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Pegontheroad Apr 13th, 2007 08:35 PM

What's so special about New York City?
Last summer in Germany a young Turkish guy was asking me about the States. What are salaries like? How big are houses? Kind of general lifestyle questions.

Then he asked me what is so special about New York. Why do people go there, and what is it like?

I visited NYC briefly many years ago, but I really didn't know what to tell him. I mumbled something about different neighborhoods, theater, etc., but I was at a loss for a meaningful answer. Now I'm curious about the opinions of Fodorites, both American and non-American visitors.

What do you think?

mrwunrfl Apr 13th, 2007 08:59 PM

It's the place to go if you want to make a brand new start of it.

rjw_lgb_ca Apr 14th, 2007 10:21 AM

It's the historical cultural center of the US. It's the financial center of the US. It's the best of Europe combined with the can-do spirit that represents the best of American culture. It is everything you'd ever want in life in a small geographic space. Its history is alive, it never stops, it's old yet new and vibrant at the same time. To go there is to fall in love with it.

NeoPatrick Apr 14th, 2007 10:45 AM

To me it's the biggest, best, loudest, and brightest of the US. I get an energy from the vibrant atmosphere. The reason I go is of course for theatre, but the bright lights, crowds, and noise are what I like most about it -- so different from my own "quiet" life. That's why I don't get it when people say to stay away from Times Square. Huh? That's the different thing about the city that I go FOR. If I wanted quiet neighborhood I'd stay home and save the money. It would be sort of like going to Las Vegas and avoiding neon, casinos, and shows. Why go?

LLindaC Apr 14th, 2007 10:50 AM

You may have started a very long thread!I'll never understand why people go to Europe and do London, Paris, madrid and home. That is not seeing Europe the way doing Chicago, NYC and LA are not in any way like visiting bardstown, KY. Google that! However, historically, NYC is the first seat of Congress where Washington was sworn in as the first pres. It's where our many ancestors arrived on ships. Its a city which embraces diversity as no other. It never sleeps. Since 9/11, it has become more friendly and humble, IMO. It has the best restaurants, shows, shopping and art than any other city. Don't argue with me. It's a phenom in it's own, but definitely not a representation of life in America.

Kealalani Apr 14th, 2007 10:51 AM

Ethnicly nearly every country in the world is represented. What other city in the world can claim that?

rjw_lgb_ca Apr 14th, 2007 11:04 AM

Well, Los Angeles.

But we don't have the central place in American history that New York City does.

Vittrad Apr 14th, 2007 11:35 AM

Because there is a unique energy to the place that is hard to find elsewhere in other US cities. And because it IS the historical cultural center of the US, so much of the arts (except for hollywood stuff) come out of new york, it is hard not to ignore that. Not to mention, it is just a fun place, I enjoy visiting.

And LLindaC, it is as much of a representation of life in America as where you live. I'm an urban dweller myself (I live 3 miles northwest of Chicago's loop) and admit to relating to what goes on in the day to day life of a new yorker (I know a few and we've had this discussion) much more than I would someone from Bardstown, KY (e.g., I don't own a car, fight for my place on the subway to get to work everyday, live within 2 miles of more theaters, art galleries, and music venues that I'll probably get around to going to; live in a neighborhood with Ukrainian, Puerto Rican, and Polish restaurants and groceries, etc), and that is my American experience just as life in Bardstown, KY is your American experience.

I always get a bit confused when people complain that visiting a large city doesn't give one the American experience, exactly who are living in these large cities, Martians?

DonnieD Apr 14th, 2007 12:02 PM

You can wake up in the city that never sleeps ... and if you can make it there you can make it anywhere .

Gekko Apr 14th, 2007 12:09 PM

To me, a New Yorker, New York City is the center of the universe because of the people it attracts.

The best &amp; brightest <i>in the world</i> flock to NYC -- from both ends of the spectrum.

On the &quot;right,&quot; if you will, NYC attracts the most intelligent, most aggressive, and most motivated graduates of the top business, law &amp; medical schools. If you want to be the <i>best</i>, you come to New York.

On the &quot;left,&quot; NYC attracts the most amazing, talented actors, musicians, artists &amp; thinkers. They are <i>here</i>, collaborating, competing, feeding off each other.

The concentration of extraordinary people in this city constantly amazes me, and I look forward to meeting a new one every day.

Why is New York City so special? Speak with some New Yorkers and you'll quickly discover the answer.

NeoPatrick Apr 14th, 2007 12:12 PM

&quot;It's a phenom in it's own, but definitely not a representation of life in America.&quot;

Huh? I'd have to disagree with that. I have no idea of the statistics as to what percentage of Americans live in metropolitan areas as opposed to rural areas, but don't prejudice your possible preference to small town America as being the only &quot;real&quot; life represented in this country.

And be the same token, I find visiting major European cities a much more definitive view of life and culture in those countries as I do in rural Europe. People in rural Italy really don't live that much differently from the farmers in Ohio I grew up with (other than that they speak a different language). There is very little similarity between my childhood in Ohio and life in Rome, however.

beentheretwice Apr 14th, 2007 12:15 PM

Part of the reason NYC is different is the lack of sprawl. Most cities when they need more space, build out--hence urban sprawl. NYC is confined to the island of Manhattan. That gives the place a cachet other big urban centers lack. NYC is physically separated from its surroundings. It really is special to be succesful in New York City. It has a boundary.

Start spreading the news!

bashawdi Apr 14th, 2007 12:19 PM

Vibrant, alive, thrilling, ethnically diverse, hip, and just an incredibly unique place.

I've been once with my hubby, but it made a big impression on me. We hope to take our son to NYC in the not so distant future.

I love to travel and have seen many fabulous &amp; interesting cities and countries in my time, but I feel there isn't another place like New York City.

Vittrad Apr 14th, 2007 12:23 PM

beentheretwice - NYC is not confined to the island of Manhattan, to my relatives that lived in places like Queens, Brooklyn, and Long Island, those would have been 'fightin' words' ;)

rjw_lgb_ca Apr 14th, 2007 12:24 PM

Patrick: 80% of the current US population lives in urban areas. Interesting statistic, IMHO.

New York City rocks. That says it all for me.

beentheretwice Apr 14th, 2007 05:24 PM

I think when people are visiting NYC, they aren't heading to Long Island. And since I was born in Queens and lived on Long Island, I know the fightin' words. The mailing address for my cousin in Queens, is Queens, not NYC!

Close, but no cigar!

NeoPatrick Apr 14th, 2007 06:02 PM

&quot;Patrick: 80% of the current US population lives in urban areas.&quot;

I'm not terribly surprised, but it is a higher figure than I would have guessed.
But then I suppose that means that people who come to the US and visit small town or rural America are NOT getting the true representation of life in the US. Those who visit NYC, Chicago, LA, or San Francisco are getting a much truer picture of how the &quot;average&quot; American lives.

nytraveler Apr 14th, 2007 06:13 PM

New York is all that is best about the US. Not that there aren;t problems - there are everywhere.

But New York embodies what the US is about - diversity, tolerance, achievement, generosity (taxes from NYC support federal funding to the 6 or 7 poorest states) and opportunity for EVERYONE.

For the US it is the center of finance, education, medicine, fashion, publishing, culture, the arts (popular and more highbrow), sports, information, technology - and just about anything else you can name.

Natraully there are other cities that excell in a couple of the above - but none that comes anywhere near New York in most of them.

It attracts the best and the brightest in all fields, while still caring for those in need (NYC is the only major city in the US with it's own hospital system - not one hospital - but an entire system, including sepcialty hospitals and a plethora of clinics).

And while it may not compare in natural beauty with some of the national parks - seeing the harbor from the Verazzano bridge - or the lights of Manhattan when coming in over the Triborough or GRB - is city is truly breathtaking.

J62 Apr 14th, 2007 06:50 PM

According to the US Government, urban areas include all urbanized areas (over 50,000 population) and Urban Clusters (2,500 to 49,999 population) as defined by the Bureau of the Census in the 2000 Decennial Census.

According to this definition, any small town USA with population over 2500 is defined as urban.

tburke99 Apr 14th, 2007 08:10 PM

I really enjoy NY, though New Yorkers, especially Yankee fans, are not all that pleasant.

The city has everything you could imagine from highbrow to the lowest of the low. Like other northeastern cities and unlike LA (which I also like) is has real neighborhood feels. LA's CBD is a wasteland; no one lives there and it is deserted at the end of the business day. NY has no place like that.

No one suggested that NY embodies all of America, but just like you must go to PAris, London or Rome, you must go to NY&gt;

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