I’m in New York City right now, typing this entry from a kiosk in the lobby of my hotel (the most excellent Belnord–well, okay, excellent for $65/night). It’s thirteen cents a minute and I have to stand up, but still, it’s internet.
I can’t believe it has almost been a week already and I’m leaving NY the day after tomorrow. I wish I could stay longer, which is true but feels like a lie because I am also SO READY to be home again! Or at least in California away from this humidity. Ugh. Anyway, this trip confirms what I’ve always thought, which is that NY would be a great place to live for a while (like a year), but I wouldn’t want to make my permanent home here.
When I first visited New York, the summer before junior year of high school, I’d never lived in a real urban area and was starstruck by everything. Now that I’ve spent the past four years in Berkeley, my take on the city is a little different. I don’t actually feel that it’s so so much different from other cities, even if we Americans do always think of it as the uber-city. Some of the common wisdom is true, bad as well as good. It’s true, New Yorkers aren’t warm-fuzzy friendly. (I don’t think they’re rude, though, they just don’t reach out. Now there’s something I miss crazily about Berkeley.) Also, yes, it’s polluted and dirty, especially in the subway stations where I seem to spend a lot of my time. I did see a rat scurrying along the tracks. It was fuzzy.
The good stuff about New York is true too, though. There is more stuff to do and see here than you could accomplish in a decade, I’m sure, and that’s something I’ve only just realized. I thought I’d have a ton of free time once I got here but actually I don’t at all. I’d wanted to visit museums and the public library and go shopping. So far, I’ve squeezed in three museums and that’s going to be it, the public library is no go, and the serious shopping is only happening–if it does–tomorrow or Saturday. My normal day goes like this: I wake up around ten or so (I’m staying on CA time for my convenience when I return, and just because I can 😉 ). I go to museums if I feel like it, otherwise I putter or just sleep some more. I have dance class two hours a day, from two-thirty to four-thirty, then afterward I walk around a bit and then come back to the hotel to shower, eat, and putter some more. It sounds like such a leisurely schedule, and I thought it would be, but I guess I never counted on what the humidity combined with the walking would do to me. It is just so hot and humid here I sweat all day long, nonstop. My feet are blistered and sore, and I’m sure they’ve swollen a little bit from the heat. With all the museum-going and shopping and dancing, I don’t sit a lot, so I’m walking basically from ten to six. I like it though. I’ve missed walking, and I’ve missed being on my own, so my feeling about this lifestyle is somewhere between exhaustion and exhilaration.
I thought being alone in Manhattan would do something for my sense of independence, or my sense of self, but it hasn’t, really. If you asked me to sum up what I’ve learned, I could do it easily:
1. New York is cool, but I haven’t left my heart in it or anything. The best city in my mind would be Berkeley, still, but with New York’s subway system, and as many small grocery stores, drugstores etc per block!
The other two big things can be interpreted as specific to this trip, or life lessons, depending how profound you want to be:
2. When in doubt, ask or otherwise consult instructions. This may save you walking seven blocks when you are at your most tired, or from spending an unnecessary $20.
3. Shoes that are fine for walking two miles in CA do not feel as good in NY.
Home on Saturday!
[This post was imported on 4/10/14 from my old blog at satsumabug.livejournal.com.]