“NYC Note” was begun simply because it seemed like a good idea.
If I want to get fancy, I could say I had a moment of alliterative inspiration.
But, as a native New Yorker, I feel indebted to this childhood playground of a city, as well as a need to pass on any tips and tricks for newcomers — while throwing in a dirt-laden, metallic screech, cramped avenue of a quip, New Yorker style.
Again, as a native, it often feels like people misunderstand the city — that they’re intimidated by the hustle and bustle and belittle it to chaos; that they’re forced to WALK and see things they wouldn’t in the comfort of their cars and homes with backyards; that “it’s a nice place to visit, but I would never move there.”
This environment isn’t for everyone all the time. Hell, it’s not even for me all the time, even considering the subway maps tattooed on the back of my eyelids. But, with NYC Note, I try to break it down; I try to show myself relishing my own navigation through this metropolis, hoping it will get others thinking about how they (could) do the same.
For example, the people are rude (I have cursed out grandmothers walking slowly in front of me before (in my head)). But that’s just because we’re either always in a hurry, or just rendered irascible at seeing others not in a hurry. I find myself saying “oy vey,” “humbug,” and “Dios mío,” sometimes unwittingly, because I just feel a need to vocalize how you’re inconveniencing me right now.
Still, if something happens to you — let’s say you fall down the subway stairs while attempting to untangle your earbud wires (ear pods piss me off, no thank you) with your winter coat zipper. So, you just fell down; the people around will come to help you out. You know that Kevin Costner movie, Field of Dreams, and the punchline — “If you build it, they will come”? Yeah – it’s like that in NYC, just swap “build it” with “present an opportunity for New Yorkers to remind themselves that they, too, are members of humanity,” or “present an opportunity for someone to help you get out of their way,” and they will come.
Help is only given if you really need it, or if you ask someone. Otherwise, we know you could probably figure it out on your own. Isn’t that the most respectful? Patience. Not rushing to “fix” the problems that other people can fix themselves. And when you can’t do it yourself (e.g. you just fell and people want to make sure you’re ok; you’re pushing a stroller and attempting to go down subway stairs; you’re carrying two life-size bags of Maison Kaiser pastries and you can’t open the TD Bank door – well, hold on, never mind with that one. Just put the bag down for a sec and then open it, you gluttonous, sweet-toothed fool.), people will be there to help where they’re needed, give you a cementing smile, and then leave – more quickly than they came.
Whatever brusqueness or bluntness you may come across, it’s mostly the moment and the place that are to blame, not necessarily the people. Anyway. My tirade shall rest.
I have amassed a list of tips and tricks for how to handle yourself on the NYC street and feel as cosmopolitan as possible.
stand next to danger as if it defined the daily drag,
blot out the unnecessary,
smell this (nuts 4 nuts).
disregard nitrogen !
squint eyes to look as if you've won a staring contest with a cheetah when
sidewalk swag is threatened,
don't sit on these
experience Lindt in a Duane Reade
even if it’s free, it’s not
there’s a mysterious drop of liquid on your skin. pray for rain
Written by Sarah Simon; Photos by Sarah Simon.
More photos from Sarah Simon’s NYC Note series can be found on Instagram.