This city invokes exclamation marks!
Stepping off a 10-hour flight from Moscow, we can feel the energy pulsating from the concrete up through the floor of our jetbridge.
“Америка!” I nudge economist husband.
We can taste the freedom, the difference mingled with whiffs of deep-fried food on the subway where we’re the only white people and humming, blinking, flashing with the lights on Times Square.
Fresh from big-city Moscow, we’re in awe of the differences. If we feel cramped and oppressed in Moscow, there’s a sense of wide-open freedom here. The people, the food, the clothes, the facial expressions, skin colors, smells and sights all seem to be different, louder, brighter, bigger.
We like it.
First impressions are quite often over-positive, especially when you’re on your first day of vacation, but what we noticed right away in New York was:
- A palpable sense of freedom – people do what they want here.
- A familiar brusqueness, but without the usual accompanying fear that we get in Moscow. People look you in the eye and tell you what they think.
- “Unity” as economist husband called it – African, Asian, European, Hispanic all walking, working, eating at Applebees together. There’s no noticeable class difference based on race (or at least not like the White Russian vs. Central Asian differences we see in Moscow)
- It’s loud! Don’t get us wrong – Moscow is noisy, but people are generally more hushed and subdued. In New York you don’t usually have to ask anyone to speak up.
- We don’t feel like we’re being watched in New York. Like I said – people do what they want. They talk loudly, wear crazy clothes, and swing their arms when they walk. If you have a problem with it – well, deal with it.
We wish we had more time, but a 17-hour layover was just enough for subway rides, last-minute tickets to Phantom of the Opera, a bank errand, and hamburgers over Times Square. Economist husband hands-down wins date-night-of-the-century award! 🙂
Like I said, the city invokes its’ own exclamation marks!