New York is often called the greatest city in the world, and New Yorkers definitely believe that it is. I have never been somewhere that the people are so proud of their home. Every New Yorker, born there or not, is seething with pride. Not that you can blame them with hundreds of world famous landmarks in their back yard. Not to mention more world-class restaurants than you could ever hope to visit. I couldn’t help but notice that the pride ran deeper than just having a whole lot of famous landmarks around.
I did my very best to find out the source, exploring as much of the city as I could in 2 weeks, and even I began to get infected with the fervor of NYC pride. The key is that each area of New York, especially Manhattan has it own identity. We hear the slang in the movies about ‘the village’, SOHO, Wall Street, and so on. Each of these chunks of the city is notorious for something, whether it is where hipsters are, host of shopping boutiques, unique restaurants, or feeling like you are on the streets of China. There is something to offer in each area and like people congregate and rejoice in their district of choice. This creates the effect of high school cliques all across the city, but rather than the petty hatred and rivalries each area adds to the canvas of what New York has to offer.
The interesting thing about New York is that unlike the rest of America it was founded by the Dutch East India Company and was based on commerce rather than religion. Even when the British took over they left most of the Dutch systems of commerce and government in place because it was so successful. Often Americans say that New York isn’t really part of America, and because almost 50 percent of New Yorkers are immigrants they may have a point. This however is the wonder of the city, it isn’t like the rest of America but it exemplifies what America has always been said to be—a land of opportunity.
I was lucky enough to have the time and energy to see the famous sites from the ground, the water, and atop the Empire State Building. The buildings we see in the movies are amazing, but it is the hidden gems that always make the visit worth it. Piles of Graffiti art, chess masters waiting for you to oppose them in Union Square 7 nights a week, walking along a park that has been built atop an old rail road, and seeing live performances underground as you rush through the subways. In such a large and diverse city you are always bound to run into something new and interesting. The never ending fun and opportunity that comes from a truly global community is what makes New York so great and draws in visitors from all around the world year after year. This will definitely not be my last trip to New York.