Skip Navigation

New York City

OK Manhattan, even though you probably didn’t need it, you have another fan. I really dig you, and even though I’ve described other cities like Santa Monica as “the kind of place I could live” and Vancouver as “the kind of place I’d like to live”, I’m ready to describe you as “the kind of place I want to live”. See the difference? Want. From the Lincoln Tunnel to the Brooklyn Bridge, from the Upper West Side to Staten Island, you have impressed me.

Of course, you have your flaws. For one, your weather is atrocious; hot and muggy in summer and bitter cold in winter? That’s not the kind of thing that floats my boat, but I’ll overlook it because you’re just so beautiful. Your other problem, aside from the panhandlers which I would never see at home but have come to expect from almost every city in America, is the subway. Sure, it’s great; you can go anywhere at practically any time quickly and easily, but what’s with the fee system? If I travel three blocks by rail for all of ninety seconds, it’s $2. Then if (after running a 5 minute errand) I want to get home again on the subway it’s another $2. On the flipside I can die aboard a subway car and ride the rails for five days without incurring a cost any greater than two bucks.

For two dollars you can ride anywhere you like —anywhere— as long as you stay below ground, which might be great for the commuters and the mole people, but is in no way convenient to the common surface dweller. I’d like to see you tweak your system, adopting characteristics of the Paris model (where your flat–rate metro card buys you a certain amount of timespace to travel within… so you only need one ticket to run that errand across town) or the Washington DC model (where the cost of your ride is dependent on the distance you’ve traveled… calculated by the exit turnstiles and debited from your metro card on your way out). Your citizens aren’t morons, you don’t need a system so simplistic that it costs a guy like me $10 per day in subway fares just to see the city. You can do better.

Aside from that, though, you’re a gem. Some great bars, great sights, great people, landmarks, libraries, museums, and musicals. Times Square, Broadway, Central Park, and the Met — wow. Most of all I was surprised by how friendly and helpful the locals were — everyone in the world still sees New York as the place it was ten years ago, a place crawling with vermin and thugs, a place you don’t look other people in the eye — but it’s just not like that. The old stories may hang around to haunt you for a long time, but you’ll outlive them. You’re a beautiful town with a lot to see. Good luck with that 2012 Olympics bid.