Ok, so maybe there’s more than one difference, but the one I noticed this morning took place in a Starbucks in Hartford, CT.
It was fairly busy for a Wednesday and because this SBux was on the smaller side, there was only one table available. I got my tea and sat down at a small cafe table with two chairs. Then a few more people came in. Some looked as if they wanted to sit down, but after a cursory glance around the room, determined that there were no seats and promptly left.
This would never happen in NYC. If there is an empty chair at a Starbucks in Manhattan, a New Yorker is going to sit in it, no matter who is on the other side of the table.
Case in point: I was visiting a particularly busy Starbucks on the Upper West Side earlier in the week and observed the following exchange:
An Asian hipster walks upstairs to the seating area with his coffee, looks around, finds an empty seat and sits down. Typically people will ask if someone is sitting in the empty chair before claiming it, but because there was a homeless man facedown on the other side of the table, Asian kid decided to forego the social niceties rather than remove his over-large headphones.
After about twenty minutes, homeless man began to stir. He sat up and took a sip of his coffee. He didn’t seem to notice the addition of the Asian hipster typing away on his MacBook (I do love a good stereotype) across the table. A few more minutes go by before homeless man fishes a newspaper out his coat, looks at it for half a second and sets it on the table. Then he put his head down on the table again, cushioned by the paper this time, and presumably went back to sleep.
More time passes. I’m getting ready to leave when I notice that homeless man is awake again. Then Asian kid (who was no longer typing) says, ‘Hey, can I take a look at that Post when you’re done?’ Homeless guy wordlessly passed it across the table. ‘Thanks, man,’ Asian hipster replied.
That was it. I didn’t think much of it at the time, until I was back out in the real world where that exchange would probably never have happened. It really brought home the point that personal space is a luxury in NYC. A luxury that I have, to a degree, learned to live without.
It sure is nice though.
So….yeah. I’ve been the worst blogger ever for the past two months, but it’s going to get better soon. I had three back to back opera gigs and they were all new roles for me so I really needed to focus all my attention on that. I’m in the home stretch now though. I’ll be in Hartford, CT for the next week or so for a production of La Fille du Régiment with the Connecticut Concert Opera. Click for details.
Hartford is actually my old stomping ground. I lived here for nearly ten years before making the move to NYC. It feels good to be home-ish, but I’ll be glad for some time off when this is done. Then I’ll have all the time in world to catch you up on Vegas and my most recent trip to the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Let me tell you, epicness ensued.
In the meantime, I suggest you amuse yourselves with this: Fail Blog. Title speaks for itself.