Not In Keeping

In last Sunday’s post about places I’ve seen, there was one pic which, for various reasons, didn’t make the cut:

As a long-ago Reader once commented:  “The best view of Manhattan is through a bomb-sight.”

Like so many cities, the place is best viewed from a distance because a) it smells and b) Noo Yawkers.  And of course there’s the political thing.

Despite all that, however, I like NYFC even though (to quote another Reader) it’s “mostly hype and hicks”.  And I’m not talking about the members of the International Hayseed Set who can be found gawping at Times Square and forming long lines at the Statue;  having lived there for three years, I’ve found most New Yorkers to be unbelievably parochial and yes, hicks.  What else can explain a city which serves the most over-priced-yet-average food in North America, and thinks that if it doesn’t happen in NYC, it doesn’t matter?

New Wife has never been to NYFC, so at some point I may have to grit my teeth and take her there.  Or not.  The price (to me) may just be too high.


  1. You’re absolutely right about New Yorkers. Having worked there for over 30 years, and lived there for over the first half of my life, I can offer a few examples of their parochialism:

    – My very first adult girlfriend, in college, firmly believed that Idaho existing solely to grow potatoes to be make into french fries for NYC

    – One time, when I lived in NJ, a co-worker (who also lived in NJ) and I were talking about an impending overnight snow storm (meaning we’d have to shovel out our driveways before we could go to work early next morning). Another co-worker who lived in Manhattan (right near Gramercy Park) told us to just shut up and deal with it. This from someone who had a super to shovel the snow and rode the subway to work.

    – More people than I could count who believed meat came wrapped in plastic and produce came in bins, who had no concept that, should the trucks and trains feeding NYC stop running they’d be eating their cats in two days and each other in a week.

    – People who’s answer to any crisis, whether a leaking faucet, mouse in the kitchen, or flat tire was to “call someone”.

    As for the food, there IS good food to be had once you get away from the touristy areas, often in little hole-in-the-wall places, generally ethnic, and frequently family-run.

    Funny though, I grew up in Staten Island, and Staten Islanders take parochialism to a WHOLE new level. My mother was born in Staten Island in 1919 (yes, she’d have been 100 last month had she still been alive). In her entire life, the furthest she ever got from SI was Western NJ near the PA border. She never once had to change her watch because she’d entered a new time zone. During my life I can recall her travelling to NJ maybe two or three times, Manhattan maybe a couple-dozen times (my Dad worked there for a while), and that’s literally IT.

    Mark D

  2. As an original Bronxite? Bronxeer? ’til 4th grade: take her!
    BTW, there’s nowhere else (NYC) you can get a bagel.

  3. Urban provincialism isn’t limited to NYC, though it seems to be strongest there. It’s bad all along the I-95 Axis of Evil.

    Me? I’m a country boy. Only been to 11 countries.

  4. Having grown up on “Long Guyland” , I am qualified to give the time-honored excuse to anyone who rags on New Yorker’s – you have to remember to cut them a little slack as the light at the end of THEIR tunnel…is New Jersey!

  5. Well. There is the Frick. And the Morgan. And the exhibit rooms at NYPL. And in August, there’s only the people who /have/ to be there — the poseurs have all gone to the Berkshires.

  6. Years ago I was in and out of NYC, Manhattan, at least once a year for trade shows and meetings, I enjoyed it in small doses, glad to get there and real happy to leave. I discovered early on that when I got in a cab I would ask first thing, which one, the bridge or the tunnel was moving faster so he would think I had an idea where we were going and would not take me for a detour or get us stuck in traffic just to run the meter up. The second thing I would do is visit with the door man at the hotel or or one of the staff and ask them where they go to find a good reasonable price meal, which little deli was close by and good and once I got the the little place I would discover the food was not cheap but it was always good and the portions were generous. I was always treated well by the common folks in NYC.

  7. >>”The best view of Manhattan is through a bomb-sight.”

    Dad tells the tale that when he was an Airedale (Naval Aviation) on a training flight during the Korean war, he actually DID see Manhattan through his bomb sight, as a consequence of the flight leader screwing up his navigational cues. His obsolete Grumman Avenger was packing four inert 500 lb training bombs, “which would have done a number on the Empire State building even without the explosives”. There was never any real danger the flight would drop their load, however, as everyone knew the exercise had gone fubar well ahead of the target run phase of the thing, and they’d turned around before the island was in range.

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