What is this New York "electricity" everyone keeps talking about?

I may just become a one-issue doper for this, but:

Have you considered Jersey City? Living here doesn’t suck like New York does, but it’s close enough to work/play there, (Where I live is 25 minutes door-to-door to NYU, for example.) and we still have all the amenities of a big city.

I actually feel that “electricity” you describe here in JC, but feel that Manhattan is too anonymous. Kinda like “no one goes there anymore; it’s too crowded.”

ETA: FWIW, I’ve also lived in Chicago, Budapest, elsewhere in NJ, and midwestern suburbia.

FWIW, I visited NYC for the first time a couple of years ago just before Christmas. We only did Manhattan, so I can’t speak on the other boroughs, but it was cold ,dirty and honestly kinda disappointing…

Pretty much like London without the charm.

I’ve visited plenty of large cities (though only Atlanta and NYC in the US), so it’s not like I just hate large cities.

I think I saw them in action a few years ago. I was at a Korean lunch buffet bar at the height of the lunchtime crowding (like a big salad bar with hot and cold foods – the food’s not Korean but somehow, they’re always run by Koreans) and a few people, at least I assume they were really people, came in dressed in animal costumes. One was a rabbit, another a dog, and another a bear. They didn’t buy anything, say anything or interact with anybody, not even to each other: they just wandered around the place for a few minutes and left.

Unlike a British live-humour show from 5 years ago or so, whose name unfortunately escapes me. It used to air on Comedy Central but was only on for a few months. One of their segments featured two people in bunny suits popping out of nowhere and simulating rabbit humping in a public place.

Or my favorite: the guy in a multi-level garage who got out of a car with a cell phone to his ear, just as a random stranger passed by talking on a cell phone of his own. “I’m over here! Just as you instructed, I haven’t called the cops, and have the suitcase with the money here. You promised she wouldn’t be hurt! Where is she?”

Then, following the dumbstruck look the other man gave back: “What? Aren’t you the guy who just called me on my phone? About <woman’s name>? No? Sorry… My mistake.” (Gets back in car and drives off)

When I visited NYC for the first time, like Baldwin, I was struck with how familiar it seemed. I was prepared to be overwhelmed and a little scared (I was there by myself) in a large, unfamiliar city. Instead, it felt like a large, familiar city. I kind of expected to find my favorite characters from books or movies or TV, or the real people who inspired such characters, around every corner. I imagine this would diminish with actually living there, though.

Strangely, I agree with you, even though I loved being in London and never much cared for NYC.

I think what really chaps me about NYC is how much everybody talks it up, supplying as evidence either (1) thinly-veiled self-important comments about how you’re a nobody unless you’re a New Yorker or (2) a list of supposed advantages of living in NYC that would, truth be told, apply to many other large cities throughout the world, and often are better elsewhere. Honestly I think NYC “does” a lot of things well but I’d hardly say everything’s the best of the best there, as some of its backers claim.

But the food is top-notch. There’s no argument to be had over that.

Actually, I think the food is where NYC is far below places like Paris, Barcelona, maybe even London these days. Paris is still the king, and Barcelona is the king of innovation.

I have visited NYC many times, but never lived there, although I would love to. IMHO, you’d have to be consciously trying to have a bad time in NYC. There’s always so much fun stuff to do – every kind of activity, cuisine, and hobby, along with museums, architecture, theater, etc. You can ride the ferry for free and gawk at the Statue of Liberty and watch all the foreign tourists excitedly take pictures and talk in two dozen languages. You can stroll along the Brooklyn bridge at midnight and see people going about as though it’s noon and not midnight. You can go to Times Square at 2am and it looks like it’s dawn it’s so bright. I have been to many cities and there aren’t many that have as much to do and see as NYC. The only ones that come close are Istanbul, Turkey and New Orleans. When I’m in NYC, I feel like I’m in The City, capital letters, not a city.

Also, quite contrary to their reputation, I found New Yorkers to be delightful, if forthright, people. As long as you’re not a complete and total asshole to people, they’ll give you directions, chat with you on the subway, and helpfully explain the street system.

For a second, I thought the OP was asking about those incidents a few years ago where some people and dogs got shocked from a couple of ConEd manholes.
It’s kind of hard to put your finger on it, but living and working in NYC feels a bit like working in the center of the universe. One of the things I really liked about it was that everything is right there. I could walk out my appartment and walk to a huge variety of pretty much anything I need - bars, clubs, shopping, coffee, whatever. And I could do it pretty much anytime I want.

The big difference between New York and a lot of other major cities, especially American ones, is that in other cities, people don’t live in them. They live in the suburbs and exurbs where they drive in for work or shopping or socializing and then drive home. If you want to do things like go to a new restaurant or shop or drink with your friends, you generally need to organize a special trip and drive there.

I suppose it’s all relative. NYC never really get’s completely quiet, but it has different energy levels at different times of day or night. I used to live in the East Village, near 14th St. There is definitely a different feel at 11am on a Saturday (relative quiet), after work on a weekday (sort of an in-between state as people move from work to home) or at 1am on a Thursday (party time).

IMHO, one of the best things about NYC is the nightlife. NYC has a strong drinking culture and I’ve had many an interesting night that has ended after 5am.

You might also want to consider Hoboken, NJ. Like JC, it’s right over the river and easy to get to NYC. You have all the bars, restaurants, parks and other amenities of living in NYC, but it’s a bit quieter and a little cheaper.

It might be helpful to know what **Rodgers01 **doesn’t like about NYC and what he looks for in places to live.

That pretty much sums it up - all the things that New Yorkers claim* make New York The Greatest City on Earth are available in most other megalopolises (megalopoli?), with the exception of UN headquarters, which nobody I know wants to visit anyway, Yankee Stadium, which is about to be demolished, and the Statue of Liberty, which is admittedly pretty cool, but not exactly worth the trip.

*I base this claim on comments from TV, movies and music. I’ve only actually heard a couple of Noo Yawkers make this claim, and they all moved away pretty much as soon as they could.

There’s also Secaucus which still has a small town feel to it. The only problem is if you drive it gets congested going through the Lincoln Tunnel during rush hour. Jersey City and Hoboken have the PATH trains which are a lot faster. Since **Rodgers01 ** lives in the city, I doubt he has a car?

I only liked certain parts of NYC such as Greenwich Village, SoHo, the east side of Midtown, the Metropolitan Museum and MOMA. I do feel the electricity, but that’s probably because I only go there when I’m doing something special like seeing a play or a band or shopping. What part are you in **Rodgers01 **? What areas have you visited?

In the spirit of fighting ignorance, maybe you should get your information on NYC from somewhere other than Seinfield, Friends, and Sex and the City reruns?

And maybe you should get your information on other cities from spending time there. Everybody who lives in a megopolis thinks their city is the Center of the Universe.

Ninety-seven of whom could care less about you or anyone else, and the other three of whom are obsessive to the point of being unhinged, and liable to make your life a living hell if you so much as have coffee with them.

The “electricity” of New York is alternating current: now positive, now negative. If you can’t live with unusually strong currents of negativity, you can’t tap into the greater positives.

I side with Duke on this one. Well, I’ve only visited Paris and Barcelona, but in my three years in New York, I found the food to be good, but not really all that spectactular. OK, except for Bengal Tiger, but that was all the way up in White Plains. Mostly in NYC, it was an hour subway trek (I lived at the end of the 1 train) to experience the joy of eating in a place that was overcrowded, overpriced, and overrated.

I agree with the posters who say that there is tons of stuff to do in New York. I did find a lot of activities that I enjoyed. But I think, for whatever reason, that I just like smaller cities. I like a more laid-back environment. I think “electricty” is just a synonym for “crowds”, which was not really my thing.

As I commented earlier, really it’s about New York being the prime example, on the largest scale, of a densely populated urban global crossroads in the USA. If we’re talking world-wide I would like to think it’s still up there in the ranking, and unique in flavor if not in character. For example, I loved the two weeks I spent in Paris and definitely feel it has even more of what I love about New York (especially post-Giuliani), except of course that New York is my home and Paris is not (my family ties being all here). All things being made equal in terms of relative income, fluency in the language and easy access to family, and I would move or at least live part-time in Paris in a heartbeat.

In the US I also enjoy visiting SF, Chicago and Boston, and North of the Border, Montreal and Vancouver. If I had to move there I think I’d be happy. Not so much Toronto for some reason.

Actually, I’ve worked, lived or visited Austin, Amsterdam, Boston, Dallas, Detroit, Hamburg, Jacksonville, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, London, New Orleans, Orlando, Philladelphia, Pittsburg, Rio de Janairo, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington DC as well as a lot of smaller cities.

The fact of the matter is that in terms of population, scale, economic opportunity, culture, and a few other factors, very few cities in the world are on the same level as New York. Maybe London, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Paris, Beijing and a few others I forgot. You may live in a city that isn’t on that list (or one of a few I may have left off) and think you are in the Center of the Universe, but by any qualitative or quantitative measurement, you would be mistaken.

That is not to say NYC is the best place in the world for everyone to live. There clearly are some downsides to living here. It’s crowded. It get’s disgustingly hot in the summer. It’s very expensive. It can be very hectic and nervewracking. But, for the most part, I like living here.

I lived in NYC for a few years and loved every minute of it.
If I could afford it, I would move back in a New York minute.

For me, NYC was always an adventure…just going to the corner to pick up some take-out was usually an experience of sight, sound, smell and feelings. Anything can and did happen, even on short jaunts like that.

Sometimes, I would walk 30 city blocks and not even realize I had strayed so far. I could kill 12 hours, having a great time, and if you asked me what I did that day I would say, “Nothing particularly…just took a walk…” but loved every minute of it. I remember cutting through Central Park one spring morning and bumping into John Lennon and Yoko Ono also taking a walk…

Sigh…now I need my NYC fix again…wonder how much that JetBlue flight is from Ls Vegas to NY…

Step on ConEd manhole covers in the winter to discover this electricity.

You know, if you take a leak from any subway platform and manage to hit the third rail with your stream, you’ll get a killer taste of NYC electricity.