Things I Have Noticed: New York

by afatpurplefig


Jaywalking is the norm. If you see a gap in the traffic, however small, it is customary to rush across the road, inspiring others to rush with you, ignoring the red hand indicating that you should be staying put.

When cars are prevented from moving efficiently by jaywalkers, they often end up blocking the pedestrian crossing when their lights change. New Yorkers reserve the right to be irritated about this, despite having caused it.

The jaywalker’s approach to rules is mirrored by drivers, who don’t let a lack of space get in the way of making it through a light. Potentially blocking traffic has no impact whatsoever on their decision-making.

In keeping with the traffic theme, the bike riders are ruthless. They yell, rather than ring bells, and pretty much keep moving, barrelling over the top of anything that gets in their way. And they ride in rain, snow and shine, 24 hours a day, with plastic bags wrapped around their hands.

The grid is brilliant (thanks, John Randel Jr.!) when it comes to finding your way around. I disliked being in the bottom part of the city, where the numbers give way to named streets and avenues, making it harder to get a sense of where you are.

It’s virtually impossible, as a visitor, to know the cost of anything. The sales tax is added at the purchase point (often, inexplicably, in the server’s head). I became accustomed to seeing the price tag as a low estimate.

The subways aren’t nearly as modern as our trains, particularly when it comes to the electronic systems. A couple of the stations have just started to upgrade to electronic boards that tell you when the next train is coming. Otherwise, there is nothing to tell you what you should catch, and when…you just need to know.

The subway costs the same, no matter where you get on, or where you are going. This is apparently because it is seen as unfair for commuters from the outer boroughs to pay more to travel to work. This makes sense to me.

The number of cuisines that can be delivered by Ubereats is mind-boggling. Despite this, we remained devoted to Korean BBQ chicken.

Liquor stores only sell wine. This is because you need a liquor licence to sell wine, whilst beer and cider is sold in every grocery, convenience, and drug store around.

Steam actually comes out of the manholes. For some reason, this delighted me every time I saw it. Eva found said delight very odd.