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Bright lights, big city

New York: a city of bright lights and brighter people. A city where everything and anything goes. After my minor altercation with the camera people, we spent the day in the Village, wandering from shop to shop with the occasional cosmopolitan in between. Rents are atrociously high with a flat in the Meatpacker district (smaller than mine here in BP) going for a meagre $6000 per month – yes, three zeros.  A little black bag in the second-hand shop had a price tag of €1200. A far cry from Cream at Corvin Negyed. A couple of cocktails could set you back $25 and that’s not including tip – mind you, the floor show alone (Tom Cruise eat your heart out) warranted the full 15%. But still I’m left wondering what people do to earn enough money to have the same quality of life that I have here in Budapest.

My neck did a great imitation of a periscope as I turned and twisted to ogle one person after another. I use that word advisedly as I was, on a number of occasions, staring quite rudely. The people are fascinating. The neighbourhoods so unique. The sense of ..well… America… is tangible. And of course, why wouldn’t it be? New York ranks up there as one of the most famous cities in the world.  It was the first Capital of the USA. The Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan is the only school in the world offering a BSc with a Major in Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing. Imagine how quickly that one would get you a job in the EU. We forget (or at least I do) that New York is both a city and a state and quite surprisingly, dairying is the most important farming activity with over 18,000 cattle in residence. It has 722 miles of subway track and it would take a week at least to get to grips with the alpha-numerical combinations and permutations so that you can figure your way around.

The New York Post established in 1803 by Alexander Hamilton is the oldest running newspaper in the United States. The pet cemetery in Hartsdale was established in 1896 and contains 12,000 plots. Was that where Stephen King got his inspiration? Ever wondered who Uncle Sam was? None other than Sam Wilson, a meatpacker from Troy. During the War of 1812, he stamped ‘US Beef’ on his products and soldiers interpreted the US abbreviation as meaning Uncle Sam. New York is also home  America’s first pizzeria opened by Gennaro Lombardi  in 1895.

So what did European settlers bring with them? Apple seeds. In the 1600s. But that’s not where the moniker ‘the Big Apple’ comes from. It’s a term coined by musicians meaning to play the big time. And in return, New York gave Europe toilet paper, invented by Joseph C. Gayetty in 1857.

Full of surprises, the buildings are old, beautiful, tarted up and run down. New Yorkers take to the outdoors to have their lunch and parks are full of sandwich- and salad-eating professionals each with their omnipotent cup of coffee from Starbucks. There are so many outlets that I suspect Starbucks is somehow sponsoring the city.

I ate Korean food for the first time at Do Hwa and can recommended it as something to try once before you die. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted anything quite like it and can only assume that the experience would be greatly improved had I  a native at hand who could just order for me.

Did I enjoy my time there? Definitely. Would I live there? Definitely not. But never say never… stranger things have happened. After all, I did move to Budapest thinking it was near the sea.

Want some more fun facts on New York?