New York City

The Big Apple

I am still not too sure why it’s called the big apple but I presume that it has something to do with the size because Manhattan clearly doesn’t look like an apple.

But anyways, last week I had a glimpse of life in NYC and it felt different and familiar at the same time. One thing that I instantly got used to is the layout of the streets which is typical United States where most of the major streets are in a grid layout. But the easy layout didn’t stop me from getting lost because frankly, I am not very good with directions.

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While the general layout of NYC is the grid layout, there is a couple of exceptions and one of them is the diagonal intersection along the 7th avenue. There is where the iconic Times Square digital screens and billboard resides. I actually could not recognize it when I first entered the intersection because it didn’t look like what pictures depict it to be. For one, the iconic Nasdaq digital screen is actually tucked away in a corner with a building obstructing part of the screen. I didn’t manage to get a full  picture of all the billboards because I didn’t have much time to look around for that spot which can get the full picture.

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An approximate map of where I walked

I am pretty sure there’s a specific position you need to stand in order to get that picture. I only spent about 15 minutes at Times Square because there was a lot of people there plus the weather was hot that day. Also, there was some construction being done along the intersection.

My mission for that day was to go along 5th avenue and that is what I did. Since, I wanted to experience the full NYC package, I walked the streets sidewalks of NYC with my earphones. It felt like I was blending in with the locals. I’m not going to talk about what I did in NYC because that is not the point but I was basically stopping by both the Apple and Microsoft Store while making a stop at Trump Tower.

Along the way, I realized quite a number of things about NYC. First and foremost, I finally understand why the traffic in NYC is like that. The problem actually lies with the people. A lot of people (including me) tend to cross the street without looking at the pedestrian traffic light. It usually starts with one person and then others follow on and that is just part of the congestion. The nature of the grid design of NYC also means that there is a traffic light on every block which means that the chance of a gridlock to happen is very common.

Speaking of blocks, I managed to walk a couple of dozen of blocks in the course of two hours. From my not so scientific calculation, I came to the conclusion that it takes about 1 minute for me to walk a block but that also depends on the amount on traffic and the number of shops along the sidewalk. Some stores have some nice window display that calls for a picture or two. Overall, walking is a fairly tough thing to do and I can see why those electric skateboards are popular in this city.

Walking in general was tiring but I did find out that walking along the sidewalk of NYC to be a very relaxing thing to do once you put on your earphones. The weather at Times Square might be hot but along the sidewalks, the weather is noticeably cooler with gushes of cool wind every now and then.

But that is about it when it comes to NYC. I have just had a small taste of this dense city and there is still a lot of things that I need to see. I’ll save that for my next trip to the Big Apple.

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