Wednesday, February 21, 2007

NYC and Me: Passing through SoHo, Little Italy and Chinatown and some observations

So my walking tour of Manhattan continues. After the Empire State Building visit I will be following the trail via SoHo – Little Italy – Chinatown and lastly the Financial Centre.

I had a quick lunch in a nice restaurant in SoHo (forgot the name) and the only thing I can remember about the lunch was myself calculating what 20% is of the total bill. I am not used to this tipping culture. Back in Europe, we rarely tip and sometimes we just round it off. Service people in Europe are paid well, they have a salary and they have benefits compared here in America, as well as in the UK where they earn mostly from tips. Which is also the reason why service is crap in the Netherlands (and in mainland Europe, unless you go to a very expensive restaurant of course)

SoHo fotos here:

There was a signature shop that was having a sale in SOHO. The head sales attendant who was a black guy greeted me the usual—‘Hi, how are you’ and I proceeded to look around the shop when I realized that he was trailing behind me. I turned around and he was there with a big cheeky smile on his face. ‘Where are you from?’

I was debating if I should say Netherlands or the Philippines, but anyway, I said I am from the Netherlands. He gave a chortle and said, ‘I knew you were European! From the moment you set your foot into the shop... the way you smiled when I said—‘Hi’... the way you move... and ah, the way you walk... (eyeing me up and down now) the way you dress up... just everything about you... I just knew it.’

There was silence. I felt awkward. I honestly did not know what to say?

Another sales attendant called his attention as there seem to be a customer having issues with the price that needed help. It was my chance to escape. Quickly, like a bullet, I sprang to the door.

There’s something with black guys here in NYC and I am sure it has something to do with my knee-cut high black boots.

Little Italy fotos here:

Compared to SoHo, it was quiet when I passed the Little Italy neighbourhood.

Some stuff I noticed:

Why is it that American coffee in café chain shops such as Starbucks serve large cups of coffee? The irony here is that it is actually the smallest cup in the house. I like to drink my coffee in little sips and warm. If you have a large cup of coffee it takes a while to drink it all up and when you are halfway it is already lukewarm.

I also looked for wine in the shops and couldn’t find them. But luckily I saw the only shop selling wines but they were going at $15 a bottle for the regular ones.

Why do American sales agents in retail shops always say, ‘Hi, how are you?’ but do not really expect you to answer back? I later on realized that this is just a way of saying ‘Hello’ or ‘Good morning.’ So at some point, I didn’t answer back, I just smiled.

Chinatown fotos here:

Next, Ground Zero and the Financial District

Travel Period: February 2007

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