Sunday, January 13, 2008

New York VS. Beijing

I was back in New York last week, and had new impressions after living in Beijing for a year. The landmark retail stores of Manhattan are very cutting-edge and stylish compared to Chinese shopping. I loved walking into each place thinking everyhthing was great, well-designed, or one-of-a-kind. However, there is a trade-off for that design and that is price. Cheap shopping is rare in NY and stores with good taste can be very rare in Beijing.

One of the major impressions that I was left with was that N.Y. is incredibly dirty. It is often a misconception that China is dirty because many cities and especially Beijing, are receiving make-overs in recent years. The subway line I use every day to work was only openned last October! So the dirty streets and subways of NY were quite a surprise.

It was great to hear all of the languages on the streets in NY. Sometimes it seems like no one in NY is originally from the States, and when you are there, you are truly in the Melting Pot. Beijings population is more homogenous, although the foreign population is growing every year.

Buildings take up more space in Beijing, but many skyscrapers are taller in N.Y. There are no bicycle lanes in N.Y. and all the cabs are the same color!

Finally, NY seems to be a cultural and maybe business center of the US. However Beijing is the cultural and governmental center of China. You get a lot of the entertainment that you do in NY, but with more of a Washington DC feel from all of the governmental buildings and employees.

In the end, I think NY entertainment is extensive, but to live a good life it would be unaffordable. At least for now, I'll still take a fast-paced, clean, and cheaper Beijing as my city of choice.

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