200 things you simply have to know about New York (part three)

Here’s the third installment of the epic list to celebrate 200 posts. Think you know New York yet? Think again.

101. If officials made it any easier to access the subway without paying, babies who have consistently had their candy taken from them for the last 200 years would be relieved of their ridicule.
102. Aviator sunglasses are compulsory uniform in New York. Especially on the subway.
103. You have to pay a toll to get out of Brooklyn on the Verrazano Bridge, but it’s free to come back. This can only be a ploy to stop cheap New Yorkers from leaving.
104. It is easier to thread a camel through the eye of a needle than to find a New York block that doesn’t have some kind of shop offering you ten different types of turkey.
105. Native New Yorkers love their city with a passion.
106. If you ever needed proof that the legs of 80% of Americans will drop off if they’re forced to walk more than 100 yards in a day, look no further than New York and its subway system that stops every ten blocks.
107. Drop a nickel from the Empire State Building and it’ll be worth two cents by the time it hits the ground, such is the economic crisis afflicting the US at the moment.
108. Too many Brits in New York use their nationality as an excuse for their arrogant behaviour. It’s no excuse, fellow countrymen…
109. There are more knock offcounterfeit bags purporting to be genuine Prada/Coach/Louis Vuitton than in all of Hong Kong, Thailand and Singapore combined. It’s easier to pick up a fake Chloe handbag in Chinatown than it is to get a portion of General Tso’s chicken with steamed rice.
110. Everybody’s desperate to be part of New York. Especially the people of West New York. They’re in New Jersey.
111. I’ve seen more broken feet in New York in the last two months than I’ve probably ever seen in my life. Either that, or vain New Yorkers have been told that the orthopedic boot you have to wear is actually a post-modernist fashion statement. But only if you wear it on one foot.
112. There is so much construction work in the city that official estimates suggest the whole of New York could be rebuilt within three years.
113. The cannoli. Why?
114. Walking past a bar and seeing ‘soccer’ on a big screen still surprises me every time.
115. It doesn’t matter whether it’s 3 in the afternoon or 2 in the morning, there is traffic everywhere in New York.
116. Especially when you’re in a hurry to get to the airport.
117. If you can conceive of a type of entertainment, then there is somewhere in New York that will be able to provide it for you. Even those fetishists who insist on hearing German Schlager music while having their toes gently stroked by feather-toting Azerbaijani immigrants.
118. The prevalence of the one cent coin is directly due to the sheer volume of 99 cent stores in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.
119. There has not been a consumer product yet invented that will not be directly delivered to your door by one or more New York stores.
120. For a city that banned smoking in bars well before the UK, there’s a hell of a lot of smokers in this city.
121. Please stop making me wait for the rest of my party to arrive before you’ll seat me in your restaurant. I promise you that they’re just having a cigarette outside.
122. More New Yorkers take advantage of the opportunity to drink until 4am than anywhere else in America. If New York didn’t exist, Advil would have to invent it.
123. As a neat counterpoint to number 82 on the list, when the sun is blazing at 97 degrees and there’s 80% humidity, New York is about as tempting a destination as war-torn Cambodia.
124. Times Square is the rich man’s Piccadilly Circus.
125. Halloween in New York is incredibly scary. Not because it’s when ghouls and goblins come out to play, but because of the likelihood of being trampled to death by marauding kids seeking out sweetscandy.
126. New Yorkers are taxed according to the average number of syllables they use every day. Their refusal to pronounce every syllable is the reason that a shudder of fear shakes you to your bones when you realise you’ve got a New Yorker on your charades team.
127. Mayor Bloomberg is no Boris Johnson. Thankfully.
128. Grand Central Station is both an utterly stunning piece of architecture, and a fine place to get some food. Apparently you can also catch trains there.
129. ‘Sorry’ is the most-uttered word by the British in New York. Ironically, the apology was outlawed for all native New Yorkers, by state judges in 1969.
130. I’ve yet to find a restaurant or bar in the city which offers Pepsi that doesn’t taste like it’s been made in a Soda Stream.
131. New York is one of the world’s biggest cities, but they still couldn’t win the 2012 Olympics bid.
132. La Guardia airport is the worst airport in the country, with only 58% of its flights arriving on time. And JFK and (New Jersey’s) Newark aren’t too far behind…
133. You don’t know the meaning of stress until you’ve spent a few hours in the company of a New Yorker. Especially if you happen to be sitting next to one on a flight arriving at La Guardia.
134. New Yorkers share their city with some of the most disgusting looking bugs in the world. And the cockroaches are silently plotting to take over the city in a bloodless coup.
135. Everybody always wants something in this city.
136. New York women have the biggest hair in the world. More hairspray and hair curlers are sold per square mile than any other metropolitan centreer in the world.
137. Air quality is Beijing-esque. On a good day.
138. If you fancy spending a half a day in a queueline, just go to your nearest post office.
139. My mother always told me to avoid puddles of standing water on a dry day, just in case it’s urine. If I was to take her advice in New York, I’d never get on the subway.
140. Having your buttons broken by every dry cleaner you take your shirts to is part of the city’s unique charm
141. It’s difficult to feel too ‘out of water’ in a city where you can easily buy Mr Kipling’s cherry bakewells, and Curly Wurly’s.
142. It’s still shocking to find that shops stay open later than 6pm.
143. Finding a needle in a haystack is nothing compared to attempting to find a cleaner who will turn up every week, not charge the earth, and has papers confirming their legal right to be in the country. Or at least faked papers confirming their legal right to be in the country.
144. Getting a drink on the house actually does happen. Not very often, admittedly, but it’s always nice when it does.
145. If you want to have a proper conversation about the state of Manchester United’s attacking options, just get in a yellow cab and tell them that you’re English.
146. If you want to see dogs treated like human beings by women in big sunglasses, New York is the place for you.
147. No excuse is too small for a celebration in New York.
148. By law, disaster movies have to show New York being obliterated.
149. Lindsay Lohan accidentally taking somebody’s coat home from a club is front page news in this city.
150. The city is apparently known as Gotham, but I’ve never seen a man dressed in a cape, a yellow belt and with his pantsunderwear on over his clothes.

23 thoughts on “200 things you simply have to know about New York (part three)

  1. Brooklyn

    Dylan: Some disagreements.

    113: Huh??? Crispy shell, sweet (but not cloying) filling, and you say “Why?” Not to mince words, but has this week’s heat driven you crazy? Go to Rocco’s on Bleecker Street, try a freshly filled one, and I defy you not to feel COMPELLE TO RETRACT THAT COMMENT.

    131: NO. Real NY’ers didn’t want the Olympics. It’s bad enough tripping over gawking US tourists and bargain hunting Eurotrash who clog the sidewalks now.

    136: I always thought Texas and the Deep South was the High Hair Belt (coextensive with the Bible Belt) of the US. Agreed, there are outposts in NYC among certain ethnic groups, but they are balanced, if not outweighed, by the natural hair areas of Park Slope, Upper West Side, etc.

  2. Dylan

    You’re giving me inspiration for #177, Brooklyn – “New Yorkers don’t like outsiders clogging up their streets”. Personally, I’m all for a bit of urban regeneration. And what’s not to like about having “the greatest show on earth” in your backyard? I know I’ll never convince you, but it’s an honour and a privilege to get the Olympics. Not that NYers (real or otherwise) would know, obviously!

    And natural hair on Upper West Side? Straight and natural-looking maybe. But natural? I don’t think so…

  3. Mr Potarto

    #108 – What are these dirty Brits doing to our good/bad/indifferent name? Spill the beans, Dylan.

    #130 – Having worked in the fast-food industry, I can tell you that all soft drinks sold via those taps on the counter are in fact made in a big soda stream.

  4. Brooklyn

    1: You’re giving me inspiration for #177, Brooklyn – “New Yorkers don’t like outsiders clogging up their streets”. Personally, I’m all for a bit of urban regeneration. And what’s not to like about having “the greatest show on earth” in your backyard? I know I’ll never convince you, but it’s an honour and a privilege to get the Olympics. Not that NYers (real or otherwise) would know, obviously!

    2: And natural hair on Upper West Side? Straight and natural-looking maybe. But natural? I don’t think so…

    1: NYC including its good, bad and ugly IS “the greatest show on earth” That’s why it’s impossible to walk the streets of Midtown during tourist season now.

    2: Concede the point, but it’s still not high hair.

  5. Dylan Post author

    I haven’t yet been to Rocco’s, but I find the filling in cannoli’s to be extremely cloying, so however light and delicate these things might be, I think they might still be a bit too sweet for me.

    And as for calling New York the greatest show on earth…well, it’s nice to see that NYers have got a sense of humour, at least!

    Mr Potarto – don’t worry, it’s nobody who has been on this blog! But I think that there’s plenty of people who think that they can talk down to their fellow man (and then explain it away by saying “Oh, it’s because I’m British). No, it’s not because you’re British, it’s because you’re a tit…

  6. Brooklyn

    “’New Yorkers don’t like outsiders clogging up their streets’. Personally, I’m all for a bit of urban regeneration. ”

    Urban regeneration is people like you, not the “If it’s Monday, this must be Greenwich Village” crowd.

  7. Dylan

    Tit is a bit of a Britishism. But it means twit. Maybe a little harsher though…

    The last figures said that tourism generates $24.71 billion for the city, and generates 368,179 jobs. I’d say that NYC would probably be on its knees if it wasn’t for that “if it’s Monday this must be Greenwich Village” crowd…

  8. Brooklyn

    “The last figures said that tourism generates $24.71 billion for the city, and generates 368,179 jobs. I’d say that NYC would probably be on its knees if it wasn’t for that “if it’s Monday this must be Greenwich Village” crowd…”

    OK, but it’s like living in a town where the biggest employer is a slaughterhouse. It may help the economy, but it doesn’t mean the residents like the smell and want a visit from the quadrennial International Slaughterhouse Festival.

  9. Benny

    “Drop a nickel from the Empire State Building and it’ll be worth two cents by the time it hits the ground”

    that’s great. Mind if I nick it

  10. emiglia

    I loved these! So many made me laugh right out loud… I’m forwarding them to all my fellow New Yorkers. It’s nice to see what a non-New Yorker really thinks of us… especially one who doesn’t hate us. (Is there more than one of you?)

  11. Expat Mum

    Brilliant, yet again. I was going to ask about the rude Brits in #108 but you’ve sort of addressed that. it’s hard to believe people would do that isn’t it?
    And as for the Olympics- we are all wondering just how Chicago thinks it can pull off the 2016 games, but I dread to think how New York would have done it. It doesn’t bear thinking about.

  12. Mr Potarto

    I was against the Olympics in London, until London actually won and then I thought, “you know, being able to take my son to watch Olympic cycling might be rather cool. Then I got offered a job in New York and now we’ll be 3,000 miles away (unless they fire me). Come on Americans, you’ve had a third of the games in the last 24 years, couldn’t you have won this one too?

  13. Brooklyn

    Mr. Potarto:

    Ah, a classic newby mistake.

    NYC residents consider themselves Americans only when it serves their purpose, sort of like Sicilians and Italy.

    We’re American when we think of the Abraham Lincoln and Coca Cola, but NY’ers when we think of George Bush and and Olive Garden “restaurants.”

  14. Dylan

    I think Brooklyn’s right to some extent – there’s New York and then there’s the rest of America…New Yorker’s definitely consider them slightly separated from the rest of the country for some reason.

    By the way though, Brooklyn, there’s at least one Olive Garden that I know of in Manhattan, so don’t try to claim you’re that different!

  15. Brooklyn

    Oh Dylan, Dylan. I am really disappointed in you for your last post.

    Why would a NY’er even walk into that Olive Garden, except to use the toilet or get out of the rain? It’s for the tourists!!!!! Can you think of even one reason for a real NY’er to go there to eat?

    For heaven’s sake, there’s a branch of John’s Pizza in the immediate Times Square area and a real Italian restaurants on Ninth Avenue in the ’40’s and ’50’s.

    The Iranian Embassy in London doesn’t make Londoner’s terrorist supporting Shiites, does it?

  16. Brooklyn

    Allegedly:

    No, I am not on crack. Some examples of the America/New York disconnnect.

    America New York

    Commuting is by car Commuting is by
    subway

    You stand “in line” You stand “on line”

    A home has a front A home has an elevator
    and back yard and a doorman

    Elementary schools Elementary schools
    are referred to by are referred to by
    name number

    Friends are enter- Friends are enter-
    tained at home, tained at restaurants, mostly. mostly.

  17. Brooklyn

    America / New York

    Commuting is by car /Commuting is by
    subway

    You stand “in line” / You stand “on line”

    A home has a frontand back yard /A home has an elevator and a doorman

    Elementary schools are referred to by name / Elementary schools are referred to by number

    Friends are entertained at home, mostly / Friends are entertained at restaurants, mostly.

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