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New Orleans-ishman in New York — Part One

union square new york 2I spent the past weekend in New York and had a fabulous time. I was there with my friend Julie for an event put on every year by the French Government tourist office to promote travel opportunities between America and France.

It had been over 16 years since I’d been to New York. Then it was dirty, homeless people seemingly seemed to be everywhere, and I felt there was an attitude of un-friendliness that for me, coming from a friendly city like New Orleans, was hard to bare.

Now, I gotta say that some of what I saw and felt might have been me so I’m not going to blame that whole past experience on New York alone.

As I get older I find that I’m a little more accepting of what is and a lot more appreciative of life. Back then I was also bothered by the fact that it seem everywhere I looked I was surrounded by towers of concrete and very little greenery.

What I noticed this time was a marked absence of the homeless, clean streets, and very friendly people. In fact, not once did I encounter the mythical New York rudeness. People on the subway were only too happy to give us directions and one fellow actually got off the subway train with us and walked us through corridors and gates and brought us directly to our next train.

All the subway cars we were on were fresh and modern, not the old dingy, dirty cars of years ago. I always wondered why Europe seemed to have a nicer subway system than New York. They have beautiful stations and beautiful, modern cars.

New York’s subways are still pretty old and run down (New York’s system is a lot older than Europe’s) but I gotta say that the system is fast and efficient, although a little confusing to a newcomer. But the city dwellers themselves were only too happy to give us directions.

This time I enjoyed walking through and with the masses of people on the sidewalks and in the subways. I actually found it to be fun. Also, the massive canyons of concrete instead of previously being a cause of oppression I now found fascinating. I guess I’m a little more tolerant than I used to be.


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