A few thoughts on New York

Originally posted 8/23/05:
It's a bit tricky adapting to life in The Big City, although it's made somewhat easier by the fact that the neighborhood I live in, Morningside Heights, is in some ways analagous to Berkeley. It's a community where the centerpiece of the neighborhood is a large university. This contrasts with, for instance, NYU down in the Village, where NYU is a big part of the community, but nobody would say it's the dominant feature. It's relatively quiet up here, and very neighborly. After living here for three weeks I've already talked to my postman and the UPS guy more than I talked to either of their counterparts living for 3 1/2 years in my Berkeley apartment. I live half-way between Broadway and Amsterdam, which is neat because the two streets are vastly different in character. Broadway by the University is very student oriented, as you'd imagine. As it goes north into Harlem and south into the Upper East Side it gets somewhat seedier, but still basically contains your standard commercial stores, restaurants, hardware shops, electronic shops, etc. It's sort of what you'd call a gentrified street. Amsterdam, on the other hand, has not yet gentrified. It's a lot of tiny, crowded bodegas. It's noisy and raucous and dirty, but also much more lively than Broadway.

Amsterdam is also home to the huge ediface I pass every day on my way to the law school, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. I still haven't gone inside, but desperately want to. It's the largest gothic cathedral in the world, and it still isn't finished. It has an amazing and eclectic mix of statuary in its yard, and is constantly and slowly under construction, with scaffolding reaching up the side of its face. It's amazing and beautiful and I'm astounded every morning that I live half a block away from it.

The other thing that takes getting used to is the bigness of New York. My old building in Berkeley was four stories, and was the tallest building on my street. My current building is 8 stories and it's on the short side for my street. The tallest stretches, I believe, 18 stories. And Morningside Heights is kind of on the short side for Manhattan, compared to how tall things get in Midtown and Downtown.

I'll definitely have more to say later, but for now I should probably get back to work and stop posting.

Interesting side-note: It REALLY FREAKS ME OUT when I hear jets flying above. Don't they know there's a huge-ass city here? There are buildings that are, like, a thousand miles tall! They'll crash their planes!

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This page contains a single entry by Zach published on August 24, 2005 10:18 PM.

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