Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Southern Gal Goes to New York




I just got back from attending the PASIC Power Conference in New York. What a treat. What a time. What a learning experience. Here are fifteen lessons I learned in the big city.

1. When people engaged me in conversation it wasn’t that they liked me, they just wanted to hear me talk and say ya’ll. Next time, I’m going to bring a tin cup and ask for donations.


2. When a taxi driver asks if he can turn at the next right, he’s really getting permission to rip you off.


3. When you say, “I’ll just take the special” to the waiter in some nice restaurant in Times Square, you need to warn your credit card company in advance and take out another mortgage on your home to pay for it.


4. Before leaving for the big city, brush up on all the different kinds of seasonings, fancy cheeses and cooking phrases that you might not know. This way when the 100% Angus tartar beef comes out, you won’t be thinking you just ordered a really good grilled smothered steak and ask why the heck the meat isn’t cooked and where’s the tartar cheese.


5. When a smiling, slightly sleazy man approaches you wearing a dark and over-sized trench coat, don’t look! No matter how tempting, don’t look. Why? You might like the watches he has penned to the inside of his coat. (Yeah, I thought he was up to something else and was a tad disappointed too! Hey, it would have a made a much better blog.)


6. It’s okay to wear tennis shoes in New York as long as you have your 12-inch heels tucked away in your back pack or Gucci purse—which may or may not be the same Gucci purses the guy down the corner of the street is selling. (Which, by the way, are real. He swears on his mother’s grave.)


7. Don’t go to New York unless you look good in black. Any other color attracts dark-colored trench-coat wearing people.


8. Apparently, New York doesn’t get the weather memos that announce the first day of spring. I’m talking about the white, icy stuff falling from the sky that looked a lot like snow.


9. Short people should never go out on Times Square at six in the evening and attempt to follow someone unless you can recognize them by their butt. (P.S. Some butts do look alike.)


10. Short people should never stand behind anyone in Times Square at six in the evening who is wearing a back pack. Especially if it’s a woman carrying her 12-inch heels.


11. You are just as likely to be run over by a bicycle in Manhattan as a taxi. It hurts less but the tire tracks on your brand new tennis shoes can be permanent.


12. Manhattan taxi drivers do not like bicyclists and apparently they get points for every one they run off the road. Bicyclists can obviously retrieve those points by banging their fist on the side of the taxi and scaring the tourists in the cab to the point of nearly peeing in their pants.


13. Road rage isn’t something you need to see a doctor about, it just means you were meant to become a Manhattan taxi driver or a bicyclist.


14. Ordering iced tea or iced water in a restaurant doesn’t mean you’ll actually get the ice. P.S. When a southerner pronounces ice, it sometimes sounds like “ass” to a New York waiter and can bring on some very interesting conversations that start with, “You want what kind of water?”


15. Never, ever pass up the opportunity to go to New York. The people, even the road-raging taxi drivers and bicyclists, trench-coat wearing venders, and anti-ice or “anti-ass” bringing waiters, are a sight to behold and an experience to cherish. I loved every moment of it. Thank you, New York for putting up with this country bumpkin.
So, have you ever been to New York? Have you gone somewhere that you felt as if you were in a completely different world? Hey, have some of you big city folks ever visited south and felt as if the world was off its kilter?

48 comments:

Lucy said...

I LOVED New York. I went in 2000 with my niece. We decided to try their subway system once...and then didn't use another form of transportation until we took a taxi to the airport. Met some interesting people. LOVE the energy there. And, felt safer there walking the streets at night (not that kind of street walking!!!) than I do in Houston. I have some very fond memories of there. Remind me to tell you about being "chased" through the subway or being accosted in Wendy's (where they had a piano bar!). I'll tell you my niece's version because they're much more entertaining than what really happened. :)

Welcome back.

Oh and P.S. we didn't see any trench coat wearing people. *sigh* :)

Jana DeLeon said...

I love NY to visit, but I wouldn't hack living there. Too "much" of everything for me. It's sensory overload. But the last time I was there, my hotel was on Fifth Ave, in fact on the same block as the Dorchester building. What are the odds? And yes, since I'd paid the national debt in taxis the time before, I intentionally got permission to spend the national debt in hotel rooms instead so that I could walk to the class I was training.

And I DID bring my hiking sandals for the job (it was summer). In fact, one morning I was halfway through class when I realized I was still wearing them. LOL

Keri Ford said...

I've been, but I was young. Don't remember much other than all the honking taxis and the Statue of Liberty.

My Mom is on her way to New York this morning with a group of women. One of them lived in NY for 15years, so they've got a guide. I'm anxious for her to get back and give me her thoughts.

Christie Craig said...

Lucy,

I'm with you. I love NY. And yes, I think it's the energy. I feel a similar energy in Los Angeles, and I love it, too.

And you were chased through the subway? Oh, this one I need to hear.

I had a blast.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Jana,

I don't know if I could live their long term, but I would love to live there for six months just to get a "real" feel for the place.

And it's funny, I kept seeing woman standing outside of restaurants or office buildings, changing their shoes. And yeah, I got to feel a pair a heels in a back pack. LOL.

And I'll bet you were so entertaining that they didn't even notice your shoes.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Keri,

I hope your mom has a blast. It really is a neat, neat place to visit.

It will run up your credit card, but if your mom has a friend from there, I'll bet she knows where to go for less. Of course, we stayed right in the middle of things were we were charged for the pleasure, but it was still a blast.

Thanks for stopping by.

CC

red said...

I have never been to New York, but I have visited Washington D.C. twice. The first time was with a four yr old and a 4 month old. This was also the first time I had ever taken public transportation. What an eye opener.

My son couldn't stand to hear his sister cry (she was hungry), so as we sat on the subway- travelling to Arlington, he tried to pull my shirt up and told me to feed her. Nobody around me even blinked. His loud little 4 yr old voice didn't garner any extra attention, apparhently neither did my nursing bra.

Really, the entire experience was an eye opener for someone from a town of 12,000.

Christie Craig said...

Red,

LOL. I can imagine how awkward you might have felt. Too funny. And it is very strange coming from a small town to go to somewhere that you use public transportation.

Kids can always say the funniest things.

Thanks so much for the chuckle.

CC

terrio said...

I have never been to NYC and I really want to go. Just to visit, always knew living there wasn't for me. My guess is I'll get there when RWA Nationals are there in 2011. Must schedule in extra days to take advantage of the trip.

I've lived in a bustling city (Pittsburgh), a somewhat less bustling city (Nashville), and a tiny little town where the population didn't hit 100. I'll take the somewhat less bustling city any time. :)

BTW - You have this annoying habit of ending chapters in a such a way that one CANNOT close the book and go to sleep. That's not very nice.

Christie Craig said...

Terrio,

You've moved around. I visited Pittsburg, and Nashville. Nashville was my favorite of the two. Hey...in my next life I'm gonna be a Country Western singer. I'm also gonna be six feet tall.

I grew up in a small town in Alabama. So I know about small towns, too. Everyone there knows you, or knows of you. Like when I was sixteen and I nearly drove through the post office. It was my car, on top of the flower garden, my bumper kissing the front glass walls. And my fault everyone in there had dove behind the counter. Some people still talk about it.

Ahh, but I do love going back there.

Oh, about my annoying habit...I'm no fool, I know that's where you think you're going to put the book down. LOL.

Thanks Terrio!

CC

Ruth said...

I went to New York the last time Nationals was there. Didn't get to see much, but did learn they can't make a decent glass of ice tea, and they don't believe in refills. But the part of New York I did see was great and the people really were nice ( I had heard tales of rudeness, etc) and I can't wait to go back in 2011, this time I will go early and see a few things.

Ruth

Kristi said...

I haven't been to NYC since I was 14 even though we're only 5 hours away. I'd love to go, but never want to spend the money and it can be intimidating. You made me laugh though.

terrio said...

Christie - I grew up in the Burbs of Ohio so moving to a county in AR that didn't have a traffic light - that's right, the entire COUNTY did NOT have a traffic light - was intense culture shock. I never want to move back to the gray and insanity of Pittsburgh, but BFE is a little too far for me.

Why do I get the impression you are infamous in your home town?

Edie said...

Christie, you cracked me up. I've never been to New York, but I want to go. I can stay with my two cousins who live in Manhattan, so it wouldn't be too expensive. I don't think I could stand wearing heels too long. I'm used to my comfortable shoes.

Christie Craig said...

Hi Ruth,

I didn't find anyone was rude, unless running over my toes is considered rude. But hey, I should watch where I put my toes, right? People were very nice, and I had a blast. The food was great. Yes, it was expensive, but it was still great.

I missed you there. I could have used you and Jody's assistance to help me handcuff my editor Chris Keeslar.

Yup, Faye and I are doing another video. Chris was great. Don't you know he regrets the day he bought me. LOL.

Christie Craig said...

Kristi,

It was worth the money. I encourage you to give it a shot. Faye Hughes and I laughed a lot, fun was had by all.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Terrio,

Small towns can come with some interesting issues and some unique characters. I personally think the post office celebrated when they got my "I'm moving" postcard.

Recently on my trip back home, my aunt was telling me about Cow Patty Bingo. They mark squares on a cow pasture and assign numbers. Then everyone bets on certain numbers. And if the cow leaves a patty on your numbered square you win. See why I miss home?

CC

Christie Craig said...

Edie,

You and me both! I'm so short I could really use the height, but seriously, if I put on anything over a nice little pump heel, I'd end up with my nose flat on the floor.

And New York is fabulous. We went to the singing Deli, the name escapes me now, but it was so cool when our waiter broke out in song.

You gotta go sometime. Maybe at the RWA conference in 2011.

CC

MsHellion said...

Yep, been to NYC, lovely nice people there--I swear it, have no interest in ever returning.

I laughed at Central Park. As a person from the country who is used to SPACE, trees, grass, and did I mention SPACE, the fact that they cherish this little plot of land and think it's a forest just cracks me up. Seriously.

I marveled at Rockefeller Center--it looks BIGGER on TV. Actually all of NY looks BIGGER on TV. Up close, it just seemed...smaller. It was weird. Now, flying in at night and seeing nothing but rows and rows of lights for miles, HOLY COW, that was overwhelming, but once on the ground, it just seemed like a city.

I also thought the Statue of Liberty would be bigger. It was cool--I just thought it would be bigger. (I apparently have size-spacial issues.)

Oh, best compliment: I got mistaken for a native because someone stopped me to ask for directions. I had to apologize and say I was also a tourist and didn't know. Fortunately a business man stopped and helped them out--he was very friendly and hospitable.

The Gray's Papaya hotdogs are good. They have a ketchup-mustard-onion sauce that makes it all worthwhile.

Christie Craig said...

MsHellion,

Okay...I'm laughing here about your "size issues." All I can say is that I'll bet any guy dating you is a bit concerned. LOL.

Seriously, I know what you mean. Sometimes things do just seem like they should be bigger. Take the Alamo here in San Antonio, Texas. The first time I saw it I was sooo let down. I thought it was going to be some grand building, but it's tiny.

Thanks for stopping by.

CC

TJ Bennett said...

Christie,

Never been to New York but I've always wanted to go. I did visit Washington and loved the metro, and visited Boston and the ladies do the "shoe carrying/changing" polka there, too. And of course, I'm from Los Angeles, so I know about the energy. My husband is from Texas, though, and considers the Alamo sacred ground, so what you said? Them's FIGHTIN' words!

Funny post.

TJB

Tori Lennox said...

I've never been to NY. I'd love to hit the museums (and the NYC Public Library) sometime, though.

And I live in Arkansas. It's a world unto itself. *g* I feel like I can say that since, even though I wasn't born here, I have lots of family who was.

Christie Craig said...

TJ,

Before you attack...LOL, and have me tossed out of Texas.

I didn't say it wasn't fabulous. I just thought it would be a big place to go along with it's big reputation.

Wish you could have been in NY.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Tori,

My father-in-law lived in Hollywood AK for several years. Tiny little town, with some very unique characters and culture. I loved visiting.

And NY is a place you really need to see and experience.

Thanks for stopping in.

CC

Michelle said...

I've been to New York City a few times and there is always something different going on.

It's definitely got it's own vibe, and some of the people are friendly while others look like they want to throw you under the train for not moving fast enough,lol.

Glad you did enjoy yourself, but it's always nice to go home.

Christie Craig said...

Michele,

I didn't really run into any rude people. Well, not rude to me specifically. The guy on the bike didn't mean to run over my toe, and the road rage wasn't aimed at me.

They do seem to move at a faster pace, but the experience was well worth it.

And yes, it is good to be home. I'm still playing catch up.

Thanks for visiting!

CC

Gemma Halliday said...

Sound like so much fun! I'm jealous! (Mostly.*g*)

~Gemma

Christie Craig said...

Hi Gemma,

I could have used a few pairs of your shoes. You would blend in perfectly in NY--the land of nice purses and shoes.

CC

Vicky said...

I've traveled to NYC for business more times than I can count (formerly averaged 6X/year). One experience stands out in my mind. The singing cab driver on route to LaGuardia. He told me it was a gospel song - a Pakistani gospel song. He then proceeded to preach to me about various religions and told me I would never find happiness until I *met* God. Then he told me I would probably be reincarnated as a tree. At this point on the freeway, I considered jumping, but my luggage was in the trunk. The second we pulled up to the Continental terminal, I threw money at him, jumped out, and banged on the car, yelling, "Pop the trunk, pop the trunk." I've traveled to Europe and across the US, but this particular trip qualifies as my personal worst.

Christie Craig said...

Vicky,

I'm laughing my butt off here!! You are so funny. Great story.

I didn't get the singing taxi driver, just the one who used the F word when the bicycle road out in front of him.

Thanks so much for the laugh.

CC

LuAnn said...

I used to think I was short until I moved to the town where I now live. We have a group of Mixtecas here and they are very, very short. It's the first time in my life I actually look down on people!

Alexis said...

I've lived right outside New York City my whole life. It's great to visit...but I wouldn't want to live there. The car alarms go off continuously. And, what is the point? No one ever looks to see if the car is being stolen. I did go to school in VA briefly and I seemed to amuse most of dorm mates with my straight forward answers. Apparently, when people in other non-New york states ask your opinion, they expect you to sugar coat it ;0

Robin said...

I love NY. I miss NY. I love deli's rare roast beef on rye and cheesecake, I love the museum of Natural History, I love Rockefeller Center, Lincoln center, Broadway, the Village, Little Italy, Chinatown and the food food food. I love the 6h Ave. and Village art fairs.

Would I live there? Nah.

But I LOVE to visit and loved working there. There's always something to do. And LOTS of free stuff going on all the time. And did I say I love the food? If you know where you're going, you can eat cheap as long as you don't take your teenaged boy who only eats steak!

Christie Craig said...

LuAnn,

I might be part Mixtecas, then. LOL! I'm 4'11 and half! And I hold tight that half!

It made walking around in a crowded Times Square and trying to keep up with the people ahead very, very difficult.

Thanks for stopping in.

CC

Christie Craig said...

alexis,

Yup, in the south we sugar coat everything!!! LOL!!

If a girlfriend asks, "Is my butt big?"

We answer, "Your butt? Sure it could be smaller, but have you Birtha Bee's daughter-in-law, you ain't near that big."

Thanks for stopping in.

CC

Christie Craig said...

Robin,

The food was fantastic!!! Expensive, but great! Well, they could have cooked that steak, but other than that, I wasn't complaining.

And since we were staying on Times Square the restaurants were pricey, but again, I loved every bite.

Thanks for stopping in.

CC

Stacey Joy Netzel said...

Okay, I was smiling by number 5, grinning by 9, and laughing out loud by 12. Glad you had fun, Christie!

I've never been to NY City and have never had the desire to go. Your take on it almost makes me want to give it a try. Almost. Then I think my money is better spent travelling to Colorado to go hiking in the Rockies. That's my heaven. :)

Christie Craig said...

Stacey,

Comparing Colorado and New York is like comparing oranges and apples.

I love visiting the mountains, as long as it's not snowing, and any other outdoorsy state. But that energy in NY is worth a try, too.

Thanks so much popping in and I'm tickled pink I gave you a chuckle.

CC

Blinky St. James said...

Great post, made me laugh! :D I almost sort of went to New York, but it never happened. :( I still really want to go, and one day I'm going to...When I finally get there, I hope I am lucky enough to run into some Improv Everywhere people. :D

Christie Craig said...

Blinky,

You gotta make it some day. I know some people don't like the big cities. And if I had to live there forever, I might grow to dislike a few things, too. But there's just something about the New York's vitality that makes me love it.

Thanks so much for stoppig in.

CC

Stacey Joy Netzel said...

I like both apples and oranges, but bigger cities tend to freak me out. lol Maybe if I went with someone familiar with the city...maybe then, someday, I might give it a try. :) My world traveller brother would be the one to use as a tour guide.

Christie Craig said...

Stacey,

I'm with you. Big cities would freak me out if I was by myself. Going with a group of friends, I can pretend to be brave.

But seriously, I'd curl up in a fetal position and die if I thought I had to drive in the city. LOL.

I can't even drive down town Houston.

Thanks...

CC

Jenyfer Matthews said...

I've been *through* NY on flights in and out of the US, but never stopped in to see the city itself. For some reason, I find the idea of wandering there on my own with my two kids intimidating. Funny, doesn't bother me in Cairo, even though I don't speak Arabic!! LOL

I lived and worked in Cleveland for a few years and we did the shoe changing thing there too - I never did like having to carry my "good" shoes around in my bag, though wearing them all over wouldn't have been much fun either. Especially in the snow!

Michelle said...

Hey Christie, forgot to ask.....did you see the "Naked Cowboy"? You must have seen him, he's a staple in Times Square, and though not completely naked he is down to briefs, boots and a Cowboy Hat. You can have your picture taken with him and he'll post it on his website. He's there just about all year round--not sure if he's there all Winter long, as that'd be pretty damn cold,lol.

Christie Craig said...

Hi Jenyfer,

I don't know, I think I would be a nervous wreck in Cairo. I might prefer to tackle New York.

Oh, I love your pictures on site.

Thanks so much for stopping by.

CC

Christie Craig said...

A naked cowboy? I missed a naked cowboy? Darn...where's my bags, I'm going back. That would be right up there with my naked firemen...or almost naked firemen. LOL.

CC

Jane Myers Perrine said...

When I first went to the South, I asked for ICED COFFEE (and yes, I did pronounce it correctly). They brought me a cup of coffee and a glass with four ice cubes. This place had never had anyone order iced coffee before.

Is that just a Midwest thing?

Jane (Myers Perrine)

Christie Craig said...

Hi Jane,

I think every city/state has their own thing. I remember my step father coming to Texas and laughing his butt off at the signs that say, "Drive Friendly."

He asked me, "Do I have to wave at everyone?"

Thanks for stopping in.

CC