Note: I was originally asked this question by someone on Quora, a Q&A website.
You get a bit jaded.
I think the same rings true for people living in other big cities, but it’s certainly a trend in New York.
When I first moved here, I would answer questions asked by strangers on the sidewalk, talk to people on the subway, give out money to the homeless, and even be excited by the street performers!
Now, if I see one more freaking mariachi band board the N train, or experience another “showtime showtime” dance performance, etc., I feel like my brain might explode. (Note: I still love the guy with the saxophone in Grand Central.)
I wear headphones more frequently. I watch when people are walking close behind me on the street. I carry mace. If someone approaches me, my first reaction is often, “don’t engage!”
I’ve been sexually assaulted on a walk home, and grabbed by strangers on the subway. I’ve been deceived, hurt, and scared while wondering the streets of this city over the last eight years. I’ve also met incredible people in the back of a cab, and chatted with a stranger at a bar until two in the morning.
So there is a constant inner battle: be the polite and whimsical me, or be the fierce and independent me who has learned to have a good scowl when needed.
But I think the ugly truth is…
All of the above doesn’t change my love for New York City in the slightest.
Tips for Traveling to New York
When I travel, I love getting a Lonely Planet guide book. The New York edition has information about the top spots to visit, places to eat in each neighborhood, and have opening/closing times for big attractions. It’s helpful, especially if you don’t have internet!
Consider getting a SIM card if you’re traveling from another country. I always prefer having Google Maps at my finger tips. Note: Read all of the fine print to make sure your phone is compatible.
See the view from the Empire State Building, visit NBC Studios, and watch a Broadway show. But make sure you get out of midtown and experience Lower Manhattan—or the boroughs!