29 December 2010

Post Vacation Thoughts

Well, people may or may not know I went on vacation two weeks ago to New York. It wasn't my first time there... the first time I went there was long long ago and it was part of an "east coast" tour. But that's really different from exploring the city on your own and doing what you want to do! The main goal of this trip was to have fun, go to museums, shop, and eat.

Even though I spent a week there, I couldn't possibly shop at all the stores I wanted to shop at nor go to all of the foodie places (haha)! I plan on writing a post about the food I ate and another post about the shopping I did. This post is for overall impressions about NY.

City of Trash?

My brother lived in NY over the summer and he called NY the "city of trash." I laughed at the time, because it was funny. However... it is also true. There is trash piled on the sidewalks and I saw the piles grow in size slowly day by day. At one point, they were as high as the parked cars! GROSS! No wonder they have rats and roaches there! I can't even imagine the stench of garbage in the humid summer heat.

How do I throw away my trash?

I'm not joking here. Here in California we are hippie-tree-hugging-sunscreen-wearing-mother-earth-worshippers. Uh, kind of. What we do have is: sorted trash bins (paper, trash, compost, recyclable cans/bottles) at home, public transit areas, and schools.

In NY, people just seem to throw everything in the trash (even cans/bottles). Maybe it gets sorted at the plant? I don't know. But I only saw one business that separated their trash. For those who are curious, it was a bagel shop owned by Thai people.

Anyway, imagine the poor California girl who was confused about trash disposal. "Where should I put this bottle?" No choice but the trash... :*(

No ecotainers? :(

I first saw ecotainers (ecological containers) and biodegradable disposable utensils made of soy, corn, potato, etc. at my workplace. I thought it was a funny idea... but the reality is plastic can only be recycled once. That is why plastic containers are not made up of 100% recycled material. Lately, I have noticed more and more local businesses using these ecological products... from fancy organic ice cream shops to cheap Chinese restaurants that sell plates for $5. Perhaps they are getting a subsidy from the state of California? I wouldn't be surprised.

But anyway, back to NY. I saw so much styrofoam and plastic there that I missed those damn ecotainers in California!!! LOL... there must be something wrong with me I sound like this tree loving country bumpkin. Maybe I am one... ;)

The streets are chaos!

What's the point of having traffic signals and laws... if NO ONE abides by them? Pedestrians jay walk like mad. I saw a rich lady in a mink coat just step out in the middle of the road. Her chauffeur held her shopping bags and held up his hand to stop traffic. Um really? Unbelievable. Not just that... but pedestrians start crossing the street before the signal light changes to give them the right of way. And they step out onto the intersection to "wait" for the signal. Errr... Anyway, I have come to the conclusion that NYers jaywalk because their traffic lights are inefficient. There is a slight lag between light changes... and they simply can't abide waiting that extra 10-20 seconds...

Cars run red lights all the time. Also, when they are turning and a pedestrian is crossing the road... they don't actually stop! They just slow down a touch and assume you'll keep walking. It is really disconcerting!

Cyclists also do not follow the road rules/laws. I saw a cyclist hit a woman and that cyclist almost did a "hit and run." He only stuck around because other people saw what happened and told him to "At least see if she was okay." :X

I don't really see how there aren't accidents everyday. Every city has a "flow," I guess NY's is just more chaotic? -_- I suppose I might sound like a country bumpkin again... but the reason why we can't do these things in California is because of TRAFFIC TICKETS.

You can get a ticket for jay walking... not yielding to pedestrians... blocking the cross walk... not wearing your seat belt... talking on the cell phone whilst driving... etc! Perhaps NY should start doing the same? It would make things a little more orderly and generate some revenue? I can't believe I just wrote that. :X

Night schedules for subway?

Well NYC is the city that never sleeps .. and it has 24 hour subways. Wow. nekoball and I were worried about the lines changing for the "night schedule." But as we found out "night schedule" means 1AM-5AM. COOOL!