TOP 10 OBSERVATION OF NEW YORK: MONTH ONE
No. 1: It is an absolute MYTH that New Yorkers are not friendly. Some are gruff and to the point but I sort of appreciate the crunchiness of some personalities. You always know where you stand. People have been bend-over-backwards friendly and so accommodating in helping me get acclimated.
No. 2: The areas of Manhattan have such a DISTINCT personality. I'm quite fascinated by it, really. I started noticing it on my own then I started having dialogue with so many who LOVE their area and tell me why. Details in another post soon.
No. 3: People watch out for other people here. Like they go out of their way to do so. It is beautiful to witness. Don't worry I'm aware of safety issues and am quite diligent in noticing my surroundings but what I'm witnessing is a lot more unity than not.
No. 4: There is such a pride in shop owners' "domain." Every morning they are out sweeping their stoop, picking up litter, greeting passersby. I've had several charming conversations with many characters.
No. 5: One cannot get coffee before 8 AM and nobody starts working until around 9:30 or 10:00 AM. It's so hard to get used to but it's kind of nice.
No. 6: During the summer, the parks resemble the most beautiful and colorful BLANKET FARM....and they inhabit them ALL afternoon. How do I know? Well, I've taken an unofficial all-day Sunday poll for the last 3 and people camp out with picnics, naps rolls, and books-- REAL books -- mostly with older and esoteric titles. I've not seen one Kindle. I have a theory on this. People tend to stay put for years and they don't have large houses or yards like in the South. They don't spend their weekends at Big Box retailers doing home improvement projects because the spaces are smaller and they want to get outside. And sit. And talk. And share a breezy summer day nap. And watch people. And paint in the park. And let their dogs run around. The first Sunday I got a little squirmy but it's now become one of my new favorite ways to spend time.
No. 7: The food is INSPIRED. The dishes I've eaten and scoped out as I've passed by are pieces of edible art. The local food movement is a lot bigger here than I imagined and the chefs are seriously so obviously at the top of their game. But it's not just the food, it's the history of the spaces and the legacy they know they must uphold... but they also really want to because they have such respect for the individuality of the place. Just around the corner from my apartment is a place a new friend took me as a welcome to NYC. I was immediately enchanted. It's a total dive looking place I had passed every morning. I felt rude looking around constantly because I couldn't stop gawking at all the really old art and the way the waiters and patrons were getting along. It was mesmerizing. It is so inviting. It was the night I really started to settle into this new adventure and we stayed for hours. Little did I know, the place is quite famous with the most interesting and storied past. It's hands down my favorite spot in Soho and I cannot even do justice to describing the burger. They only will serve 12 a day so you have to know how to time it but time it you must because it is heavenly. Read more about it here... Raoul's has my heart forever.
No. 8: The art is breathtaking. Truly. Thank goodness, The Metropolitan Museum is pay-what-you-want or I'd be broke and headed back to Texas already. The first day I arrived, I thought the best thing I could do (because I was shaking in my boots) was get to The Met and have a little heart-to-heart with the 15 ft canvas of Joan of Arc-- the scene where her "warrior self angel" appeared to her to whisper her calling. Joan of Arc was such a little bad ass and I was feeling anything but... so I went to her for a little perspective. I got it. From there, I made my way to Vuillard, Van Gogh, Bonnard and Matisse. No wonder museums are so quiet--the reverence is earned.
No. 9: On the second night I was so tired and went to eat next door. I was enjoying the most delicious Greek salad and had Hebrew speakers to my right and Russian to my left and I got the most perfect sense that this is EXACTLY what this time is about for me --new perspective. Diversity. Fascination. Understanding. I went to bed really at peace that night. My adventurous side decided to allow fear to sit in the backseat for awhile.
No. 10: The most FASCINATING conversations are occurring at coffee shops every morning. So far, I've heard: actors running lines with each other (nobody I recognized but they were really professional and wanted to do well); the producer from the Breaking Bad sequel trying to figure out a sequence with a co-worker; an extra on West Wing quietly telling her coffee mate that the cast was the closest and most respectful group of actors she's ever had the pleasure of working with; a man who is adapting a book to movie and he referred to the title THREE separate times and the espresso machine was loud every single time --I died a little; and one hedge fund loud-talker who was a little too eager for the entire shop to hear the number of 0's being invested (very un-New York in my experience and he hasn't been back).