January 7, 2009

THE Reasons We Love New York

…Or Why It Grows On You:

1. The best roasted nuts from street vendors. You don’t want to know if they clean the pots and if they wash their hands before they fry them in sugar, for that matter. But there is nothing like these street nuts anywhere in the world. (And yes, I’ve traveled. The only thing that comes close to them are roasted street chestnuts in Paris.)

2. It does not matter that you have to walk a few blocks, take a subway and then walk more – New York women are notorious for their high-heel uncomfortable stilettos and men applaud women in heels, but they also applaud women, who are pregnant and still take stairs up and down in humid subway WEARING HEELS.

3. As much as we hate rudeness from fellow New Yorkers, you forget about it on the Times Square, Soho and 5th Avenue when you have to make your way through clueless tourists. All of the sudden, you remember you have your elbows.

4. Pedestrians hate taxis. Taxis hate pedestrians. But New Yorkers do like to be punctual, perhaps because of less tolerance. Everyone is in a hurry: we eat food on a go, we put on make-up on a go and we pick up dog’s poop on a go - New York is busy and we like it.

5. There is nothing like a good New York steak. (Maybe only Texans can compete in the one-on-one wrestle.)

6. New York brought us Woody Allen, Watergate’s Woodward and Bernstein, Michael Barishnikov, The Producers, Sex and the City, Friends and 30 Rock’s Tina Fey. Can we ask for a better "team?"

7. It is all about Broadway and that reduced-price ticket line on Broadway and 47th. (Nothing is more satisfying than seeing The Producers and Chicago at a 50-percent ticket discount.)

8. New York men and women. New York women think New York men are freaks. New York men think New York women are freaks. And we use this “excuse” to get in and out of the relationships.

9. Matt Lauer. He might be wearing suits on TV, but it is not his TV charisma that appeals...No comment.

10. There is nothing like special "days" in New York - there is nothing like the Fleet Week (and the sailors who come with it.)

11. You can always be sure that your neighbors know everything that is going on with you. Don’t worry if you didn’t say ‘hello’ to your neighbor today; you can always wave them from your window.

12. New York women like no other women on the planet care as much about fashion as they care about their weight, and willingly fall deep in credit abuse just to be able to wear the latest from Christian Louboutin or Manolo Blahnik.

(And the best representative of them all is Carrie Bradshaw, thanks to a very creative and unique woman behind the SATC - their costume designer, Patricia Field.)

13. Street vendors, any street vendors. Soho, Noho, Dumbo, East/West Villages, Park Slop, Williamsburg. A paradise for women with an eye for handmade accessories.

14. Shopping. Even Europeans can’t help it but bring their Euros and Pounds to do New York shopping. Same way as LA celebrities go on a shopping spree to Barney’s, Saks 5th Ave and Bergdorf Goodman.

15. There are all four seasons. And as much as New Yorkers hate humidity in summer, fall puddles from rain and snow that ruins their expensive Italian leather boots, but four seasons is one of the things everyone misses when it is not around.

16. Singles. New York is a great school for dating. Date in New York, marry in Connecticut.

17. In-real time and un-announced witnessing of celebrities. You don’t have to go to as far as Hollywood or Universal and Paramount Pictures studios, to witness on a regular day filming or a photo-shoot process of a movie, music video and/or a commercial. (Woody Allen has been filming his movies around the city all his life and during my 5-year life in New York, I witnessed his filmings four times.)

(Russian deli on Brighton Beach, Brooklyn)

18. New York is international all the way, from French chefs to Greek spas, from British advertisers to Japanese graphic designers, from Italian tailors to Russian IT specialists, from Indian Telecommunicators to South-American traders. And as long as we all had our vaccines; we would be fine mingling among each other.

19. New York was built to keep homes warm. And as long as the heat is on, the winters can be tolerated, at least at night.

20. Variety. Variety in everything, from food to dance classes, from drinks to bookstores, from movie theatres to jewelry stores, from music venues to spas, from dialects to vegetarian cafes, from yoga studios to lounges. It can’t get any more “diverse” than that.

21. New York boroughs offer cultures in one city without a need to leave the city: from Russian and Italian Brooklyn to Greek Astoria and Long Island, from Orthodox Jewish Washington Heights to Dominican Republican Bronx.

22. Direct flights to almost all of the world’s cities. New York airports carry all hubs, from Lufthansa to Malev (Romanian), from Aeroflot (Russian) to KLM (Dutch), from AirFrance (French) to LOT (Polish.) If you absolutely have to, you can get to Europe direct in just five hours. It does not feel like you are away from your country, if you are a foreigner, as much as it does if you live in Ohio or Texas, for example.

23. New Yorkers know how to party. At any time, any day and at any season. There is nothing like a taxi at a 4am after a long night at the Avalon.

24. Wall Street men. There is nothing like a room full of powerful men in rage and making money.

25. Smart literature, smart journalists. Just for the reason that New York has voted against Bush is enough for me to admire it. However, the reason that New York has invented The New Yorker – is even a better reason to admire it for.

26. Marathons. It does not matter if it’s unbearably freezing - cold or unbearably humid - hot outside, reason or no reason – New Yorkers run and they run “for life”: Avon Breast Cancer Walk, The ING New York City Marathon, EIF Revlon Run/Walk For Women, Aids Walk New York, just among many others.

(New Yorkers always come up with a cause to walk or run: Kelly Ripa and hundreds of other high-heel clad runners participate in the first annual "Live with Regis & Kelly" High Heel-A-Thon held in New York City's Central Park. The event was sponsored by Dr. Scholl's and raised money for the March of Dimes.)

27. Macy’s. A historic department store that is, literally, a New York landmark, has brought NY as much publicity as Donald Trump. Founded as a dry good store in 1858 by Rowland Hussey Macy, Macy’s is not only the largest department store in New York, but it also sets up festive moods throughout the year and is a notorious place not only for it’s pre-holiday sales but also for Thanksgiving Day Parade and July 4th Fireworks.

(Macy's Thanksgiving Parades of 1939 and 2007)

Visit Macy's, at 121 W 34th St, New York, NY 10001. Metro stops: yellow (34th Herald Square), green (33rd).

Visit Donald Trump Tower, 725 Fifth Avenue (and 56th Street).

28. David Letterman. Should I say any more, except that this man is ‘one hundred years old’ and is still going on strong (Letterman has been a host of Late Show with David Letterman since 1993.) And not because he has had to, but because New Yorkers are not letting him go. His sharp and smart New York-Jewish humor brings NBC more viewers than any other late night show. One of his memorable moments was when he was the first to return to regular broadcasts following the events of September 11, 2001. His heartfelt monologue, delivered from behind his desk set the bar for other programs. His most memorable quote: "As I understand it - and my understanding of this is vague, at best - another smaller group of people stole some airplanes and crashed them into buildings. And we're told that they were zealots fueled by religious fervor - religious fervor. And if you live to be a thousand years old, will that make any sense to you? Will that make any goddamned sense?"

Some of the Most Memorable Shows:

-David Letterman Looses It

Drew Barrymore Flashes Dave

-Dave’s Mockery of Paris Hilton

Tickets for Late Show with David Letterman, anyone can get a free ticket to see the show live, just go to CBS official site.

29. TV shows, news and reality shows – it ain’t all about Hollywood, NY has been around longer than Los Angeles and has been the origin of many beloved shows and news, from The Today Show, The View, CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, Live with Regis and Kelly to Saturday Night Live and Lipstick Jungle.

For Katie Couric’s one-on-one exclusive interview specials with Sarah Palin, that are unofficially acknowledged as the interviews that shook Palin’s supporters to the core, go to:

-Sarah Palin’s exclusive for CBS Evening News

Katie Couric speaks with Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin about her various positions on foreign policy and diplomacy

Sarah Palin talks Russia with Katie Couric

And if Katie Couric’s interviews were not enough to bring out the incompetence of Mrs. Palin, Tina Fey finished her off with her impersonation.

30. There is a reason why all Americans, including the rest of the world, turn to New York TV programming on holidays. Nothing marks as beginning of winter holidays and celebrations like Rockefeller Christmas Tree lighting, and New York New Year Eve’s Ball Drop. This year alone, about a million people came to the Times Square for the Ball drop and more than 100 million people turned to TV live special to see the New Year Eve celebration, a tradition that began more than 100 years ago, when the ball was made from iron and wood and covered with about 100 light bulb – a far cry from this year’s massive, crystal-coated ball!

Visit Rockefeller Center in the heart of midtown Manhattan to tour backstage NBC Studios, see the roaring views from the Top and complete a visit with ice-skating at the Rockefeller ice-rink under the famous Christmas tree.

31. Yellow-cabin Taxis, there is no other taxis in the world that we have a love-hate relationship with. On one hand they are always there, no matter how early or late it is and no matter in what dump of part of the city you are, they will be there to pick you up. On the other hand, they can be ignorant, rude, busy, frivoling and suicidal and if you are not in the cab, but rather outside of it – those annoying cutoffs, run-offs and endless honking can be nerve-racking. (It’s all about the art of catching one, there is always someone who is first to step out and grab your taxi.)

32. New York Fashion Weeks. Not that you are one of the lucky owners of a pass to visit one of those Fashion shows at the Bryant Park, but who knows – you might know someone, who knows someone, who knows someone who can get a ticket to a show. Even if it’s not Marc Jacobs’ or Donna Karan’s shows, they make a new-comer’s show as entertaining and flashy as any other ones. But don’t worry, you don’t have to attend a show to see top models live, they roam free in New York, which makes the lives of all other single women less tolerable and more as fighters according to the law of “survival of the fittest.”

Visit Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, for more information (and start digging out your contacts and making calls.)

33. Central Park. The only place that saves New Yorkers from humid summers, offers year-around entertainment and plenty of space for sport activities.

34. There is nothing like New York delis, open 24/7…to compensate for the lack of kitchen space at homes.

35. Subway. Hate it. Love it. Hate it for smell, dirt, crowd, rats, homeless and beggars. But there is nothing that can get someone from one end of the city to the other end at almost any time of a day.

("Annie Hall" by Woody Allen, filmed in and around New York)

I stop at "number 35" reasons for Why We Love New York. Of course, I could go on and on and mention diversity of cuisine, concentration of all industries/professions/trades in one city, presence of all art forms and artists from around the world, Halloween parade, etc. etc. etc. But I think for every person, NY would stand for something only you put into a special association - some people go and fall in love for a different reason(s). I'll leave it up to you to experience the city and make your own conclusion on how you feel about it.

1 comment:

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