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

Finally, the list has been completed. So come on, what have I missed??

151. I love being preached at as much as the next man. But does it really have to be at 8 in the morning as I’m travelling into work on the subway?
152. Politics and bureaucracy is just as mindnumbingly ridiculous in New York as it is in London.
153. If you begin queuingget on line now, you will have a driving license by August 25, 2009.
154. Every second block in New York is a film set. Which makes it all the more astonishing that the only person you ever see is Becky from Roseanne.
155. Some of the best architecture in the world is in New York.
156. Some of the worst architecture in the world is in New York.
157. The more you honk a car horn on New York city streets, the more virile and attractive you become to members of the opposite sex. Apparently.
158. I’ve not been to Japan admittedly, but the best sushi I’ve ever tasted has been in this city.
159. There are more taxidermists in New York than good butchers.
160. I didn’t think it was possible, but residents have found a way to play their music on iPods (NB other MP3 players are available) at even higher ear splitting volumes to those utilised by London dwellers. Fortunately the practice of using the speakers on your phone to blast out music to an entire bus – much beloved of London kids – is yet to make its path to New York in any significant way.
161. You definitely get a better class of crazy in this city. Not just ‘erk, he’s a bit mad’, but more ‘should I phone the authorities just in case he’s escaped from somewhere?’
162. New Yorkers might like to suggest that they’ve got a thick skin, but if the comments I get on this blog are anything to go by, many of them are actually a big bunch of softies who get irate if anybody says anything even vaguely less-than-positive about their beloved city.
163. You can sit at the seat in Katz’s Deli where Sally embarrassed Harry. But if you really want an orgasm, you’d be better off having the pastrami sandwich and not bothering about where you sit.
164. Litter in the city could be reduced by half if they just stopped putting bits of paper into magazines begging readers to take up subscriptions.
165. On a packed subway train, the last space available to sit down in will be exactly 25% smaller than is necessary to fit your comfortable behind in.
166. With Greenwich Village, the West Village and the East Village, there’s a tiny little hamlet just waiting to burst out of New York.
167. There is literally nothing that can’t be purchased in this city.
168. With the wind whistling in off the Hudson, in the height of winter, New York is enough to make you cry frozen tears in pain at the cold.
169. The not-in-my-backyard brigade are possibly ten times more vociferous in Brooklyn than they could ever be in London.
170. Forget burgers and pancakes, New York could be home to some of the finest restaurants in the world.
171. Coats are for losers.
172. There are too many British people in this city. How is a Brit Out Of Water supposed to stand out when every sodding third person seems to have a working knowledge of Coronation Street and HP Sauce?
173. If the number of Nintendo DSs and Sony PSPs is anything to go by, New Yorkers require near constant stimulation if they’re not to die before the age of 40.
174. New York may well have invented Christmas.
175. If you want to go to the cinema in New York, your family must have a total annual income of at least $150,000. And that’s without popcorn.
176. If you’re a New Yorker and you don’t know the meaning of the word ‘jobsworth’, just go to any federal licensing authority. Watch and learn.
177. There’s no package too big that it can’t be carried on the subway.
178. Contrary to popular belief, it’s sodding easy to get lost in a city that’s governed by a grid system.
179. On a humid summer’s day, subway platforms in New York are hotter than the blazing bowels of hell.
180. On a cold winter’s day, subway platforms in New York are hotter than the blazing bowels of hell.
181. If you’re able to walk past the Flatiron building without wondering what the offices are like in the narrowest part of the building, you may want to check your pulse to ensure that you’re still alive.
182. Restaurants within a ten block radius of Times Square are required by law to charge 50% above all accepted levels for any given foodstuff.
183. There’s no getting away from the fact that the New York skyline is one of the most impressive sights in the world.
184. SwearingCursing in the workplace goes down like a cup of cold sick.
185. What’s not to like about a city that has four waterfalls installed, as an Olafur Eliasson living art piece? Obviously I would be negligent in my commitment to London if I were not to point out that he did something even more impressive in London almost five years ago.
186. Anybody who thinks it rains more in London than in New York is a liar and a cheat.
187. Every New Yorker is convinced that they would die of boredom outside the city. Clearly, there are no museums, books, movies, hobbies or conversation anywhere else in the world.
188. The best pickles (pickled cucumbers, to all non-New Yorkers) are found in this city. Clearly, they don’t bear any comparison to Branston Pickle, but they’ll do in an emergency.
189. New York has invented more ways to rob tourists of their hard-earned cash than any other city on earth. And if you don’t believe me, go and have your one cent piece turned into a New York commemorative coin. For $4.99.
190. If you want to see New York at its best, see it from the water.
191. That’s ‘floating on top of the water’ for the avoidance of doubt. Frankly you don’t want to be in the Hudson if you can possibly avoid it.
192. It’s difficult to take the city’s soccer team too seriously given that they’re named after the world’s most famous energy drink.
193. Junk mail is a way of life. If businesses in New York aren’t bombarding you with unwelcome crap, they’re not fulfilling their duty in this world.
194. With a 20% deposit necessary, it’s not surprising that most people don’t buy their own property in this city.
195. Given the amount of fuss that surrounded IKEA setting up in Red Hook, I can’t even begin to imagine the furore if Adolf & Eva’s Drive-Thru came to town.
196. Apparently New York’s water is so pure that it’s one of only a handful of American cities that doesn’t need to put its water through treatment plants. It allegdely comes from the Catskills – but lets face it, the Hudson’s much closer, and if you’ve read number 190, you’ll understand why I drink bottled water.
197. Reading the adverts on the New York subway would be enough to make you think that you can sue for anything in this city. And you probably wouldn’t be far wrong.
198. You can buy good cheese in New York. But it would be easier to find a squirrel with a hairlip.
199. Toilet paper was invented in New York. So was the Waldorf salad. Good grace was invented elsewhere.
200. If you’re going to blog about any city on Earth, New York’s probably the place to do it.

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

  1. Mr Potarto

    185, This sounds good but when I saw it all I could think was, “It’s just a few scaffolding poles and some hose-pipes.

    poles and pipes

    192, Yes, I do wonder if they were prepared to accept *any* name for the money. Instead of the New York Red Bulls, what price the New York Prep H’s?

  2. Brooklyn

    Oh no!!! we’ve been through the whole Lecy Goranson/Sarah Chalke thing the last time this came up.

    ” ‘Lecy vs. Sarah II: War of the Becky Conners’ This time, it’s personal. Coming to a theater near you Christmas 2008.”

  3. gabi

    AND regarding #191, it ain’t so bad. My dog and I were paddling in the Hudson a few weekends ago and I haven’t sprouted another head yet.

    Incidentally, my earlier point referred to the phone speakers not catching on yet.

  4. Brooklyn


    I’m not a big deal cheese fan, but what about Zabar’s, Murray’s, Greenmarkets, Garden of Eden, Whole Foods? Just asking.

  5. Dylan

    Please not the Becky Conner controversy again!

    Gabi – I think we’ll leave it a couple of years before we make any firm judgment on the two heads thing, if you don’t mind…

    And Brooklyn, you’re right that good cheese is available…it’s just the relative scarcity of the outlets (compared to size of population) that always surprises me.

  6. Alasdair

    #178 – nah … that one’s only a problem if yer a sassenach … normal folk can understand grid systems/layouts …


  7. Expat Mum

    Ditto #154, 155 and 156 for Chicago. Last month I was driving down a main street here, not paying much attention, then I sort of looked around and everything had been turned into a Depression era street. Shops fronts full of old-fashioned clothing where the CVS used to be. A very weird feeling. They were filming the new Al Capone movie with Jonny Depp (swoon) but did I see him?
    Also agree with #162 – soft Americans. Am currently writing the reverse book to “Rules, Britannia”, – this one for Brits coming over here. A bit difficult to make fun of my adopted homeland when everyone’s so senstitive.
    Great post once again.

  8. Expat Mum

    PS. The problem with a grid system is you have to know which direction you’re facing when you come up from the subway. Fortunately in Chicago, if you walk too far in the wrong direction, you fall into the lake.

  9. LolaBloom

    Bravo on the completion of the list, I think those were 4 of the best posts I’ve read in a long time. Every time I visit your blog, I miss NY that much more. Thanks again for the laughs, great stuff!

  10. Alasdair

    Expat Mum – what you say is even *more* true if you don’t have a grid system !

    Except for the part about “you fall in the lake” – if you are not sassenach, you remember to stop just *before* you fall in the lake … (plus, in Chicago, the wind off the lake is usually strong enough that it’s hard even for the densest of sassenachs to fall in the lake !) … (not to mention that fact that, the last time I was in Chicago, the “waters” of the lake made the river in Ankh-Morpork look like a pure virgin snow-melt steam … even if you tried, you could only fall ON the lake – falling IN the lake just wasn’t going to happen … now, dissolving into the lake might …)

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