What made New York special
When I came back from New York, a lot of people asked me what my favourite part of the trip was. I had a great time in New York, but could not decide on one specific landmark or thing we did. Finally, I figured out that it was the people of New York that made this experience unique.
New Yorkers somehow have the reputation of being rude. I’m not quite sure how that came about but that was not our experience. Everywhere we went, people were friendly and helpful. My mom dropped her sweater in a subway station one day. I heard someone behind us say “Excuse me”, but it was so quiet I didn’t think it was meant for us. Suddenly my mom gets a gentle tap on her shoulder and there is a kid, late teens, totally emo looking, wearing full black with long hair and large headphones around his neck, returning my mom’s sweater.
When we went to tourist attractions, everyone was friendly as well. Initially I thought this was an act and they were paid to be nice to tourists, but after a few days we realized that they are genuine. Really truly genuine. One woman was selling tickets for a tour which we had already visited. After we declined her offer, she kindly said “Have a nice day!” as we walked away. We did a double take. The only rude people we met were a couple of Hungarian tourists!
The other cool thing when exploring the city are the New York Pedestrian Rules. New Yorkers know them and tourists don’t. Here is how it goes. When the light is flashing red, New Yorkers keep walking. Tourists scramble across the road or stop walking. When the light is red, New Yorkers look both ways and keep walking, tourists stop. When the light is green, tourists walk freely, New Yorkers look around before stepping off the sidewalk.
It took my mom and I a few days to get the hang of it but once we joined in we felt like one of the locals.
New York was a great city to explore, but what really made it different from other big cities were the people. I would like to go back there again. After my second visit, I wonder if my answer to the-favourite-part-of-the-city question would still be the same.