Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

Tuesday is always the day after my round table at the pub, so I'm always a bit hungover.

I hope yesterday's post didn't sound too much about complaining. I only wanted to describe the differences between living here and in New York.

Maybe I can explain this visually. Life in Bavaria is like:

In New York it's:

In the States it'd be New York and nowhere else for me. Here are some of the appealing factors:

- NYC is something like the 'center' of the world; there's always substantial going on there, and you feel as if you were a part of that.

- It's a true melting pot where your origin is much less important than anywhere else. You're instantly a local.

- NYC is not as anonymous as it is often said. I'd have a lot of friends and contacts in no time.

- The city never sleeps. You can shop, go out to eat or have a drink anytime you want.

- You don't need car.

- The ocean is always near.

- You step out the door and you're instantly 'in it' (have that in Regensburg, too, though).

And I especially like the people in New York, there are so many peoples mixed there, which is not at all so in Europe. And you have Jewish culture which is as good as extinct in Europe and especially in Germany. Visiting New York I can sense the tragedy the Third Reich has pressed upon Europe for all times. In a way, in New York the world is still alright, a bit like Europe should have been. John Updike calles the way of life there “New Yorkerese,” a style that he described as “sort of big-town folksy.” That pretty muchs puts it correctly, it's not really as cosmopolitan as you might imagine, it's somehow 'folksy'.

Updike himself couldn't stand New York, in the end he moved away very early.

“Once I got here,” he said of New York in the 2005 interview, “I realized that immense as the city is, your path in it tends to be very narrow. I only knew people I went to college with and other writers, and felt I wasn’t really getting a fair picture of America here. And there were too many other writers and editors and agents and people who were willing to give me ideas of what I should do with my life.”

I guess his dreams were a bit more idealistic than the city was able to fulfill. All our paths are narrow, but in New York they cross ways more often than anywhere else.

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