....continued from Irish Rover Part 6 - Part of a series of posts recalling my wandering ways (Don't worry this series will be done soon - I just need to get it outta my system).
Living in New York was a bit of a challenge as a new arrival. It was exciting to see all the stuff you'd only seen on TV before like the Empire State building, Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, Park Avenue, but there was a cultural barrier to be overcome. Unlike London, Manhattan isn't that big and getting around is pretty easy via public transport but New Yorkers talk to each on public transport? WTF - I was used to the more conservative London tube approach ala - bury your head in a newspaper and above all never make eye contact. New Yorkers will strike up random conversations with strangers and make no attempt to conceal the fact they are leaning over your shoulder to read your newspaper .
I was only there a few weeks when I went to turn the page of the newspaper I was flicking thru on the subway and a guy tapped me on the shoulder and said "hold on buddy - I'm not done yet ...uh ok ... I'm done now - How 'bout those Yankees last night?"
I thought "Huh? - You talking to me? - I see 200 other people here so PLEASE say you're NOT talking to me?" - He was, and I abruptly informed him, I didn't watch baseball or any other weird US sports which immediately shut him up (no easy feat to quieten a yank let me tell you!) although he continued to mutter to himself what I presumed was abuse about my ignorance of US sport.
After a year in Queens, I moved to Manhattans upper east side. Now, finally, I was a true blue New Yorker! Everything you need is a few blocks away - 24 hour deli, pub, supermarket, laundry, cinema, restaurants, police station, subway, park etc. No wonder they're overweight! I used to have to walk 15 minutes to the supermarket in London with my arms dropping off with weight of the groceries. Everything is picked up and/or delivered in NY for minimal charge or effort including laundry, groceries and food. My favourite was the Mexican restaurant, that besides great food also delivered GREAT frozen margaritas.
Bars in NY are open until 4am, so gone were the days of binge drinking as 11pm closing time approached and having to pay a club admission to have a few more drinks. Then there are the illegal but plentiful lock-in bars where you knock on an inconspicuous door and enter after 4am. The subway is open 24 hours which comes in handy assuming you can wake up at the correct stop and a max fare at the time of u$d1.50 lets you take subway all night long from A to B and back to A (been there - done that) .
Warning - Work sometimes interferes with and frowns upon these social activities but is also sometimes responsible for said activities and in some cases has been known to sponsor them.
All cultural differences aside - Good bunch of peeps the New Yorkers! So much so, I ended up staying ten years, got US citizenship, got married and developed a beer gut. I've managed to hang on to those 3 things.
More (but not much) of this drivel to follow.....
If you like what you've read, why not subscribe to updates click here