There are a few things I’ve learned by visiting New York City. Lesson one; it’s loud. Really loud. I don’t know how people live in a place with so much noise pollution. It’s constant and it’s deafening. The bizarre thing about this it that people in New York City don’t have any clue what I’m talking about. When I asked a few of them how they could bare the relentless drum of machinery, rumble of a seemingly infinite number of vehicles, idle chatter and all the other unrecognizable sounds that never, ever stop – they asked me what the Hell I was talking about. It’s become white noise to them. In situations when they think it’s peacefully quiet, I’m cupping my ears and shouting at them to speak up.
Lesson two; the phrase, “I’m stuffed” is not universally understood. I was enlightened on the ins and outs of faux pas to watch out for when speaking to anyone from England. One example that I discovered was the mix-up with the term ‘stuffed’.
Example. In America, “Man, am I stuffed!” No biggie, you ate too many Big Mac’s. In England, a woman has just implied she’s gotten herself well and knocked up by some vagabond. So use caution when loudly proclaiming that in New York City, where there are a lot of transplants and foreigners. There weren’t any death threats or spit wads, so I’ll take that as a good omen.
Lesson three; visiting the Statue of Liberty is going to be a cold, wet experience. I finally took a visit, first time for this old gal. Sad, I know. I’ve seen it from in the smog-filtered distance, but somehow that doesn’t instill the same sense of veneration as you’d think. We took the ferry ride to Ellis Island and spent most of the day exploring the Immigration Museum.
In the 1700s, Ellis Island was known as Gibbet Island. It was named this because of it’s gibbet – which is another term for a hanging gallows tree. This island was used to hang convicts, particularly those accused of piracy – kind of sardonic, really.
Lesson four; the Statue of Liberty looks green. Because of its iron infrastructure and copper exterior, the years of oxidation have turned it green. She is modeled after Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom. Oh, and the crown she’s wearing has meaning, too. The seven spikes on her crown represent the seven oceans, the seven continents, and the universal hope and pursuit of liberty.
Lesson five; while New York City was not my kind of place for more reasons than I can shake a stick at, I’d be foolish to say anything badly about it. I don’t think I’m sophisticated enough to pass judgement on a city its caliber.