By Kelsi Smith
My stance is a controversial one, and it's not like I hate New York, I just don't love it, I'd like to, I just don't. This week I'll be visiting New York City for the fifth time. I am extremely privileged to visit New York once a year as part of my job. We fly on a jet, we stay in the Four Seasons and we have the run of the city, I am very lucky. But despite this, I cannot fall in love with it.
I think it has a lot to do with being European, I grew up outside of London and moved there after graduating. I unabashedly love London. It's spirit literally runs through my veins, I miss it, a lot. I spent my summers visiting European cities, Rome, Milan, Paris, Barcelona, Copenhagen, just to name a mere few. I'd live in any of these cities over New York.
To me New York does not hold a candle to these cities, in terms of culture, vibrancy and fun. Why? Well that's the question I cannot answer. It checks all the boxes, which is why I don't hate it, but at the end of the day it's a big city with history. Well I grew up with them, and I prefer the ones I grew up with, and that's what it really comes down to. Shocking isn't it?
Now to add insult to controversy…. I love L.A, as much as London. I couldn't choose between the two. When I moved here over four years ago I had the choice to live in New York or live in L.A. At this point I hadn't even visited NY and had only ever spent a half day in L.A. Yet L.A won. Why? Now this is a question I can answer. I love L.A because it's different. It's like no other city I have ever visited. Within it's sprawl lies some of the best stores, best restaurants and best experiences I have ever had. It's unique and perfect.
Now, if I turn this into a love letter to L.A I'll lose the point and we'll be here all day. The point being, I don't want to dislike New York. I don't see liking it enough to ever live there, but I would like to embrace it more. So, if you're a New Yorker… or even New York fan…tell me what to do! Make me fall in love with your city!
Adult activities (like clubbing!) are out of bounds due to my work whilst I'm there but anything else I'm open to. I feel like we've done most of the touristy things but maybe I missed something!? I want to know your favourite places to eat, shop and play! Let me know in the comments, email me or even tweet at me.
And I will have Sunday May 16th off work…a free day in the city, so I'm thinking a fairly impromptu bloggers meet-up might be in order! Send me an email/tweet if you're up for it!
I will report back upon my return to let you know if my mind has been changed!
I’m a New Yorker. Lived here on and off since 1983. I also spent two years in London. I understand your love of those European cities. No argument from me there. I love New York for many reasons, but hate Midtown. I hope on your travels here you’ve left the city (Manhattan) and ventured into some of the other boroughs. Most New Yorkers I know have a love/hate relationship with the city. It’s loud, crazy, crowded and dirty. Sometimes those things are just too much to handle. It’s hard to sum up why I love NYC in a blog comment without being cliche, but in an attempt to sum it up with a few words I will say: diversity, tolerance, compassion, vitality, drive, ambition.
How funny that we’ll be there at the same time and we have different views of NYC! I practically lived in LA my entire life (-3 months) and I love it here, but I also love NYC for everything that it’s not like LA. I wouldn’t mind living in NYC for a bit, but I know that I’d always come back to my first love.
There’s going to be NYC’s AIDS Walk on the 16, so I don’t know how that will affect things around town, but aside from general sightseeing and possibly meeting a friend for lunch, I may be free to hang out!
We can talk about LA then! ;)
Sarah Corley says
Awww, I do! I love it SOOOOO much!!
The busyness, bright lights, and just the overall ENERGY makes me so excited. But then again, I haven’t been to London yet. :)
Hope this trip is AMAZING for you Kelsi!!
Dusty Rose says
ha, i just found your blog and it seems so timely! i’m a west coast girl and always said i’d never live in ny. i used to have to come once a month on buying trips and then my job took me here permanently. within two weeks i literally asked myself “how did i ever live anywhere else?” my husband’s a londoner and every time we visit he has to force himself to enjoy it for what it is and not compare the two. i’d love to help convince you if i can – what kinds of things do you like? what food do you like to eat? drink? art? nature? weird stuff? etc?
http://www.twitter.com/dustyrosevint if you want to message me
Fiona K @ Feesk Sandals says
I grew up living and traveling in Europe and Asia and now live in Toronto. I totally get your being partial to European cities. But I spent 2 months in New York last year, got to know the city at a nice leisurely pace and discovered it to be a city with a definite energy. It has a “freeing” vibe I love. Having said that, I cant compare it with L.A. as I have never set foot there!
The few things I can recommend in New York, and a bit off the beaten path are:
1. The Strand bookstore: My favourite bookstore in the world!- Its HUGE! be sure to browse their specials in the bins outside. $ 1 vintage art books! Amazing, vintage, rare and funny books.
2. Restaurant “fatty crab” in West Village, not the one on the Upper West Side. Malaysian food in New York. Order Kway Teow. Enough said.
3. Spend an hour a day at the MET getting to know it a little at a time, so you can absorb what you are seeing- it is pay as you go ALL THE TIME, which means you can pay as little as a fifty cents. There is no sign that indicates this, you just have to be in the “know”- and now you are!
4. Cheap Jacks vintage store- I had so much fun browsing here, unbelievable selection. The staff is fun too. (Also sighted David Arquette there!)
Enjoy! I am interested to see if you change your mind- at least a little.
I couldn’t agree more… I live in LA.. Love it… Even the 405! London is my second favorite city and I visit as often as I can. I like to think of London as cross between LA and NYC(these 2 cities just because they are our largest), large metropolitan city with vast culture style and public transportation like NYC – with friendlier people like LA!