Arts Entertainments

New York, New York – Without a doubt, a Helluva City!

New York City is said to have a certain unusual quality. New York can devastate an individual or elevate their level of play, desire, or purpose in an exciting way. As they say, if you can get there, you can get anywhere… or you can leave with your tail between your legs.

As a New York native, born in East Harlem, I know that it is unique and I must say that it deserves the attention it receives as one of the most spectacular cities in the world for the following reasons.

It is a fact that New York City is the commercial center of the United States, as well as the heart of American advertising, fashion, publishing, and radio and television broadcasting. It is the distillation of industry, commerce, communication, entertainment, sports and the arts, and has a generous representation of diverse ethnic and religious groups. Simply put, it’s the melting pot for which America is famous. It has a positive effect on the creative abilities of its inhabitants. I want to mention that the five main boroughs that make up and add to the fame of New York City are Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens and Staten Island. Each municipality deserves recognition for its magnificent monuments, treasured historical sites, rich history, and achievements. Yes, this diversity and non-stop electric action is what New York City is all about, and where millions visit each year to witness the riches and results of the creative power of the people.

As for the inhabitants and non-inhabitants of this huge metropolis known as the “Big Apple”, there are several groups of people: First, we have the native New Yorker. These are the people whose birthplace is New York City. Regardless of where they need to go, there will always be some emotional attachment to their roots. Second, we have the out-of-towners who seem to gravitate towards the big city. They take up residence with enthusiasm, either because of the many opportunities the city presents, or simply because they feel lucky to live close to others of their own kind. The adventurous and productive type. Third, let’s not forget the millions of frustrated commuters who travel back and forth to get to and work in the city. Finally, with all the attractions and entertainment the city has to offer, there is the never-ending flow of millions of day-trippers and tourists out of the city.

Although New York City can have many positive characteristics, there is also a strong negative side to living in a metropolis of this magnitude. As the city becomes progressively more crowded, there is increased concern, irritability, and open hostility caused by the fact that the city is overcrowded with people. It is almost impossible to find an empty taxi, parking space or even a seat on the bus or train. This has hardened New Yorkers.

People label New Yorkers offensive because of their verbal qualities. To some extent, that may be true, but portraying all New Yorkers as vulgar is wrong. There are a significant number of civilized and sophisticated New Yorkers. However, we do have some people who speak their minds when they are upset, not all, but some. But let’s not forget the tremendous sense of humor that characterizes most New Yorkers. Colloquialisms are part of their everyday life, which can also be interpreted as impolite, such as: “That one could plant potatoes with those dirty ears”, “Why don’t you take a long walk along a short pier”, “Hey, don’t spit in the air, it could fall on your nose”; “Don’t let your mouth run until your brain is running”; “Oy Vey! With those bags, you need a pair of pairs of shoes”; “He couldn’t make a noun and a verb agree if his life depended on it”; “I hope he lives to be 150 and looks like it,” and so on.

Some people have been ridiculed for his unique ‘Noo Yawker’ accent. Here are some examples: “Gedoutahea, you’re turning me on!” “Yes, I smoke Noo Yawk.” “I would have ja ged a grab!” “Did’ju or did’ja”, “Would’ju or would’ja”, “Soopah (Super)”, “Sure I’m on the top floor”, “Wawda” (water), “I’ll have a toner samwidge” (tuna sandwich), “I’d try my best to tell you if my brudda wasn’t here”, “Fugheddaboudit! I ain’t saying nuttin” and “My mudda and fodda go on Downa Shaw Ohn Lawnguylund”.

Accustomed to social, political, and economic upheaval, crime, overcrowding, blighted neighborhoods, intolerable housing, exorbitant rents, and high taxes, native New Yorkers accept the turbulence associated with daily life as a normal and unavoidable way of life. However, that doesn’t stop them from openly vocalizing their frustrations and tensions with expressions like: “Apartments are so expensive unless you live in a rat infested roach hotel,” “Those hawkers will rob you blind, selling hot merchandise no less,” “There’s no place to park unless you stack your cars on top of each other,” “Hey, Gee! Some of the neighborhoods look like a war zone,” “I’ve got doors on my windows and three locks on my door”. doesn’t that tell you something?” “I hate summer, it smells like last year’s crap is still around…” and so on.

Yet despite all the discomforts, horrible tragedies and miseries, miraculously, most of those who throng the city streets choose to stay. New York, New York, without a doubt is an incredible city.

For the millions of commuters, commuting daily to access business and investment opportunities, rush hour is a terrifying scene as key highways and bridges are packed with cars, trucks, motorcycles and buses weaving their way through bumper-to-bumper traffic. The overwhelming congestion of vehicles and passengers is everywhere. Spending an annoying hour or two traveling to a location in a single district is quite common. Let’s not forget to mention the subway. Train after train rumbles and makes its way towards the station, only to be greeted by an endless barrage of waiting commuters, lined up on the platform. The crush of travelers hurtles toward the train, jostling and jostling each other along the way. After a few seconds, the train doors slam shut, leaving the unfortunate behind. Some frustrated passengers fly to open the doors enough to squeeze their way inside before the train begins to move, hoping their arm, leg, purse, or briefcase won’t get caught outside. If the train is local, it will keep stopping and picking up more passengers along the way, thus intensifying the unbearable crowding. Grumpy standing passengers are squashed like sardines in a can with no room to fall if the train stops.

This situation exists year-round, as New Yorkers and tourists alike flock to beaches, parks, and other recreational areas in search of a way to unwind from the hustle and bustle of the week. Here and there, motorists stranded along the highway stand by their cars in the sweltering, dizzying heat, making the weekend clog of thrill-seekers worse. Once the transfer of the vehicles takes place, desperate motorists frantically flee in search of a gas station, only to again find themselves trapped in a huge column of 50 to 100 cars inching towards the pumps, hoping the fuel won’t run out.

New York, New York is an amazing city. Hundreds of thousands of neighborhoods just a few blocks long and a couple of blocks wide, filled with a huge selection of independently-operated shops and businesses. Despite their public awareness of American traditions, multi-ethnic groups continue to practice within their neighborhoods their own traditions, customs, religious holidays, and cuisines. The obvious presence of this difference is what makes the city in the United States so extraordinary. Whether you live in the neighborhoods of Park Slope, the Jewish Lower East Side, Greenwich Village, Italian Harlem, Chinatown, El Barrio, Little Italy or Yorktown, lifelong relationships are continually formed. Is this neighborhood value so strong that many families, as well as their descendants, spend their entire lives living within its boundaries?

If one wishes to get entertainment, there is always something to do.

It is home to an impressive collection of museums large and small, mainly dedicated to the arts and natural history. For example, because the Metropolitan Museum of Art is so expansive and visual, one should plan to spend a whole day there. As far as burning off some of that pent up energy built up during the work week or satisfying your taste buds, there are plenty of bars, clubs and restaurants to go to at all hours of the day and night. New York, New York is “A City That Never Sleeps.” It is a place where history and the present diverge. Experienced historians and instructors of leading walking tours take locals and visitors alike on exciting and unforgettable walks through the Big Apple’s ethnic neighborhoods, places of history, lore and crafts, creating lasting memories of an amazing past.

Speaking of unforgettable memories; This reminds me of my visit several years ago to the Manhattan Theater District, which is the most famous theater district in the world. I went to attend a “Hairspray” matinee. Seeing that I had arrived too early, I decided to take a walk around the district in order to once again get acquainted with everything. There were the usual young aspiring actors, dancers and singers, bag in hand, swarming the area rushing to auditions in the hope of securing fame and fortune. The transport situation remained unchanged. Cars continued to push their way through the streets aggressively, with no regard for pedestrians or other vehicles. I wanted desperately to cross the avenue, but with the traffic congestion and chaos of horns, screeching of brakes, unfriendly pedestrians yelling and waving their fists only added to my state of confusion. After living in suburban New Jersey for several years, unaccustomed to this endless bustle of people and vehicles, I decided to go back to the theater to wait in line. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a loud singing voice accompanied by musical instruments penetrated the air. How exciting, a free performance was being put on by striking amateur sidewalk artists, showcasing their musical talents for meager donations. Once inside the theater, my attention was focused on the stage throughout the performance of “Hairspray” as I absorbed the elements of music, theater and dance, working together as a whole in artistic creativity. This first live viewing of a Broadway musical became a memorable experience for me. There were so many people that I assumed every other theater on and off Broadway was unloading at the same time. Like a swarm of bees, celebrity theatergoers, including hers, were running here, there, everywhere, looking for the nearest restaurant. Satisfied with my steaming cup of coffee, delicious onion burger, and slice of New York cheesecake, I reluctantly returned to New Jersey, promising myself another exciting trip to my hometown.

All this and much more continues to add to the colorful and exciting atmosphere of the Big Apple. So if you ask me if I’m glad I was a New Yorker. With pride, he would reply, “I bet you do!” Without a doubt, “It’s an amazing city.”

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