Even spending just a few days in New York City results in a host of stories. I can't imagine spending a lifetime there. Here are few more from my trip.
Move, Get Out The Way
In New York I always felt like I was in the way. Even with designated walking and biking lanes, certain areas get so tight there really is not actual separation. And with people moving in all different directions you constantly find yourself heading straight into another person’s path.
In other parts of the world, this usually means you start to walk a different path. Not New York.
In one such instance, I was headed toward a staircase while another guy was descending down. We were aimed right toward each other. Did he start to dive to his right while I did the same? No, he kept his line while uttering “MOVE. MOVE. MOVE."
One of my favorite Seinfeld episodes, and likely shared by many others, is “The Chinese Restaurant,” where Elaine, George and Jerry are waiting to be seated at a New York chinese restaurant. The entire episode consists of them waiting and never getting that table.
I had my own moment with my three friends as we stood outside of Go Go Dim Sum in Chinatown. We were number 82, and as the numbers crept up closer to ours, we noticed numbers 84 and 85 and others higher than 82 were being called. They seemed to being going to larger and smaller parties than ours, so we just assumed our "just the right size" table was not ready.
At one point we even got a "you’re next." But minutes ticked away and more tables were seated. Finally, we asked what was going on and apparently our names had been crossed off, the host thinking we had been seated.
Once we were finally seated, we ordered several dim sum dishes, including a veggie sampler platter. Also despite not ordering it, a pot of tea was placed on our table. While two of my friends and I feasted on our carnivore friendly dishes, our one vegetarian friend waited and waited for her sampler. And we drank the tea.
On three occasions we asked for a status, and after 45 minutes of completing all of meat-laden dishes, the veggie platter came out.
The server was apologetic and began to motion to the platter that was sitting next to that pot of tea that was brought out -- once again, without us ordering it -- to our table earlier. He apologized for how long it took for the food to come out and as a make good, would not be charging us for …. the tea.
The tea, that we did not even order. We waited 45 minutes for a plate of food after our initial order of food was brought out. And they comp the $2 tea?
New York City is known for being a city that moves at such a fast pace. People zooming and weaving through each other, honking their car horns and paying no mind to "Don't Walk" signals. But I discovered something rather interesting. To get anything done in New York actually takes a lot of time. In that sense, it’s a city that moves rather slow.
The problem is, with so many people in such a confined space and most whose only means of transportation is to walk or use public transit, you are at the mercy of those two things.
How fast can you walk? How quickly will the train or bus get you where you need to go?
With a limited amount of time in the day, there are are only a few things you can really get done. Whereas, in a place like San Diego, where everyone drives, parking is plentiful -- yes even in the Gaslamp as compared to New York -- one can check many things off their "to do lists" throughout the day. And if you forgot something in one part of town, just get back in your car and double back.
There is no doubling back in New York, well not at least if you are not on a time crunch, and who isn't these days.
New York, in my observation, is the slowest, fast paced city I know.
In case you missed it, here is Stories From New York, Part 1.