Travel Diaries: New York City

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Every time I visit the same city, I try to learn new things about it. This was my third visit to New York City, and here are a few things I learned that I didn’t previously know.

With a population of over 22 million in its metro area, NYC is the most densely populated city in the United States. It was the first capital of the US, from 1785-1790, before the capital was eventually moved to Philadelphia and then to DC. NYC also boasts the highest Chinese population in the Western hemisphere. I thought this honor belonged to San Francisco, but I was wrong. Another new fact I discovered is that NYC’s drinking water comes from the Catskills Mountains and is pure enough to not need treatment before consumption. Imagine that!

My earlier visits to NYC had been in September and June, respectively. It had been chilly in September and pleasantly warm in June. This time, it was sweltering and humid in May! Temperatures rose to over 90F and, for the first time, I smelled the city stink. Not pleasant.

I’m not a big-city girl for a number of reasons. Big cities cram entirely too many people into spaces too small for them. In NYC, this results in streets and subways teeming with pedestrians and all manner of vehicles, tiny dwellings for outrageous prices, and insufficient-to-no personal space. Big cities also mean less greenery, and I cannot abide a concrete jungle.

Nevertheless, I can take big cities in small doses. There is always much to see in New York. Ground Zero was just a big hole in the ground the last time I was here. Now the site houses a complex of buildings comprising a 9/11 memorial and museum, three office towers and the One World Trade Center. Two of the towers already reach proudly into the sky, and the complex should be completed in 2014. The One World Trade Center is the third tallest building in the world at 1,776 feet, symbolizing the year of US independence.

NYC is largely considered the most influential city in the world: from finances, fashion, and advertizing, to medical research, the arts & entertainment, non-profits, and universities. I’m sure I will be back because there’s only so much one can see in a couple of days, but I don’t know that I could live here. It is an introvert’s nightmare.

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