It’s no surprise, my thoughts on New York City. I make jokes on tours (get some ALLEYS for petes sakes), that kind of thing. I lived there for a year, I moved home, I became a tour guide because New York didn’t do it for me and I realized,that FOR ME, Chicago is the greatest city in the world. (And for all of you, I just haven’t convinced you all yet.)
I warn you of capitalized words in the following article, but NYC makes me capitalize. So…
On Thursday I went to NYC for the first time in about maybe, 10 years. I didn’t even know I liked architecture and history the last time I was in NYC, so I was a little more open this time, a *little* less judgmental.
And you know what? New York is awesome. It is so awesome. In the true sense of the word. The Highline is the shit, it is creative and lovely and so so cool. All the people are out on it, lounging in the sun. They have Summer Streets, where they close down one of the major streets and people just bike and walk and run down it – amazing. When we were there it was Park Ave., they seriously just close most of Park Ave. down on a Saturday so all the New Yorkers can cruise to the Park like it’s nothing.
The buildings are ridiculous. I mean, Chicago doesn’t have pretty much anything (downtown at least) older than 1871. Shoot, NYC has been going for a bajillion years, we don’t have buildings like NYC has buildings. I couldn’t stop looking up.
The STORES, oh my god! We went into some wood antler store, just fancy, expensive antlers of all sorts. We laughed long and hard about that conversation – “oh, I LOVE wooden antlers. I’m going to open a store in Soho and sell WOODEN antlers to everyone!” The cupcake shops, the knick-knacks, the clothes! THE SHOES – holy hell, I mean, the shoes the New York women are wearing are skyscrapers in and of themselves. These women deftly maneuver the grates in the ground, the curbs, it’s impressive. Their clothes are astounding and it’s not just one or two women, NO, it’s many women! And the dudes! Man-purses and suit outfits, but with shorts instead of pants.
THE FOOD. Each block smells like India and Morocco and Thailand and everywhere else that has ever existed. Unbelievable.
Every block, every section of Manhattan has a baseline of people out and wandering about. It’s not JUST 42nd street, that just has more than other blocks, but every block, every neighborhood has people out and about, standing in line, eating at restaurants, enjoying the sunshine and their great city…
It’s too much. It’s too much pressure New York City. It is much cooler than Chicago, and as I wandered around in my tennis shoes and jeans, I longed for my plain city. My plain, quiet city where the only thing that matters is not walking deftly in your high-heels, but being able to walk at all so you can get to work
I pined for my tree-lined street and how I go to sleep to the sounds of sprinklers and frogs. I like how I can be in a crowd of people if I want to – and then turn down a sidestreet and be alone for blocks.
The Summer Streets idea is such a great idea and Chicago would never stand for it. Sure it’d be cool to open Madison so people could bike and run to the lake on a Saturday morning, but um….we need that street see. We need to get where we’re going see. Just how it is.
I talk about this on the Second City tours a lot, Chicago is more interested in how you built it than how it looks when it’s done. The finished product is great and fine and all that, but we’re more interested in how you created it, what it took to build it and what innovation you came up with to make it happen.
In New York I feel pressure to be cool, to be beautiful, to not trip, to DO SOMETHING, to deny every thing your senses sense…in Chicago my breath relaxes, my nose takes a deep breath in and my stomach knot loosens. There is no pressure here, except to do what you do and keep doing it. To go about your business, to be quiet until it’s time to be loud, to work, to play, to eat, to sleep.
I’ll take a smelly onion over a big apple every time.