Both myself and my buddy Anouk Govil had been to New York before on weekends away and wonderful vacations from our home back in Connecticut but it wasn’t until we moved there that we really realized what this city was all about. Shortly after high school both Anouk and I decided to leave our homes in Connecticut and head down to NYC where we would study for our degrees. Living in Connecticut is a lot of fun, we have a very relaxed way of life, we enjoy outdoors activities and there is a real friendly nature from the locals, you can only imagine how much of a shock New York was for us.
The first thing that you notice, especially if you come from the more relaxed areas of the east coast, is the sheer pace of life here in New York. Everybody is in a hurry here from the tourists to the workers and there is no time to stop and wait for anything. This is the same whether you are taking the subway, going for something to eat or even just wandering the streets, there is a blistering pace about the New York way of life.
Back in Connecticut there was always tourists but the majority would come for a vacation rental on the coast, where they could enjoy the beach and some time away for themselves. The tourists in New York however are a different beast entirely. First of all the tourists here travel in packs, swathes of countrymen together and enjoying all of the sights that New York has to offer. What makes this ever so slightly worse, especially for a student who is trying to go about their day, is that New York is full of landmarks and iconography, which means that very often you simply can’t avoid them.
Anouk and I are both from Connecticut and up there we have a very polite manner about us, something which I quickly learned does not work in New York. In our first weeks here we would open the doors for people, we would let someone slip in front of us in the line and we would always smile and greet people. The result of this however was that after just a couple of weeks, we found that we were holding the door open for every man and his dog, we were staying in line for hours as everyone else pushed in and people began to look at us very strangely, assume that we either had mental health issues or that we were looking to steal from them. Kindness is one thing but if you are coming to New York then don’t expect to require your manners, because nobody else does. Sharpen your elbows and do what you can to survive, out here it is very much prey man, woman and child for themselves.