I have been here for 6 weeks now, and I’ve found some interesting insights. We southerners perceive that people in the Northeast, Yankees as we call them, are by and large a force for socialism, bad driving, and bad manners. What I have actually found is much more nuanced and interesting.
I have found the people are very different than how they have been portrayed in media. I have met many lovely people as I’ve scoured craigslist acquiring furniture for my apartment. There was the young woman who gave me her $800 dresser, the stranger who helped me carry it up a flight of stairs, the nice middle aged Jewish man who had traveled across town to sell a table for his friend. My Manhattanite Fiancé assures me that what I am experiencing has more to do with my smiley fresh face than the kindness of New Yorkers, but I am encouraged. All of these delightful folks are coming to my BBQ next weekend of course, maybe I can ask them.
The driving is worse than I had ever imagined. We of North Carolina have long been confident that the worst drivers were being exported down south, but clearly they are keeping the star talent for the home team. Also, why do you make pedestrians share the walk light with people turning!?
This one is difficult. New Yorkers seem much more comfortable deciding what everyone else can and cannot do, but you have to concede that living in such population density does change the calculus of individual freedoms. As a strong supporter of individual rights I feel strange saying that, but it is evident and you feel it yourself when you are here.
So these are my first impressions and I would say that overall, the people are the biggest surprise. More on these topics in posts to come!