First & Second impressions from NY



When I landed in new york I kept looking around out the plane windows to see if I could spot the empire state building.  It took me about 10 minutes as we taxied and waited but I found it.  My first thought was "hmm, that's not so big" followed by "oh, wait, it's like 20 miles away, damn the WTC buildings must have been huge".  While waiting for a free bus out to the subway station from JFK I met a woman who had flown in from Hawaii directly and was on her way home to Croatia with a 5 hour layover in JFK.  She said it totaled about 37 hours on the road/in the air.  My 5 hours suddenly didn't seem so bad.

Other first impressions were that the subways aren't nearly as dirty as they're made out to be on TV (no drunks pissing themselves as they cling with all of their might to one of the hand poles).  Also the people aren't nearly as rude as they're supposed to be.  In fact I've yet to meet a surley or even ill tempered New Yorker.  Any time a woman came on the subway and there were no seats available at least one person would get up to offer their seat.  The very large weight lifter with scars all over his head and arms was more than happy to help me find the right connecting train.  And finally, there are germans EVERYWHERE here now.  Maybe they're not all german but they sure like to speak it.

Later that night...

The second impression I had was that NYC is more like star wars than star trek.  Bear with me on this one.  In Star Trek there is the universal translator (or whatever they call it) so everyone essentially just speaks english and it's easy for the viewer to understand.  In star wars Han Solo speaks english to Chewbacca and chewy grunts back at him.  Luke and Jabba each converse in their native tongue which the other (of course) speaks fluently.  Not counting the actual different languages spoken here (russian, chinese and spanish so far) there are tons of different accents which of course everyone else is able to understand without any effort.  I went to a little hole in the wall chinese place for dinner last night and had a hard enough time working through the waitresses accent just ordering dinner.  These two guys come in fresh from their central park fishing trip (catch and release, natch) conversing in a thick puerto rican accent and have a nice little chat with the waitress.  I can't tell what the hell is going on but they're all three having a grand old chat.  I'm not sure if this speaks more for them or less for me, though I imagine if you grow up with it it becomes second nature.

I also met the second of my three non-talkative roommates.  A korean fellow (no name) who also has a laptop with him.  woohoo - I'm not the only geek on the road.


I saw time square - which really isn't much to see - who's central attraction was a giant billboard with two phones sending instant messages back to eachother.  They were smart alleck phones who seemed to like to make fun of tourists mostly.  Stupid phones.  After about 20 minutes of trying to get to the observation deck of the Chrystler building (I swear it looked like the empire state building) I managed to find the real ESB and shot me a panorama.  I'd toss in a photo or two here but of course the net cafe doesn't have any smart media readers and I left the cable back at the hotel.

After lunch it's off to find the Flatiron building (that odd triangluar shaped one in lots of movies) and maybe head down to wall street to see if I can find the big brass bull.  Damn my feat are already burning.


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