New York – 10 Expectations I Held Before I Went

I’m finally back on line and back on the blog.

A big thank you to my three guest posters.  I hope you liked the articles posted last week, something a bit different from the norm.

So, I finally did it – I ticked off one more thing from my Life Ticket – I visited NYC.  My first ever trip to the USA and what an adventure it’s been.  I loved every moment of it.  It was like being sucked into a completely different world.

10 days of non-stop exploring all that the city of New York had to offer.  And offer it did.

Lots of different areas, attractions, restaurants, shops, boroughs, food, people, weather and even wildlife.

I thought long and hard about how best to show off what I saw over the past 10 days and I think the photographs really speak for themselves. They will be coming up in the next post – I need to process all 873 of them 😉

When I visit new places I always have expectation about it before I go.  NYC was no different, however the reality to my expectations was somewhat, and usually in a nice way, quite different so I thought I’d share some of those today.

10 Things I had expectations about before heading to NYC and how they really turned out.

  1. I expected to see fast food restaurants everywhere.  In fact I found it incredibly difficult to find any!  The food was always really healthy and restaurants (of all prices) had really good food to eat.  Sure you could buy a burger but it wasn’t a crappy fast food burger it was a 100% beef with quality salad next to it.
  2. I expected to hear more foreign accents.  This may have been the time of year but I only ever seemed to over-hear the cracking NY accent (could listen to that for hours), Hispanic, Russian and Australian.
  3. I expected the food portions to be massive, everywhere.  Boy you could get mega sandwiches, and in one instance a mega cup of soda (which was apparently just the medium size), but they were the only exceptions.  Even in the supermarket size was found as over here.  I later found out that NYC has banned a lot of the ‘big’ portion food stuff in an effort to curb high levels of obesity – which I never saw, so either it’s working or the winter coats were hiding all things untold!
  4. I expected the weather to be cold – but not THAT cold!  It was so cold my camera kept discharging it’s battery!  I mean it was just silly cold, with people who I spoke to saying it was colder than normal.  There were level 1 warnings in operation most of the time advising people not to spend great lengths of time outside otherwise you’d catch hypothermia!  Obviously this only applied to the locals because you could spot us ‘tourists’ a mile off – we were the ones still outside with 101 layers on, all bundled up like we were about to trek the Antarctic because nothing and no-one was going to stop us seeing the city!
  5. I didn’t expect the TV to be so good.  You know me, I don’t watch TV.  However there were so many good cable channels on the TV.  The best had to be Fox5 Good Morning NY, in which two crazy presenters that enjoyed every minute of their air time pumped me up ready for the cold.  It was such crazy stuff, I loved it.  Completely different to the programmes we get over here.  In fact I could have just spent a week over there doing nothing else but channel surfing – that’s how entertaining it was.
  6. I didn’t expect the street grid to be so hard to navigate.  Don’t get me wrong, the grid itself is extremely easy but I think I must have been missing a trick because every time we set off somewhere we ended up either going up the wrong street or across the wrong avenue.  I mean it’s grid so you know where you’re starting but then how the heck do you know what direction you need to head to?  Lucky, for me, the blocks were pretty small, so any mistakes were quickly rectified!
  7. I didn’t expect people to be so friendly.  My experience of London means people are usually in a hurry, quick to serve, and tend to not even give you eye contact.  The majority of people we interacted with were really nice and took time to speak with us.  In fact people just randomly started talking to us – especially in Central Park. but also in shops, attractions and at the hotel.
  8. I didn’t expect the level of security to be so high every where we went.  Maybe Americans are used to it but you couldn’t go far without police/security presence.  Taking your finger prints as you come into the country is completely alien and the fact you had to have your bags, coats and belts checked every time you went into a major attraction (bar the Natural History Museum) was quite unusual for me.  I was followed twice by security guards as I looked around department stores .  They weren’t even following at a respectable nonchalant pace either, they were right behind me (clearly I must look shifty!) and so obviously trailing me.  I wouldn’t have minded but I was in the home department floor – I’m not sure how they thought I could have fitted a leather sofa under my coat.   I can understand why they do it but even so, we may need to take a leaf out of their book over here because…
  9. I didn’t expect to feel so relaxed walking about.  Now, I know NYC had done a LOT of clearing up of hot spots and danger zones but even so I felt safer in NYC than I do in London.  And that went for the boroughs and the subway too, including both day and night to boot.
  10. I knew Americans were very positive, upbeat people with a ‘Can Do’ approach to life (The great American Dream, right?).  I’d seen that through various programmes, films, and blogs I read on-line but there is nothing like it to experience it for real.  I came away having spoken to people that thought nothing of working 12 hour shifts, and getting up two hours before so they could appreciate their time, people that would clean up other people’s dogs’ mess because it would just ‘get to them’ if they just left it.  People in their 70’s that would happily volunteer all their spare time to helping others in need.  Every one was busy, and every one had a job to do.  It might have just been to hold an elevator door open but they did it with commitment and grace.  No-one was moaning, no one complained.

That is why this adventure was a life affirming experience for me.  It’s a attitude I whole heartily embrace.  It’s not always easy to get on and feel positive, but it’s better than just sitting down and moaning about things.

Every one was important and everyone had a part to play to make their country even better.  The Brits think that’s corny.  We do the whole stiff upper lip and ignore everything unless there is an emergency and then we leap into action but I think on a day to day basis putting a smile on and wishing people a good day is a nice way to start the day 🙂

One thing is for sure, I loved the City and I’d be happy to visit again any time (although maybe when it’s a little warmer, like above zero, would be good!).

Have you been to NYC, or are you an American?  Is my feedback right, or was I just walking around with tourist tinted glasses on?  I’d love to hear your views about the City.  


Cover photo courtesy of Blue Ridge Kitties


10 responses to “New York – 10 Expectations I Held Before I Went

  1. I’m so glad you had a marvelous time! I’ve yet to make it to New York, but an American. I think you’ve found a good mix of what it can be like and a little rose-colored glasses. 🙂 There’s definitely more complaining in my experience than it sounds like you found, but perhaps that’s still less than your previous experiences?

    • I thought there may have been some holiday-eskness to it but I genuinely liked everyone I met and was pleased to hear so many positive people (in such a short space of time). I’ll aim to see if I can find positive people closer to home 😉

      • I mentioned your experience to some better-traveled folks than I. They said that compared to London, NYC would seem quite friendly. They live in Vermont (and were in Texas) and said if you really want to be bowled over by friendliness, the southern US is where it’s at 😉

  2. Hi Sophie
    Glad you had a great trip. I totally relate to your reflections. I went to NY for the first time about 3 years ago. I had high expectations but NY surpassed them all. Now my favourite city in the world. My best story was of being on a busy subway. The only seat was next to a tough , gangster looking guy. I sat down v tentatively only for him to politely offer his seat to my partner Jane. Ya gotta love NY x

    • That is such a great story!
      It’s funny how you expect people to be based on their looks and yet they hardly (if ever) actually match up to it.
      I see you’ve done quite a bit of travelling. Are there any places you’d recommend?

    • Thank you very much Marge. Being an introvert means I’m not all that into people anyway and my experiences of big cities, especially London, has never been that positive but perhaps I’ll give it another go. Life is just that little bit easier when you see a smile or be wished a good day even when it’s mega busy and packed out. 🙂

  3. I’ve always found London to be friendly too. Funny what you said about languages and accents — I often hear other languages spoken in NYC, in hotels especially, and hardly ever get a cab driver who knows more than a smidgeon of English.

    • Ah well we didn’t actually get a chance to hail a cab as the subway was so good but yes, imagine lots of accents being heard that way.
      I probably make London sound worse than it really is because having lived down that way I was never really a fan but Im sure like anywhere it has friendly & arsey people too 😉

  4. Pingback: A Look Back at my Year – 2014 | The Forget-me-Not Cultivation Blog·

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