Thursday, July 15, 2010

New Home, New York

I think Singapore has spoiled me.

We interrupt this regularly scheduled blog for a Status Update: Have moved to the states and living in New York now.

Ok back to the story. We are all set to make a home in New York and have been spending the past few days soaking up the city.

If we had come straight from India, there is a chance that we would've admired many aspects of this city - the disciplined traffic, the subways, the clean streets, the Laundromats, the huge apartment blocks etc.

But coming from Singapore, we only find reasons to complain. Take the Subway for example. Number one complaint - they aren't clean enough. The stations are dirty and the tracks haven’t been cleaned in ages. The trains make this huge thundering noise we aren't used to and especially in the enclosed underground, it feels like the whole world is exploding. And what is with the elevators here? They are either absent from many stations or they take forever to travel from one level to another. When were they installed? 18th century?

And the trains themselves are supposed to be 'air conditioned' but all the air did was to make us sweat copiously! I think they forgot to turn the 'Summer' switch on and it's still stuck at 'Winter' position. How do those high powered career types who work in Manhattan manage to take this train and stay sweat-free?

Next on, the food. The first day here, we went for breakfast at a small diner. For a couple of omelets and orange juices (a small glass at that) we ended up paying about 25 bucks. Did we pick a wrong diner or is food that costly here? I was expecting about 10 dollars. To be fair, we did get toast and potatoes by the side and also the food in quantity was large. But still, it was a surprise that we had to fork out 25 bucks for breakfast!

Now that the complaints are outta the way, let’s go in for the good stuff. The streets of Manhattan - what a beautifully planned town this is! The perfect perpendiculars with the one diagonal streaking through. As the guide books say, it does make it easy to understand the layout of the town.

If you're a people-reader like me, you'll find greatest food for your interest - New York City has this eclectic mix of people of many races. At any place, you'll hear atleast four or five languages being spoken. And not just different languages, the English accents are a-plenty too!

Few unrelated things that struck me here were: One, the international brands that we were used to are now no longer international - they've become local! Two, I got to see in person what I have only hitherto read in PG Wodehouses, Mary Higgins Clarks, John Grishams and others.

So in all, my first impression of this city is a pot pourri of wonder, disgust and quiet happiness. And I’m all set to explore and experience more!