Things I Learned Today about New York City

Here are the things I learned today about New York City.

New York City, or at least Manhattan, or at least Lower Manhattan, is really rather small. I am working on Broad St. this weekend, and staying around the corner on William St. I can easily walk to both sides of the island, and Brooklyn (or what I assume is Brooklyn, it looks like Brooklyn) seems so close that I could reach out and touch it.

For some reason there are large liquid nitrogen tanks located all over this neighbourhood, with rubber hoses running from the tanks down into the earth. A quick Google suggest that this might be a fix for leaky steam pipes causing problems with fiber optic cables.

Every city has its Faneuil Hall, Peakes Quay, Spinaker’s Landing, Harbourfront, Granville Island, etc. Here it’s the South Street Seaport. And they are all the same: expensive stores that sell things nobody really needs, food courts selling generic food, a little bits of ye oldieness scattered around for “ambience.” I fled as soon as I wandered in by mistake. Who is the customer for this stuff?

And finally: I’ve realized that there are more people in New York that don’t plan to kill you than do. Growing up in flaccid Canada, and experiencing New York mostly through Law and Order reruns and urban legends about “Bob and Milly down the street who got mugged,” it’s easy to understand why I would assume that the city is made up mostly of gun-wielding killers. I’m sure they exist. But none of the people I encountered today in Lower Manhattan did, in fact, try to kill me. Or if they did, they didn’t do a very good job of it because I didn’t notice.

If work proceeds as well tomorrow as it did today, I might have extra time to head out to the theatre tomorrow night; I welcome recommendations.


Marcus's picture
Marcus on April 3, 2004 - 03:39 Permalink

And finally: I’ve realized that there are more people in New York that don’t plan to kill you than do…

This is a constant realization that one faces when in any large centre with a less than stellar reputation for safety. I just got back from a weekend in New Orleans and was fully prepared to hibernate in the hotel outside of my business meetings, but I was pleasantly surprised to find an overwhelming presence by the New Orleans Police Department, and felt completely safe anytime I was out in the French Quarter, CBD, Warehouse District, etc. There was literally a police car on every block, either parked or with officers inside, plus friendly officers walking the beat, or driving small scooters. Some private security guards around hotels and other businesses too.

Maybe it was an off-weekend for criminals as the Tennessee Williams Festival was being held…

rsimpson's picture
rsimpson on April 3, 2004 - 12:54 Permalink

Pete, I hope you consulted New Yorker and Calvin Trillan’s stream of articles on eating on the street in NYC.