Back From NY

So many things to take on board, in a wide trawl from DC to NY on conference. Beautiful cherry blossom season in pretty DC to a cranky and sullen New York.

Why are all their notes the same size? It’s incredibly frustrating to count out cash; the one dollar in particular is a bug bear. And how easy is it when drunk to slip a cabbie the wrong note? They all look the same. Ours make much more sense – the little fiver, the bigger ten, the crisper twenty. Also, why are New Yorkers so fvcking rude, all the time, everywhere? The b1tch at MoMa served me, took my cash, gave my chance and didn’t even break her conversation to her friend, liberally peppered with swearwords. Hmm, way to compare to the Tate. Ours might be staffed by aspirational-bread buying Waitrosers, but at least they have some concept of customer service. Their subway is dirty and dilapidated and impractical. Turnstiles? In a modern day Metro system?! Thank you KingsX for your one millon electronic Oyster scanners that help people get where they are going without pushing through a metal turnstile into an escalatorless ascent to the street. Thank you Westminster with your gorgeous architecture. Thank you Southwark for your vaulted ceilings and cleanliness. Downtown itself is filthy in places (Wall Street was pretty grim) made worse as there’s no sunlight at ground level, due to all of the stupidly high skyscrapers, essentially, very very large office blocks.

The drivers maniacal and idiotic with no patience and no sense of lane discipline at all. I’d never thought I’d see a subway that made the Tube look efficient and user-friendly, but I’ve found it: trains rumble by, every ten mins or so, and rather than asking passagers to stand clear of the doors, the driver intones on an awful PA system ‘get outta of the doors, this train gotta move people!’. Yes, great, except it is idiot New Yorkers holding the doors — the tourists, aware of modern metro systems, have all long since got into the cabs. The curmudgeonly ‘would customers please not block the doors as this train can’t move if you do’ suddenly sounds like cultured finess. Admittedly, the Battery, the Hudson riverside, Ellis island, Central Park, Soho, St Mark’s – pleasant, beautiful, iconic. Brooklyn Bridge – awe-inspiring, but nice also to note they haven’t re-painted it in donkey’s years.

After the tenth person has barged you on the street, and the tenth cashier given you worthless currency (sub-one dollar denomination coins the size of pinheads) without even saying thanks, well, fine, fvck you too.