I've only been to New York twice -- once in college to visit friends, and once last year to visit restaurants.
It's kind of funny, having moved to the country 4 years ago (from the suburbs), I find I actually appreciate cities more now. I really like the ability to walk to places (especially with a subway to mitigate longer walks.) I used to think I wouldn't want to live in a city, but at this point I think I could be happy doing so -- I just also love where I live right now and wouldn't want to give that up.
New York is kind of ridiculously dense, at least in Manhattan. The way the downtown is contained to an island actually makes it look a lot more impressive -- from outside, it's a solid wall of skyscrapers, making the city more a giant three-dimensional block than the sloped mountain of other cities (with skyscrapers in the middle, mid-height buildings further out, and shorter ones in the suburbs.) It's clear how much of cyberpunk film was inspired not just by cities but this one in particular.
We visited several museums while we were there. As someone who likes looking at things and learning things, I'm pretty easy to entertain with museums. I recall the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Natural History, though I don't remember if we visited any others. This is certainly something New York has over Seattle -- our art museum is kind of pathetic unless you really like abstract modern art.
Mostly we ate fancy food. New York is pretty much the best place in the world for this -- Las Vegas probably comes in second. We had Scandinavian food at Aquavit, French at Restaurant Jean-Georges, Cafe Boulud, and Bouley, and Japanese fusion food at Momofuku Ko.
The drawbacks of New York seem to be the same as any other city, only writ large -- it's crowded, to the point where it can be hard to even walk around, let alone drive anywhere. You have to allow a pretty large amount of time to go a mile, a distance that I would normally consider pretty much negligible. On the other hand, all of Manhattan fits in about 12 square miles, so a mile is actually a long way there. I didn't, however, find the place particularly dirty, nor did I feel unsafe anywhere, both of which seem to be part of New York's reputation (likely a holdover from the 80's, when, from what I understand, it really was dirty and unsafe.)
Overall, it was a cool place to visit and I think I'll visit it again. I wouldn't want to live there, but that's less because of what day-to-day life would be like as because it's staggeringly expensive. The cost of my house would be lucky to get me a tiny one-bedroom apartment, and in my particular field, I wouldn't make any more money in New York than I do now. (If I wanted to make a fortune, my destinations would be either the Bay Area or Washington, DC.)
This entry was originally posted at http://fishsupreme.dreamwidth.org/72162.h