I have to admit that I have never been thrilled with the thought of going to New York City. I can’t really put my finger on it. Perhaps it was the fact that driving and parking were terrible (how is that different from many other large cities I have been to?) Perhaps it is the stories of people getting robbed or mugged. That happens elsewhere too, but it seems to be more known in NY. Perhaps it is just because I grew up in a modest midwest town and got used to that lifestyle. I am not sure what it was, but it made me uneasy when I was told to travel there to help a customer with their software implementation.
To be clear, I have been to upstate New York and found it very enjoyable – much like Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
My trip took me in to Newark airport and I caught a shuttle over to Manhattan. That took care of the driving issue – don’t drive. During the ride, I couldn’t help but snap a few photos as we went past the Statue of Liberty, and had a great view of the Manhattan skyline. There in front of me were so many icons, it was like watching TV – only now I knew the perspective of the camera. We went through the Holland Tunnel which I thought a bit antiquated. The two narrow lanes in each direction were made even thinner with a charter bus in front of us and along side us. Wanda, the shuttle driver never flinched.
Once through the tunnel, I found Manhattan to much like many other large cities. It was a cross between Chicago and London in my opinion. (The London part comes from the way the streets intersect at odd angles.) Again, many famous places came in to view like Broadway, Stanton Island Ferry Landing, and Wall Street (although by the time we got there it was just after dusk so there wasn’t much to see.) We also ran in to a narrow one-way street with a beer truck that ran in to a bit of an unloading accident. There on the ground were several cases of Corona beer with many smashed bottles littered about. Wanda waited carefully as the beer truck driver kicked the bottles aside with his foot so we could pass. Just another day for someone, but an interesting first impression of the area for me.
Without going in to other long and boring details of the trip, I must say that my impression of New York has changed. I enjoyed spending time with the customer, wandering about and exploring some of the bars and restaurants in the financial district, and even watching the local news. I’m no longer apprehensive about going back and I’ll keep this experience in mind as I got to other large cities that might make me uneasy.
One final note – on the way out Friday morning, the taxi took me past the site for the former World Trade Center building. There was a moment of reverence and respect as we passed.