Random NYC Observations

September 23 2010

Apropos of nothing, here are a few of my observations so far about New York City.

The restaurant waiters are comically bad

  • Some of them stare at you the entire time you eat.
  • Some of them never actually answer your question.
    me: “can you recommend a good white wine?”
    waiter: “would you like to hear about our specials tonight?”
  • Some of them make up rules.
    me: “we would like two orders of the lobster special, please”
    waiter: “actually, as of 12 minutes ago, you can only order one lobster special for the table”
  • Some of them say “that’s amore!” roughly 26 times during your visit (sigh…I still enjoy Little Italy).

Walking into a cab is a little like playing Russian roulette…only instead of one bullet out of six chambers, there are five bullets out of six chambers.

  • Many of them pretend not to be able to hear you.
  • One of them bitched to me for the entirety of a 10-minute ride about how terrible the previous customer was.
  • One of them has been a cab driver in the US for 33 years but can’t say much more than “you say airport, right? to fly?”.
  • One cab driver completely brightened my day, told me where all the good Argentine restaurants in NYC are, where all the good dance spots are, and how lucky I am to be living in the West Village.
  • One of them nearly ran into a pedestrian while going 55 mph on a 15 mph street, then threatened to get out of the cab and “shut (the pedestrian’s) face”.
  • Many of them argue with you about the amount of tip you leave. Well, maybe if you weren’t such a terrible cab driver in a SERVICE industry, I’d have given you a bigger tip.

The street vendors are a little slice of Christmas

  • Maybe I don’t always buy, but it’s just nice knowing I COULD get a Rolex for $15.
  • The smell of the grilled food draws you in, the people watching keeps you there (honestly, I will never cease to be fascinated to just watch people figure out how to eat a giant chunk of grilled chicken off a stick).
  • I bought a pink tie on the street for $5, and proceeded to get about 12 compliments the next day on how awesome my tie is.
How can you lose with this skyline?

Times Square is the 10th Circle of Hell

  • Unless you enjoy walking around with people regularly bumping into you and being asked every 30 seconds if you want to go to a comedy show.
  • My friend and I met in Times Square and decided to find a place for a quick drink. After passing TGI Fridays, ESPN Zone, Hard Rock Cafe, Olive Garden, and then TGI Fridays AGAIN, we finally settled on a small sushi place off Broadway that made us crappy cocktails for $15 a piece. For being such a unique part of NYC, there is absolutely nothing uniquely “New York” about Times Square, other than the fact that every billboard/restaurant supports something you’ve heard of in the mainstream.

You sometimes forget that there is trash right in front of you on the street

  • I understand that Manhattan is a small strip of land and oftentimes there aren’t any back alleys to leave your trash. But seriously, THERE IS TRASH JUST LYING ON THE SIDEWALKS. It’s almost gotten to the point where it’s like “hey, this place doesn’t smell ridiculously terrible, maybe I should take a short break here”.
  • I am completely aware now when I’m back in Chicago just how clean Chicago is.

Central Park is not just a great idea…in the history of urban planning…but maybe…maybe a great idea…in the history of humans

  • I love everything about Central Park.

Nobody will ever accuse Chinatown restaurants of passing health and safety regulations

  • I thought the trash and smell was bad in Financial District, Midtown, etc. Then I went to Chinatown.
  • The thing I don’t understand is that Little Italy and Chinatown are literally right next to each other. The street vendors sell the same items. They are both restaurant-heavy. And yet, Little Italy doesn’t smell like Big Foot’s dick or a used diaper filled with Indian food.
  • I sometimes wonder how anyone could actually eat in Chinatown. I mean, I think that smell would be a pretty effective de-appetizer.

The subway system actually makes sense…except when it doesn’t

  • A novel idea - the seats are not covered with the fabric padding that all the CTA trains have. Consequently, the NYC trains don’t smell like urine.
  • M-F, the subway system is awesome. It’s quick, clean, effective.
  • On weekends, it’s a different story. Schedules change on a whim (“just an FYI, this train will not be making the next 6 stops”). Construction means many stops/stations are completely inaccessible.
  • Still, it’s roughly 42 times better than the CTA.

There is nothing quite like walking around Midtown while listening to Jay-Z’s Empire State of Mind

  • Self explanatory.
Topics: Random

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