Diary of an Ex-Expat, Part 9
New York City :/
So I was in New York for the week.

Good god.

Sometimes in a city you get this sense of, like, what draws people to it. San Francisco is often quite good for that, off the beaten track of the Financial District and the Embarcadero. London is always good for that. I've just never really "got" it with New York.

I was out there for work, which means I didn't spend as much time as I otherwise might've. Such is the nature of the business. I did spend enough time to go out for lunch with a friend. She got soup and... mac and cheese, I think? I got a burger. The total was $80. Welcome to Greenwich Village!

Coming straight to New York from Berlin, you notice a few things.

Firstly, people mumbling on the street are not necessarily more comprehensible. The exception to this was a lovely tatterdemalion at 9th Avenue and 44th Street who grasped my wrists and hissed: congratulations, Barbara to me before letting me go and lurching on his merry way.

... Actually I strike that. That wasn't more comprehensible either.

Secondly, the public transportation system is pretty good. There's a period of getting used to any such system, where you're not yet certain how it works — turnstiles versus random checks, for example. I did get on the train going the wrong way. And the subway was rather loud. But for all that, it was a pleasant experience.

It's a pleasant city to walk in, as well, all things considered. I presume that this is more true for certain neighborhoods than others; I walked between Hells Kitchen and Greenwich Village and it seemed perfectly lovely. It's the kind of city you'd rather traverse on bike, but I didn't feel like figuring out the Citi Bike system for only a couple of days -- despite how staggered I was by its counterpart in Berlin, the DB Call-A-Bike program.

Thirdly, the food is worlds better, even if it is more expensive. It was only briefly that I ran into trouble.

One of the things that colours my experience abroad is that I suffer from rather problematic anxiety disorder. I thought that my behaviors were unique, but speaking to a similarly anxious friend it appears they're more common, which is slightly buoying.

In the event, I tend not to ask foreign deli owners to repeat themselves when they ask me questions, because I don't want to [insert reason here], so when they ask if I want something I just nod and say yes. In general this is entirely innocuous. Once, at Ted's deli in San Francisco, it produced an amazing roast-beef-mustard-bean sprouts-provolone-something else-on-tigerbread sandwich whose equal I have yet to find.

(A similar experience in Berlin has, on two magical occasions, gifted me with absolutely fantastic lamb kofta and a magnificent hamburger)

In this case, though, because New Yorkers like to experiment and deli owners are more than willing to take the money of suckers, I wound up ordering -- against all semblance of logic -- a radish and beef spagheti with sriracha sauce instead of spaghetti.

It will probably not surprise you terribly much to learn that this is not edible.

But for the most part, I was not particularly amazed by New York, which mostly set itself off as a more expensive version of the place I already happen to be. I'm not sure what I was missing, other perhaps than a general lack of suitable parks. Central Park is good, but not quite good enough to my way of thinking.

But I'll have the chance to explore it again next weekend, since I'm headed back for a brief 48-hour stay there beginning next Sunday. Fortunately I'm bringing a book for the planeride, or I think I'd find myself starting to go mad.
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