The fist impression is: big! everything is big!
It was quite a shock for us to get out of the plane in JFK airport and wait in (big) lines to get your passport checked. Also, you need to sign another declaration that you’re not importing any food, drugs, bombs and other such; basically treating every tourist as a potential criminal.
Then taking the train from the airport to the subway was another thing to experience. Basically it took us 3hrs to exit the airport! That big!
Then to continue with the shock(s): everyone on the street speaks English or Spanish! Well, so?! what do you expect?! My shock was that I could now understand everyone and I could read the signs on the streets. No more funky Czech. I can’t believe how much less my brain was used!! 😀
Third and maybe a less expected ‘wow’ is the cars! BIG! again! If you see a small car on the street, that’s probably a very poor guy, or an exotic sports car. However, most people like driving BIG cars, trucks, vans, etc. (and now I understand why my van is a ‘minivan’ according to their standards – because it’s tiny!!). At first I was taking pictures of hilariously fixed cars (with wood and duct tape or similar materials), but then I realized it’s common practice here. Most cars are hit or scratched anyway.
We both like the cool breeze flowing through the city and disguising the sun, which burns like on a normal beach day. NY is definitely a multicultural place, as Lucy says, and not as crowded as expected (think big: wide sidewalks, large chairs in the city buses/subways, large doors, etc.). Also, people here are really helpful, often offering their advice when they see you in doubt or studying the map on the street.
We are enjoying the city so far, running around from place to place, crashing and sleeping almost instantly in the evenings. We made a few new friends, including the CouchSurfers who hosted us so far, and had some uncommon experiences… more to come I hope.
And after reading so much, you deserve some pictures: