New York, the Big Apple, the city that never sleeps, New Amsterdam and the Capital of the World. Different nicknames for the same city. A city that is loved by millions of tourists around the world, and a lot of friends of mine find this the best city they have ever visited. Unfortunately, I can’t disagree more with them on this.
Don’t get me wrong New York is lovely for a tourist. Times Square looks amazing during night, overwhelming but amazing. There are loads of things to do and visit and there are certainly some amazing restaurants around if you know where to go. However, if you would ask me if I would like to start a living in New York. I would answer you no for sure.
My main problem with this city are its people and the differences between rich and poor. Maybe the customer service person on the airport also didn’t give us a good introduction to the city.
When we arrived at Newark International Airport, I asked the direction at the information desk. Behind the information desk was an employee counting some flyers, but she looked really bored. I mentioned several times “excuse me” and “good evening” but no response. When I asked where I could find the Newark Airport Express bus to New York City the only response I got was “Platform 2”.
Another example would be when a woman bumped into my girlfriend. My girlfriend responded with “Sorry”. However the only thing she could say with her children around her was “Get out”.
Our experience didn’t get much better when we took the tube for the first time. First there was the customer service person, who was really happy she could send us over to the machines, so she could drink her Redbull again.
At the moment we went to the platform, the first thing that happened was that a homeless person started to pee in front of us on the track. Then there is the fact that homeless people are everywhere on the stations, and are sleeping there as well.
In general it feels that the tube isn’t meant for everyone. Where in London everyone is taking the tube, feels the tube system here more for the lower class. The system isn’t well maintained, there is construction work going on everywhere, and isn’t going as fast and isn’t as reliable as it should be.
It feels that everyone expects you to know what is normal in New York. In London for example when you go to public spaces, you will show your little cross body bag to the security guard without removing it. However at Metropolitan Museum, my girlfriend did the same and opened her handbag in front of the security guard. The security guard made a gesture that looks as remove your scarf. In the end he got annoyed because she didn’t remove her handbag, while he also just could have asked her to remove her handbag. He started to threaten us and that she wasn’t cooperating with the security check and he could refuse her to enter the building in a very rude manner.
Don’t get me wrong. New York is brilliant for tourists. There are load of things to discover and to do. There are even some brilliant restaurants to find and of course you will get huge portions in those restaurants. But in terms of living, I don’t understand why you want to try to achieve the American dream here. Maybe I am too much European, but please convince me otherwise if my opinion of this short visit to the USA is completely wrong.