The broad avenues of New York City, shiny and magnificent “Big Apple”, hear the steps of uncountable number of European travellers every day. For many of them, it is likely neither the first, nor the last time to visit the city. Those in question already know the drill: queuing for the passport check after hours onboard, ladies feeling their skin getting dry and hair messy before being taken a photo of at the counter, and gentlemen with eyes sore of never enough of sleep. And all of them with a mobile in their hand (god forbid there was no internet on the plane!)
The next step: finding a drive on a popular app to take them to their long-awaited accommodation (also booked through a popular app). What follows next couple of days is a well-known routine to many: checking MyTransit app and subway rides (watching pretty much most of the time not to step on someone`s foot), sightseeing on Manhattan and climbing up the famous Rockefeller/Empire State Building/One World Trade Center for the best view and photos for a famous app, dining at diners, unforgettable “Broadway” and hockey game experiences and an app-ride back home when too tired to wait for the subway.
Arriving in New York to stay as a resident, however, is a completely different experience. It takes a village to fit into the logistics of moving from a smaller city somewhere in Europe to a huge metropolis, one has only visited as a tourist or maybe only heard of through popular culture products before.
One slowly, on daily basis, learns about the city and the reality which is much beyond the scenes depicted in movies or books. Yes, it is exciting and chaotic and noisy and fast. However, the diversity, not only of its population, but also of its five boroughs and suburbs, is never enough introduced to cultures to other continents.
After a seven-day MetroCard is replaced with a 127-dollar-monthly one, one becomes a daily subway commuter. One might see people with paperback novels reading in peace for almost an hour of ride. Or a grandfather showing a young girl the surroundings of Queens in sunshine, once the subway train goes above ground. Or a tired worker on a long ride to Bronx who slowly falls asleep on a subway`s bench. He quickly awakes and apologizes, smiling to people next to him. Or one might simply find oneself stuck with a mix of tourists and New Yorkers, with no need to hold a handle (which handle?) and no place to look but down at all the feet – on the way to 42nd street, close to Times Square and its lights.
And soon, there might come a day, when one wants to take a Saturday off to feel like a tourist again. To stand in line for the “Top of the Rock”. Or in front of the TKTS office to get the best discount for a Broadway show. Or to climb once again, like in the old days, one of the skyscrapers and take the best photo, for a famous app.