I was born in the San Francisco Bay Area, and have lived here most of my life.
For all of you who do not live on either coast, it should be noted that there exists betwixt New York City & San Francisco a rivalry which is never mentioned. To do so would be gauche and tasteless, and I risk my status as a native San Franciscan by doing so now. But I feel there are simply some things that must be brought to light.
It is believed by the denizens of both cities that thiers is by far superior in every possible way, and to live in the other is to be consigned to the deepest depths of hell and despair*.
Last week, after the event of meeting my sweetie’s family, we drove from Pennsylvania to New York City to visit IvaHD on our way up to Massachusetts to visit Salem, tanookie and Parallax, which was a wonderful visit, and a whole nother thread in and of itself.
Below are my impressions of “that other place.” My fellow Californians! I tell you now! It’s not that bad!!!
Weather. Okay, yes. We have them beat here. Sorry, New Yorkers, I realize that you think you have “real weather.” What you have is breaks between the bad weather. I have not sweated that much since I took up running. And there is simply no way in hell I could live in snow. Just not happening.
Subway/BART. I call this a toss up. Our trains are newer, nicer and probably a little safer. Although, to be fair, I felt perfectly safe travelling on the subway at 1am, so there ya go. However, the subway in New York City goes EVERYWHERE. For one price. $2. That’s it. There is no incremental price hike for each stop cough Fremont to Daly City cough
Traffic/roads. We hit the George Washington Bridge at 4:45pm going into the city. Not too bad. Think the Bay bridge or the San Mateo on a busy day. Traffic moved. The only thing which really surprised me was getting honked at; usually getting me to move is not the problem. The opposite, in fact. But apparently New Yorkers anticipate the changing of a light from red to green, and stomp the pedal a split second before that happens. Other than that, it was very much like driving downtown on a Saturday afternoon with tourists in full force. The roads are also in MUCH better shape than they are here. There is simply no excuse for that; we don’t even have SNOW here, fercryinoutloud. The highly touted “NO Californian could drive in New York” is BS.
Cleanliness. Much, much cleaner than I had been led to believe, and far cleaner (even in the Bronx) than the Mission. They win.
Rudeness. While I’m sure the reputation is well earned, for the most part the people we came across, chatted with, interacted with, were really quite nice. Happy, even. And very helpful. I was quite floored, and by this time, my preconceived notions were rapidly switching gears (which was pleasant; I always enjoy having one of my preconceived notions proved wrong; having them proved right is a disappointment). They win. I give that one happily.
Food. I remain, in this respect, a complete San Franciscan; firmly entrenched in the belief that the California food scene is the one which sets the pace. But, damn, I was mighty impressed. We walked down a little tree lined street in the East Village that seemed to consist, for the most part, of apartments and Indian Restaurants. We picked one at random and went in. The food was sublime. Pickled spicy onions, lamb, rice, saffron, amazing nan, all washed down with Bass Ale. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. The reputation for being a food lover’s paradise is well earned. Toss up, given grudgingly. But only because I had just one day there; I’m sure I would have been swayed had I more time and cash.
Wine. New Jersey has wineries. As does New York. Who knew? Not… bad. Not Napa. We win.
So. I made it out of New York City, pleasantly and happily surprised. They’re okay, y’know? Still…wouldn’t want to live there.