It seems unbelievable that I’ve been in New York City already for a month and a half. Time passes differently in a place where you rarely see the sky. In summer time, you’re merely avoiding the sky and the sun, in the baking city that always feels much hotter than it actually is.

I never loved NY. I came here for one reason – school, and this inner feeling that I should give New York a chance sometime in my youth. Columbia was my top choice, and studying international policy in NYC seemed like a no-brainer. But that was it. I was scared about the urbanity, scared about the lack of nature, and scared about the lack of good Mexican food too.

So, my initial impressions of NYC. Feel free to post your own comments below.

1) Nature. I’m sick of people telling me when I miss nature, that “well, there is central park.” I’ve also barely met anyone who goes camping, or does outdoors activities (going to Long Island or Jersey beaches doesn’t count as outdoor activities). People here really lack any connection to nature.

2) Rules. Compared to the west coast, where rules seem to be made to be broken, New York seems to have rules that have to be broken, with layers of middlemen, just to survive.

3) Can’t let go. I’ve, many times, had people who feel it necessary to complain about one of my actions, possibly wrong or illegal, but in the end, doesn’t affect them at all. Usually, there are bystanders. I think it’s cause people are so miserable, they need to spread the wealth.

Everyone keeps telling me I’ll love it. Sometimes, I think they’re telling me that to convince themselves. As for me, I’ll enjoy my two years here, but NYC has nothing on the other cities I’ve lived in the US. So far, I prefer LA, SF, SD, and even Kansas City.

I can’t fathom people who love a place that is so artificial. Sure, it’s fun. Sure, it’s diverse. But it’s a concrete jungle, a city that’s alive at night, that’s artificially hot, where people leave the doors open. Other contradictions bemoan me – how can New Yorkers claim to be green when there are no recycle bins anywhere, no citywide compost, and the stores are allowed to keep their doors open, wasting loads of energy?

Free roundups, straight to your inbox


Curated stories on Asia that mainstream media ignores.




You've signed up! Please check your email to confirm.