Twenty One Things I Learnt in New York.

Published November 4, 2015 by Naomi Rettig

1. Airport security are not a warm welcome to America. Do not smile, try to be friendly, speak before you are spoken to, or sweat so much it appears that you are trying to disguise your fingerprints on their electronic hand scanner. If you do all of the above they will look at you as if you have smeared peanut butter on their pet Chihuahua and licked it. That’s not something you should do either.
2. Everyone says ‘you’re welcome’ if you say thank you. It sounded a bit weird and ‘Stepford Wives’ at first but then it becomes endearing. Or creepy. It flips between the two.
3. Never try to control an umbrella in the wind and rain on Liberty Island. Lady Liberty will just watch over you and snigger as you do your best Mary Poppins impression. She’s quite sturdy to withstand the weather there. The Statue of Liberty that is, not Mary Poppins.
4. American eateries presume you are eating for three. I know I look like I’ve smuggled a family of Mexicans under my shirt but I really only want food for one.
5. In high tide you need mountaineering skills to board the gangway of the Liberty tour boat. Shoes with grips are recommended. Or crampons. If you have those with you then you will board the boat with the grace and poise of a gazelle, instead of the bottom out stumbling style of a tipsy hippo that I demonstrated.
6. The ‘Skyride’ at the Empire State Building is NOT the lift to the viewing deck. Do not do what I did and wander in thinking you are going in a fast elevator only to be seated with a rollercoaster bar locked over you and an icy cold flow of ‘uh oh’ twisting through your veins. Apparently you see New York from a helicopter perspective. I didn’t as I found the inside of my eyelids less vomit inducing to watch. The jolting movements were enough of a stimulation to me and my stomach.
7. Books in the public library are well hidden. I couldn’t see any. I thought I’d wandered into a museum instead. They probably did have some there but I like books to ooze out rather than have to be squeezed out.
8. Look out for low tree branches and traffic lights when on a tour bus. If you are 5’8 or above the chances of your head smacking on low bobbing objects are 72%. It will however cause you great exhilaration when you dodge a head shot.
9. There are more adverts than actual shows on the television channels. If you have a short attention span this is great, if not it’s just very annoying.
10. All medical ads come with so many disclaimers I’m surprised they sell any products at all. Most medicine pitches end with ‘this product may cause heart failure’.
11. There are so many channels on the television but not much to watch. If you like news and sports though you will be fine.
12. Fire engine sirens sound like a person screaming while falling from a high building. I thought there were a lot of suicides happening before realising this.
13. Teachers don’t like to supervise their children at the Ellis Island museum at all times as they are instructed to do. My mind Taser didn’t work on them unfortunately.
14. The largest sapphire in the world in the American Museum of Natural History looks like a glass paperweight. I think someone may have switched it when the security guard wasn’t looking. He looked very bored and could have been easily distracted with a pastrami sandwich and a fizzy drink.
15. Chinatown is the place for a massage. Every other store is a massage emporium.
16. Macy’s is just a department store. I don’t know what I was expecting but I was underwhelmed. Maybe because I don’t like shopping, it might have been paradise to others but it was just a big shop to me.
17. It’s very friendly, friendlier than London I thought.
18. A medium drink carton in the Regal Cinema on 42nd Street is twice the size of my bladder.
19. If you are getting in a cab in rush hour you need to either close your eyes or pretend you are filming the latest Fast and Furious movie.
20. New York police direct traffic at night with flashing glow sticks. I could not be trusted with flashing glow sticks. I would dance.
21. I love New York City more than I thought I would and will return again and again. And again.

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