Thu 2 Mar 2006
So, my first day in New York is almost behind me. My legs ache but I’ve covered quite a lot of Manhattan’s attractions – and some totally unattractive streets where tourists rather don’t venture. And here are some of my experiences and observations of the day.
First thing I noticed about New York are yellow cabs. It’s not the fact that they are yellow, after all those movies it’s what everyone expects, it’s their sheer number. I’ve never seen this many taxis at once. I would even venture to say that most traffic in Manhattan is just them. And I’m not kidding, I’ve actually counted cars passing through 40th street while I ate my breakfast. Taxis outnumbered regular cars by 9 to 1. This led me to conclude that the locals use cabs as their basic, default method for moving around.
Further study of the natives’ transportation habits revealed that almost all those who insist on driving their own cars have black Lincolns. Continued research is planned tomorrow and would be reported here.
Seriously, though, one myth about US that I’ve had turned out to be completely false – I haven’t seen a lot of dramatically overweight people, not more than anywhere else in the world I’ve been. During the whole day I’ve seen mostly normally looking, lean folk of all colors – including quite a few attractive women. Maybe the image of America as a country inhabited by fat monsters comes from TV reports about obesity as a social problem – or maybe NYC is just an exception.
I saw though some interesting places, I visited the United Nations building (which literally smells of decay) and the edges of Central Park, saw a fire on the 57th street, the Grand Central Station and Apple’s SoHo store (which is, to be frank, nothing special – I walked past without even noticing it, I had to turn back and look carefully to find it).
All in all I must say that I start to like this place. I’ve already learned the basic orientation – numbered streets and avenues are a very, very convenient idea – it takes just a few hours to understand it and know what uptown or downtown mean. I’ve also learned how to use the subway – once I learned what street & avenues numbers mean it was fairly easy to comprehend. I’m not saying I move like a local would already, but it’s not a challenge anymore.
Forecasts for tomorrow are quite good, maybe I’ll get some sunshine, which would be good as I plan to visit WTC site and other outside attractions. Also, I hope my jet lag would be gone.
So, that’s all for now, I’m off to unpack my new iPod Nano. It really is incredibly small.