In my last post, I talked about NY’s fantastic public transportation, especially the subway. While most of NY’s good things are well known, there are many negatives to NY as well. As I compare NY to Pittsburgh…or to Boston (Boston is a big city). The big difference between NY and any other large city in the US is that NY is full of immigrants. There are hardly any native ‘white’ Americans in NY. This, of course is a well known fact. Generally people look at this postively, because it makes NY the most ‘international’ city in the world…but at what price.
NY is dirtier and uglier than almost any city I have seen in the US. You have trash on the streets, on the subway tracks etc. The only city where I saw public services ads from the civic authortities urging people to maintain cleanliness. This is because of the immigrant mentality. When half your city is swarmed by immigrants, (many of them illegal from extremely poor countries), this is the result. After all, the first generation immigrants don’t treat the US or NY was their own. The difference is so clear; as soon as you enter of the known immigrant neighbourhood, everything looks dirtier. Again credit has to be given to the original (by original I mean the caucasians and not the natives) Americans to have set such standards of cleanliness and maintainance otherwise, that people feel NY is dirty. It is a 100 times cleaner than the cleanest cities of India ofcourse, but it is much dirtier than Boston for example.
The second major let down in NY is that people are quite ‘rude’. This has again a lot to do with the immigrants, but also a little to do with the fact that large cities have this trait in common. For example, Philadelphia is no where as friendly as Pittsburgh is. It is not that people won’t speak to you nicely, but the way people walk on the streets, or the way they enter and exit the train. People might not hold the door for you here, again something which isn’t prevailent in the Asian or Indian culture for example. The only place in the US where I have seen a multitude of people spit on the streets and the footpaths.
The third and most noticeable difference, and let down is the traffic behaviour. Pedestrians don’t follow any pedestrian signals. Drivers honk too much for an American city. Motorists often tend to break traffic signals, or say cross the signal when it was amber and normally, in another city 10/10 drivers would have stopped. At the subway stations, if the doors are about to close, late arrivers might use their bodies to prevent them from closing so that they can enter. I have NEVER seen a American do this! This has to be a immigrant.
I know I am being very critical of immigrants. We cannot forget that this city and country, to a large extent is built by immigrants. But with immigration, comes the societal behaviour of a ‘third world’ country (I am from one) which is very apparent in NY.
One thought on “The Other Side of New York”
Interesting observations Aviram. I would think that while you are there for the duration of your work assignment, you are making New York a better place. 🙂