Friday, October 21, 2011


Man, the stereotype that people in New York are in their own little worlds of aloof unfriendliness is entirely untrue!  Before leaving, some American friends of mine, assuring me that I’d be okay here, told me that it’s not like in the movies.  Well, I already was firmly of the belief that in general, American people are a warm, friendly bunch of individuals.  This experience confirms it.
Today a fella named Pedro came to my room to fix the phone.  He has such a strong accent I had to concentrate to catch what he was saying.  He told me there are 9 million people living in Manhattan.  Just in Manhattan… by comparison, there are 5 million in Metro Toronto, the biggest big city I know.  That includes the boroughs.  Canadian cities really aren’t very big.  Pedro told me he takes the train in to work from Queens.  I told him in Toronto most people spend two hours commuting.  (One of the reasons why after a decade-plus we had to get the heck outta there.)
I can’t comprehend how big this city is. Or the scale of things.  Everything is so tight.  Little blocks of streets.  
Last night, we had a late bite to eat.  We walked north on 10th Avenue.  There were so many people out taking their dogs for a last walk of the day.  We sat in a tiny restaurant and I said to Jethro, “I wasn’t expecting this… it’s like a little neighborhood here.  People live here.  I always thought of it like this big fabulous place where people go to… be fabulous.  But this is somebody’s home.”
Well obviously I knew people live in this city.  But it seemed so big and distant and maybe even cold.  There are just so many people here!  How can anybody live like this and not become so jaded that they can’t be bothered to look up at anybody else?   Wouldn’t your skin have to be so thick that you’d lose any connection to anybody else?
I’m somebody who tries to keep in mind that stereotypes are in place for a reason but are often exaggerated and probably a little inaccurate.  Like, I have this blog called Hick Chic, implying that I’m a country girl and I’m proud of it and I am totally working it and pulling it off.  I know why city people think of us hicks as naive and unsophisticated.  I myself am naive and unsophisticated.  But I’m not dumb.  (Okay I might come off that way in person, but really, I’m not!) I seriously have a hard time crossing a street on foot.  I’m not even kidding.  But I can drive down a gravel road at 100 kph with one hand on the steering wheel.  So we each have a different set of skills.  
It doesn’t do any of us any good to deal with each other with contempt, as tempting as it is when I get attitude from more urban folks who automatically assume that being from the country means I don’t matter.
As I’m finding out, those who treat me that way are the exception.
( maybe I really only get that attitude off people in Toronto?  Hmmmm….)
I’m writing this in the lobby of the incredibly chic stylin’ lobby of the Yotel.  A woman a big honkin’ camera and a Manfrotto tripod is taking pictures of the room.  The decor is amazing.  Everything is purple and white and grey with pale wood.  It’s so slick I’m just about sliding out of my crazy mid-century-modern chair.  I am totally digging this place - it’s fun to be here!  BUT.  I could not live like this. It’s too fabulous.  
I’m not fabulous.  
Fun, but not fab in a New York kind of way.
Today’s Hick-in-New York outfit:
Jeans (yep, Mavi from the Juno swag bag, good thing they fit)
running shoes
pink plaid flannel shirt
And because I’m totally doing the Big City Writer thing, I’m wearing my glasses.  

I am totally working this.  
I think I’ll head up to my room again.  Jethro’s at the conference down the road, talking with other engineers about soundwave displacement in an audiological resonance digital high fidelity aural 7.1 surround… thing…. while I do my thing here and somebody is up on the twelfth floor is cleaning my room and putting nice clean white towels in the glass walled-bathroom, and making the bed!  THAT right there, alone, is worth checking in here for!
Of course we’ll be paying for this trip for the next six months.
Okay, going back up in the purple elevator.  Catch ya later.  

ps- I totally crossed a street by myself!  Well, me and ten other people. But otherwise by myself.

I'm getting overwhelmed by the sirens, and it sounds like the predominant form of communication in this town is honking.  Other than that, I'm dealing quite well!


Grey Horse Matters said...

It seems that you're having a good time in the big city. I rarely go in unless I have to. It's too noisy and crowded for me and I hate to drive in there but I hate the taxi's even more. People really aren't as unfriendly as they seem I think they're just more cautious. Have a great time while you're here.

Heidi the Hick said...


Heidi the Hick said...

Oops what I meant to say was...Heck yeah people
are cautious... You don't wanna get run over! I'm with you though- it's too noisy and crowded. It's not too awful on 10th where we are but he dragged me to Times Square this evening.

I am still trying to sort out my thoughts about this.

The only reason I'd go back is to get my picture taken with the Naked Cowboy. I hope it doesn't get too cold for him! Haha!

Jaime, new blog visitor said...

Hi Heidi, I went to NYC once and found, like you, that most people were friendly. I hated the big crowds (we stayed in Times Square) and I got a bad case of plantar faciitis when I got home, BUT the people were friendly :-)

Heidi Willis said...

I'm glad you found people to be friendly. :) And it really IS set up like little neighborhoods. People tend to shop, eat, work out, live in a small area, so they know everyone there and it doesn't feel so big.

I think there is a piece of me that is a New Yorker at heart. I just love my quiet woods and starry sky too much to make the leap. :)