Thursday, July 17, 2008

You can take the girl out of New York...

(Above: Downtown NYC - a striking contrast to leafy Brooklyn)

Whilst my life in the big apple is fading further into the past, certain habits haven't rubbed off yet. I may have just about got used to saying 'toilet' without feeling strangely vulgar whilst doing so. Yet it's strange that, despite two decades' worth of English education compared to only nine months living in America, I still stop for a moment when using an 's' instead of a 'z' in words like 'authorisation', or when writing dates as day/month/year. Maybe the letter 'z' is just more eye-catching than 's'. As for calendar dates, I suppose as Brits we're used to hearing phrases such as 'September 11', so it's very easy to adapt to the format where the day comes after the month.

On the other hand, certain things are happily left behind. These include:

- Strange roommates found on Craigslist who seemed OK when I first met them.

-The 'C' Brooklyn-bound subway line. Especially at weekends when it's known to transform into an 'F' and skip stops. Or, worse still, suddenly switches to the express track at nighttime, skipping my stop and leaving me stranded in the delightfully named Hoyt-Schermerhorn station. Not to be recommended on a dark, rainy night.

- Trying to get a cab back to Brooklyn when it's 3am in Manhattan and raining.

- The near-impossible task of getting a nice espresso, or a macchiatto that isn't the size of a cappuccino.

- Neurotic, depressive New York men (no more tales of 'locationally circumscribed self-loathing' please!)

- The bitter, relentless winter. But then again that's outweighed by the marvellous, long-lasting summer...

Erm... well that's all about all I can muster. The verdict is, New York has more pro's than cons to it. But you didn't need me to tell you that!

That said, London would fare well in such a test too. Today for example, I swam with a swan at Hampstead Heath Ladies' pond. The pond (which actually resembles a mini-lake) is one of my favourite summertime haunts in the city, set within the beautiful Hampstead Heath. This proximity with nature is one thing missing from New York - central park doesn't count, it's too built up; Brooklyn's Prospect Park, though very pretty, is too small and far from the town centre. One of London's best features is its wealth of well-kept parks.

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