Sunday, January 8, 2012

Thoughts from New York

I could write a novel on my experiences in the "city that never sleeps".  I will instead choose to keep it as brief as possible.  Here is my "Top Ten" from New York City.

10.   Chicago-style pizza is superior to New York-style pizza.  The best piece of pizza on the trip may have been from small shop at 10:30 in the morning.  I wish I would have visited more of those shops during the trip.  Grimaldi's Pizza is vastly overrated and I have concluded that coal-oven pizza is not my thing.
9.    Central Park is very unique.  It really is just as the movies and shows and pictures depict it.  It is quite something to have this giant park right in the middle of the city.  We went through what I thought was a lot of it, but after looking at a map appears to have been only a small fraction of it.  Would be fun to see in the summer and/or with snow on the ground.
8.  New Jersey is kind of a dump.  At least what we saw anyway.  I'm sure there are nicer parts but North Bergen and what we saw driving through Hoboken leave a little to be desired. 
7.   There are always a s*** ton of people in Times Sqaure.  I would be interested to find out what percentage of them were true New Yorkers and what percentage were tourists.  I can't see any resident in their right mind routinely passing through there unless they had work obligations.
6.  Rockefeller Center was interesting.  I would like to tour the NBC studios sometime and get to the top of a building (either Rockefeller or Empire State) the next time I go, but it wasn't first on my list this time.
5.  The World Trade Center site is going to be really incredible when finished.  Right now, it is missing information.  Soon, people that will be visiting will not have experienced or been alive when the events occurred.  They are building a museum so this should improve.
4.  The subway system was pretty incredible.  It is quite amazing how impressive the logistics of the whole operation are.  It was fun to learn how it operated and get a good feel for how millions of people commute on a daily basis.  When I go again I will stay within walking distance of a subway station and the whole trip should prove to be much easier.
3.  New York City doesn't have to be expensive.  There are plenty of people that call NYC home that live on small salaries and wages.  I quickly learned that these people probably do not buy rounds of jager bombs or eat at Dylan's Prime, but everyone deserves a learning experience.  You would not have the need or the desire probably to own a car in New York.  Public transportation actually works pretty effectively there.  There are certainly places to eat and get groceries that aren't all that different in price from here.
2.  Brooklyn and the bridge itself are pretty special.  I could live in Brooklyn.  The parts I saw anyway were much more low key yet at the same time just minutes away from the city.  The bridge offers tremendous views of Manhattan and we were lucky enough to walk across twice at dusk.  There really is no skyline that compares with that of Manhattan's.
1.  The Pinstripe Bowl, the reason the trip was made, was a pretty cool experience even with the loss by the Cyclones.  The "table-gating" beforehand with ISU fans was great and Yankee Stadium is a surprisingly good place to watch a football game.  Paul Rhoads certainly opened up some questions going into spring ball, but at the end of the day I think a lot higher of the Pinstripe Bowl than I did going in.  It was really a first-class bowl game and through a little Twitter-stalking I think the players thoroughly enjoyed themselves as well.  I probably would not make a repeat appearance next season but would consider it down the road if the Big XII tie-in was still in tact.

In conclusion, I had never really considered New York as a place I wanted to visit.  After being there, I definitely want to go back.  There is enough to do there to take up several trips.  As with Vegas, I think each time you go you get a sense of familiarity and things go a little smoother.  The next time would be a blast without the pressure of having to see everything.  I'd really like to get off the tourist track and see a little bit more of how the New Yorkers live.

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