The northern East Coast is another country. It has a culture of its own–its own accents, its own etiquette, and its own pace. I’ve never been to the East Coast until now–there’s a first time for everything. So when I visited Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York, I was amazed. It was definitely not California. The people were different–and that’s just an understatement.
Maine and New Hampshire are quiet and peaceful states. They are covered with lush green trees. It is quite rural in appearance and has a small-town America feel to it. Unlike Los Angeles, you can actually see the bright stars in the sky. But it was definitely not for me. It was too peaceful, too quiet, too secluded.
New Jersey. Well, it’s New Jersey. It reminded me a bit of the Berkeley area–has an old-town feel to it. But I didn’t spend enough time to judge.
New York, on the other hand, was loud and full of life. The island of Manhattan is unlike any city I’ve ever been to. And the subway system is a well organized labyrinth. I love the fact that it is reliable to the minute. And the fact that you can just pay $8.50 for an all day pass on the subway or on the bus is beautiful, especially since I can imagine that’s how most New Yorkers get from place to place.
And on the matter of rudeness, specifically all those stereotypes of how rude New Yorkers are, I can only say that it’s not rudeness–it’s just part of the culture. New Yorkers seem to be straight-forward–they tell you what they’re feeling right there and there. They’re about efficiency, where as Southern Californians are about “chilliciency” (I made up the word to express how laid back Southern Californians tend to be). To disrupt the efficiency, is to disrupt the way of life for New Yorkers. So that’s why people from other states see New Yorkers as rude. But in New York, it’s acceptable–that’s what you’re supposed to do.
I also quickly learned some street etiquette in New York. For example, when you are driving, it is perfectly acceptable to honk when you are in the island of Manhattan. But to honk anywhere else is to be considered rude and annoying. That sort of thing reminds me of Los Angeles, but when you get too rude or annoying in LA, you may get a visit from someone with road rage. Then there’s the escalator. Now, I think this makes perfect logical sense and I have to applaud New Yorkers for this: When you are on an escalator, the right side is reserved for people who just want to wait on the escalator, while the left side is reserved for people who want to walk up the escalator. Genius! And when you are on the sidewalk, it is not good to just stand around or to stand around with your cell phone. When you do that, you will be pushed and shoved. The reason, in my opinion, is efficiency. People use the sidewalk to walk. To just stand there is to cause traffic. And traffic annoys people. Every LA driver knows that. But on LA sidewalks, people are just chill, laid back, and are talking on their cell phones looking like they’re important. I am one to talk–I do it all the time in LA.