The U.S. From An Austrian’s Perspective: NYC

springI would never make it in New York City. In fact I’m 100% sure it would eat me alive, spit me out and eat me up again just for a laugh. The cars are too loud, the pace of life is too fast and its Foot Locker establishments put me in too foul of a mood to ever go back there again (an overly dramatic long story).

Of course the Big Apple has its charm what with its cute town houses, giant skyscrapers and gorgeous parks, but, I don’t know. I’ve been there 3 times now and this time I didn’t really know what to do with myself except eat all of the food I could get my hands on. There wasn’t anything I wanted to see that I hadn’t already seen save for Seinfeld’s famous cafe and maybe a celebrity walking around in a hoodie (never spotted one). I was, however, very, very eager to see how our Austrian friend, Thomas, would react to his very first American city.

Photo credit: Will Kooi
Photo credit: Will Kooi

Thomas was into New York City right off the bat. We left the airport and hopped into one of the first things on his to-do checklist: a yellow taxi. Our driver flawlessly fulfilled the stereotype of driving like a crazy person and dropped us off at our destination in Manhattan. On the way there, Thomas took pictures of things that I wouldn’t have blinked an eye at, like yellow school buses, small houses and traffic jams. He ate his first “real” burger that night and debated getting himself a second, but NYC’s notoriously high prices convinced him otherwise. He also took his first swig of American tap water, an event I was especially looking forward to since he’s only ever had pure, fresh mountain water from the Alps as his go-to tap water. He took a sip and was instantly grossed out, and he gave either me or Will the free water he received the rest of his time in the city. It cracked me up every time.

Thomas was surprised to find out about a number of others things that I in turn was equally surprised to learn about his assumptions. Things like:

Not all of New York City’s building are skyscrapers

park– Central Park is not the only piece of green in the city

– NYC’s subway is older, dirtier and much longer than it looks to be in the movies

– It’s actually not as stressful of a city as London

– There are a whole ‘lotta doormen

– Starbucks is king and sit on every corner

Even a borough switch was a bit of a shock:

Top: Manhattan, Bottom: Brooklyn
Top: Manhattan, Bottom: Brooklyn
















It’s been really fascinating to see things from his perspective and experience the alterations or complete switches of his assumptions along with him and I’m excited to continue to learn from him as he now sees what life is like in home state: Georgia.

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  1. I just came back from Chicago and was totally overwhelmed by how fast everyone and everything was there – I’m sure NY would be just as overwhelming, if not more!

    1. Author

      It certainly moves a lot faster than I do.

  2. Interesting read! It’s funny, I’ve been there 3 times and still absolutely love it and always find new things to do and explore – it’s actually one of the only cities in the world where I don’t think I’d ever get tired of visiting! But then, I’m a Londoner so when I go to NYC, it doesn’t feel overly fast paced, tiring, busy or crowded!

    1. Author

      That may very well be the case. If you’re used to a speedy lifestyle, maybe a different but equally speedy city isn’t as intimidating? I’ve been to London 5 times and find things to do there, but I think it’s the “abroad” feel that makes me want to keep searching around. NYC doesn’t feel as exciting.

  3. I always like getting a different perspective on a familiar place. NYC is overwhelming for me too, I can only handle it in small chunks.

    1. Author

      Agreed. I just think I’m better suited for smaller cities.

  4. I love New York. I come from London so it’s frantic pace and 24 hour culture is something I LOVE…. Having said that, last time I went I had been living in sleepy Denmark for a few years so it was a bit of a shock, I dread to think how long it would take me to adjust having now lived in even more sleepy Munich for a few years! 😀

    1. Author

      That makes sense – the London/NYC likeness. Good luck in your new sleepy city! 🙂

    1. Author

      It’s been an interesting “study”. Thanks for reading!

  5. Ha! Sweet Thomas! I bet that was fun. Tap water! Do not let him drink it in Texas. Edmond isn’t so terrible. Non of it compares to here though.
    I am enjoying your visit from afar! Have fun, tell your parents hi and hug my mom!

    1. Author

      I’m just glad he won’t be able to try the water in Florida or Tennessee. Tastes like eggs. Miss you and I’ll definitely hug your mom!

  6. This is really fascinating to read. My boyfriend is Hungarian and the first time he came to Vancouver he was amazed by the strangest of things – like Costco and our gigantic washing machines. He still shows photos of them proudly to his friends back home. Looking forward to see his observations of Georgia!

    1. Author

      YES the washer/dryer is the next thing I plan on mentioned when I talk about Georgia. He just saw ours for the first time and burst into a fit of laughter. I think he was in shock.

  7. Great post, very entertaining read! Love NYC, although would never live there as it would eat me alive too. However, this was the only place where I was truly impressed with myself for visiting it. Thanks for linking up to the #SundayTraveler!

    1. Author

      Yeah I think it’s definitely a city that helps to boost one’s confidence (after surviving it). Thanks for reading!

    1. Author

      I definitely spent most of time with food.

  8. Love the angle you took this – it’s always interesting to see things from someone else’s perspective, isn’t it? Thanks for linking up to the #SundayTraveler 🙂

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