Sunday, July 15, 2007

Into an isle of joy

New York, New York. I love it dearly, and am very glad not to live here. The city is so damned big and fast and intense, it's like a permanent sugar rush (the only drug analogy my limited experience permits). Everyone is in a hurry, everything is done on the run; woe betide you if you cannot answer a question without stopping to think.

The size of New York (by which I mean Manhattan) is a puzzle to me. I always assume that it's relatively small, being an island, then am surprised to realize that it takes half an hour by taxi on the Hudson river expressway from Ground Zero to the hotel at Columbus Circle.

The economics of New York is also a puzzle. Simple example: I remembered there being a bus from JFK to Manhattan, so I went outside and asked a likely-looking traffic dispatcher for help. He pointed me at a combined service: bus to Grand Central Station, change there to a free shuttle service directly to my hotel, all for US$ 12. Those twelve dollars (eight Euros, the price of one-and-a-half beers in a good restaurant in Germany) supported two buses and at least four men (dispatcher at JFK, bus driver, dispatcher at Grand Central, second bus driver). How can that work out financially?

We (my parents and I) arrived a day earlier than the rest of the opera tour group, who were checking in as I was in the lobby just now; we have walked in Central Park, had a few good meals, been on a harbour boat tour to Ellis Island and Liberty Island and back (plan on at least half an hour standing in the sun, waiting for tickets and an airport-style security check).

Weather has been fine: low thirties, sunny, not too humid; but the forecast is for thunderstorms over the next few days. We shall see.

More later.

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Blogger Jenni said...

I love New visit. I think I'd hate to live there. Enjoy your jaunt!

July 16, 2007 at 1:03:00 a.m. GMT+2  
Blogger zhoen said...

And you weren't mugged instantly?

July 16, 2007 at 2:33:00 a.m. GMT+2  
Blogger JoeinVegas said...

Yes, you need to get mugged to get the full New York experience. Just try the subway late at night.

July 16, 2007 at 7:08:00 p.m. GMT+2  
Blogger Udge said...

New York still suffers a bad reputation for safety from its 70's crime wave. The city feels safe (in terms of violent crime) -- but then again I haven't been in the subway after midnight, nor in Harlem or the Bronx.

July 17, 2007 at 3:04:00 p.m. GMT+2  
Blogger Little Light said...

Just act like you belong here and you should have no worries.

July 18, 2007 at 10:21:00 p.m. GMT+2  

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