After a 2 week holiday in New York, I think I can make a safe verdict on what I think of the city. It was my second visit there so I didn’t have the “awe effect” that blurs an opinion, based on everything just being new and different.
The trip was originally planned to be for job hunting, but I like my new job in Cape Town, and am not quite ready to move yet – so I decided to change the purpose of the travelling as a research and reconnaissance mission: find out if I want to live there. The job hunting can come later.
After the two weeks, I think the answer is No.
Something seems to have changed in New York. It just doesn’t come off as the haven of glamour that Sex and the City or Friends portray it. I actually found it to be very trashy. It was only April/May when I visited, and yet the streets were overflowing with tourists – no one seemed to be local. I would hate to be there in June/July/August, during high summer season, when the number of tourists must surely double.
We stayed in the Financial District, less than 5 blocks from Ground Zero. So, I assume this would be quite a clean area given the district’s importance to not only America, but the rest of the world. It was dirty, with rubbish bags sitting on the street, rats running in the road and just construction going on everywhere.
Roads were in a poor state and the subway is still a horrible relic – this is all across town.
I am fully aware that it is not infrastructure that makes NYC, its the diversity of people and things to do; and I will admit (as a Londoner) that it kills any other city in the world for this. Everything and anything goes in New York. I don’t think anywhere can rival it. Which is what I think has been its downfall. Everybody goes to New York. Unfortunately, I think New York has become very stale with people going there thinking they will live like people in Friends or some school kid from Gossip Girl. All of which is possible, but that takes money, and lots of it. Very few people earn lots of money, especially in today’s world. Therefore, you would end up living half the dream, which is not really a dream at all when its in a grimey part of town. The second problem with the above, is that it attracts trashy people – a very snobbish comment to make, but all the same, I don’t want to live alongside people like that.
The way New York is now, I think I wouldn’t have cared about the above if I was 25, and didn’t mind the rough edges and just wanted fun – even if it meant doing it on a budget. However, I seem to have got used to the comforts that Cape Town offers and so don’t think I can go back to the “slumming it”. If I had lots of cash, then perhaps my view would change.
Perhaps New York is just in a bizarre transition, and just needs to blow out the cobwebs and will go back to how it was. Or maybe it just isn’t for me – the more likely case. I don’t know – perhaps Chicago might be a better option. Whatever happens, it won’t be for a year or so before I think of moving to the USA; definitely not until the financial issues start to sort themselves out.
Tomorrow morning, I embark on a Cape Town –> Johannesburg –> Madrid –> 10 days in New York –> Madrid –> Joahnnesburg –> Cape Town voyage.
it isn’t the greatest time to be going, and I get back on the same day as Net Phrophet, which I really want to go to, especially if it is half as good as last year’s event. I arrive back the same day, although I don’t know what time, so I am hoping for at least making the free lunch and afternoon talks.
The trip was originally planned as a job-hunting experience, but my new job is going to keep me busy in South Africa for another year at least, so I don’t want to move just yet. Plus, the new job will allow me to really ramp up my skills, so if/when I do move on, then I have a kick-ass CV to take with me.
I think I am looking at this trip as a voyage of (re)discovery, to see if New York has changed much since my last visit in 2005; and whether I would still want to live in that city – it currently tops my list of 3 places to move to after South Africa (NY/USA, Dubai, Australia).
I am also waiting to see how the recession/economy fairs, especially after the Japan incident as I would have thought that it would have quite hefty financial ramifications around the world. We’ll see.
I will try and run my Trackbacks on a daily basis if I get time, as I will be pretty busy doing stuff and not confined to an office 8-12 hours a day. I do have a fair bit of work to get done, so I am planning on visiting a different WiFi-enabled coffee house for at least two hours every day to trawl through work/emails/life/etc.
Bon voyage (….to me).
I am not sure how this started, whether it was some bored videographers or a spark of inspiration from a marketing exec, but for the Internet public, it really is enjoyable watching!
The basic concept is to take video stills over the period of one day of different parts of a city, then compress them all in to 2 minute video to show the awakening, living and dying of a city over the 24 hour period. I currently live in Cape Town, and the video really does eclipse its true beauty (…and the traffic!).
The Cape Town video was created by Silver Bullet Productions, an experienced full production company, whose premier focus is to provide South Africa with exceptional high quality video production to allow companies to creatively tell their story through the power of video. They have quite a few more videos available for viewing on Vimeo.
The next video is New York I found on the iMod blog: a city I have had the pleasure to visit for a very brief period, but one I intend to renew in April as I go job hunting to possibly move on from South Africa.
Now, I just need to find one done for London…
A persistently tormenting person, force, or passion: The demon of drug addiction;
One who is extremely zealous, skillful, or diligent: Worked away like a demon;