niro has a small establishment in Tribeca forget what it's called but food was great. Some other place nearby with Statue of liberty spikes sticking out of it again can't recall the name but nice decor and some kind of green glass wall theme upstairs that was hypnotic. Elaine's in the upper east side. Walk down from the Haydn back to Time's square many nice restaurants and lounges along the way. Always notice the little trapdoors in front where goods are unloaded. Went to a great Indian place once that street seemed to be nothing but Indian eateries [it must have been 6th St. between 1st & 2nd Aves.] we chose the one with two musicians playing citars in a small window - a unique experience. In the Metropolitan Museum you forget you are in a big city. To see the Vermeers after reading that he may have used a CameraObscura? to paint made them more amazing - almost like a photograph from hundreds of years ago. The Met has rooms full of his work. In the Guggenhiem always remember trying to guess the name of the abstract art before looking at the tags. It's more surreal because the museum itself was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright - itself a work of art with its expanding spiral. A city that's part of America but connected to so many places and times one favourite picture is of the Statue of Liberty while still in Paris in the 1800's When Edison first turned electricity on in lower Manhattan and a worker telegraphed his associate in London UK that he was working with artificial light the reply was that he was lying. Houdini submerging in ice in the river. Simon and Garfunkel in the Park. So many firsts in New York.


Q: Is the area immediately south-west of central park safe for non-white tourists?

A: Columbus Circle? Times Square? All of NYC is safe except for a bit of the Lower East Side, a bit of Brooklyn, and Corona. This includes safe subways. Believe it or not, New York City is the safest city per capita in the entire U.S.

I enquired on behalf of someone looking to be based in 10th Avenue, just a few hundred yards from the park. Some reviews said the area was okay, albeit looking a bit run down in parts. I did expect it to be safe. Any ideas or tips for the tourist (in May) regarding things to do, where to eat, or anything else at reasonable cost?

It sounds as if your friend is going to what used to be called Hell's Kitchen and now goes by the hoity-toity name of Clinton. Off the top of my head, I'm not aware of any May events. It's next to impossible to find bad food in NYC. Restaurants that don't serve tasty food go out of business quickly. If you want breakfast, a variety of American foods, or some Greek food, go to the diners. They're sort of like Perkins but tastier, and they're open 24 hours. Go to Chinatown for Chinese food, and eat at the dumpiest dives you find there. They're fabulous and barely cost a thing. I only really know Indian food on account of my food allergies. You can find cheap Indian food on Lexington Ave in the 20s (Curry in a Hurry is great), on 6th Street between 1 & 2 Aves (I like Sonar Gao and Raj Mahal), and on 74th Street in Queens (#7 train to Delhi Palace). If you want a very pleasant free boat ride, take the Staten Island Ferry to Staten Island and back. It takes you past the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and lots of skyline. The Metropolitan Museum of Art on 5th Ave in the 80s is a must-see. Strictly speaking it's free, though you're expected to donate some money as you enter. The masterpieces there are jaw-dropping: entire rooms full of Rembrandts, for example. If you like used books, go to Strands on Broadway at 12th St. It's three storeys packed with books.

Indian food would be fine, albeit what they often eat anyway. Most things that are low in salt and sugars should be okay. I'll give them the other information. Thanks.

You're welcome. Oh... tell your friends to stroll around in Central Park. It's safe except for the far northern end. The park has a nice variety of scenery and terrain. Central Park has a zoo, but I'm not sure what it costs. It might be free considering it's part of the city park. And the 42nd Street library is a wonderful building for wandering around inside. It's a library, so it doesn't cost anything. Just keep quiet.

During the day, the far northern end of the park is also safe. As with any big city, at night you want to be where the other people are rather than wandering around alone.

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