It occurred to me that it certainly been a while since I did a posting on uberblog. I can’t help but reflect over the last few months as I’m enjoying the sun on this beautiful Sunday from the rooftop of my building overlooking the midtown Skyline. I’ve also gotten quite a few emails the last few weeks of people wondering if I’m still alive, so I thought I’d kill all those birds with one post.
As most of you know I’m not really living in NY, rather sleeping here on the weekends as I’ve been deployed out to a client in Chicago. It’s unfortunate as I’m not in the city as much as I would like, however the work is really interesting and I really do like the client. In any case I did spend a good amount of time in the city during June and July, and I’d like to share some of my observations with you from the perspective of a new immigrant (sort of like Eddie Murphy in Coming to America )
- Crowds, crowds and more crowds – I hate crowds of people. I get claustrophobic pretty easy, and moving to what is essentially is a peninsula with about 8 million people on it means you are constantly in a crowd the minute you leave your home. In the summer there are throngs of tourists, I never thought I’d be one of those New Yorkers that hate tourists, but alas – I do. The best is when you are trying to go to work, or come home from work, and there’s someone walking in front of you that stops randomly just to take a picture of some building. As Ludacris said, move bitch! At least go over to the side of the walkway as opposed to stopping right in the middle and having the pedestrian traffic stop to a halt behind you. Such inconsideration. 😐
- Taxis and transportation – As an alternative to having my own vehicle I do use cabs frequently in the city. I hate being late, and the subway has lead me to being late enough times such that most of the time I do take cabs when roaming on the weekend. The introduction of Uber (the car service) in NY has also really reduced the cost of cabs and there’s an insane amount of selection so luckily it hasn’t hit my pocketbook too badly. But one thing I hadn’t realized before moving here is that everything is pretty super close and you can walk nearly everywhere so that’s what I’ve been doing for the most part (I’m sure that’ll change in the winter). Unless it’s more than 20 blocks in which case I’ll walk a part of the way and then jump in a cab.
- The dreaded Subway – Most of you know I don’t use public transportation. I rarely used it in Toronto even though I always lived close to it and it was one of the negatives I had put on the list in terms of moving NY. I hate crowds (see #1 of this list), and the subway in NY especially during rush hours reminds you of a cesspool of germs just waiting to infiltrate your body so you can die a slow death. Okay I’m exaggerating, but not by much. The subway is really the best way to get around the city, if it’s a weekday. If it’s the weekend and summer time you’re fucked. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to Grand Central to be boned due to construction on a line, or just plain shut downs for no apparent reason. Then when you do take taxis it’s a whole other fiasco due to road closures. Oh and the sights and smells of the NY subway are varied, along with the local wildlife:
- The catered to lifestyle – Anna warned me about this, you can literarily get whatever you want, whenever you want. The only caveat with that, is this is true as long as you pay for it. I’ve been guilty of this, I got a warm chocolate chip cookie delivered to me late one night because I wanted a dessert after a brutal day. It really is quite ridiculous, but given the city is open pretty late sometimes it’s more convenient for the item to come to you then it is for you to go out especially for groceries as we don’t have a Loblaws or Sobey’s around the corner. Unfortunately this also draws out some of the socio-economic issues in the city, where at times it really does feel like there are two classes of people living here, those with the means to do what they want, and those that cannot. It’s very apparent and humbling as well if your conscious of it. I try to think that there’s a balance somewhere in between.
- Culture – It can be expensive if your idea of a good time is hitting the best clubs in town. However there are also opportunities to enjoy the culture and life of New York without being a baller. I mean just from the perspective of street festivals, galleries, and just plain stuff to do every weekend. Keep in mind I haven’t really had to enjoy it as much as I’d like, but it is pretty awesome when you can get out. In a few weeks I’m planning on going humpback whale watching in the bay. Who even knew you could do that in NY, yes I know sometimes it’s the simple pleasures..
Photo credit: NY Times City Blog
- One of the most awesome cities in the world – At the end of it all, I don’t regret the move over here. There are many challenges both personally and professionally when you take on a move like this after being well established in another city but one thing is for certain, the opportunities are boundless. The x-factor in this whole situation is that I really do miss Toronto, and a question as to whether I’ll like the Management Consulting lifestyle in the long run. It’s not easy from the travel perspective, you’re out either late Sunday or early Monday, and then back late on Thursday, with home office duties on the Friday. It’s become quite apparent that nearly all the people I work with see their families and friends only on the weekends with very little life in between as we’re always working when at the client site. I’m not sure if that’s the life I want but at least for the moment, I’m trying to enjoy it.
I’m sure there will be a part deux to this post in a few months.. stay tuned!