I’ve just got back from a trip to New York to celebrate my 30th. It was my first visit to the city, having always saved it as a destination for a special occasion, and I was intrigued as to whether I would love it. As somewhere that’s so established in pop culture – from Sex and the City to Friends to Mad Men – I felt like I sort of already knew the place before I’d even arrived.
We’d booked to stay in an Air BnB flat in Greenwich Village because I wanted to experience the city as a New Yorker rather than a tourist and I was curious as to whether I’d leave wanting to move to New York. I loved Greenwich Village with it’s beautiful townhouses, tree-lined streets, trendy bars and restaurants, authentic pubs, hipster cafes and laid-back vibe. But I was surprised at how aggressive I found the rest of the city – it felt like a huge sprawling urban metropolis that made me feel insignificant. And I found New Yorkers to be hardened to the city’s roughness.
It made me think about the concept of cities each having their own personality and character traits. Whilst I’d describe New York as aggressive, I’d describe London as impatient but courteous, Singapore as a reliable old friend, Hong Kong as frenetic, Dubai as a flashy car salesman, Melbourne as a corporate hipster, and Sydney as a good-looking surfer dude. After visiting these seven cities, and living in three of them, I’d say Melbourne is the place I came away from feeling most like I’d like to live there.
Have you been to New York? How did you find it? Of the places you’ve visited, which have you found most liveable?