Tag Archives: Roger W Smith

why New York is one of the greatest (in my opinion, the greatest) cities in the world

 

The water has a lot to do with it. It is a city surrounded and bathed by water: the Hudson and East rivers, the Atlantic Ocean. New York Harbor is one of the largest and most beautiful natural harbors in the world.

All five boroughs have shorelines and ocean or river views.

Having river and ocean boundaries prevents urban sprawl. It makes the City, as big as it is, contained.

It is a city made for walking. Sidewalks are wide, and pedestrians are seen everywhere at all hours of the day. Cars do not dominate. Many streets are clogged with traffic, notably at the bridge and tunnel crossings and on cross streets in Manhattan. But, elsewhere traffic is relatively moderate. This is true on major thoroughfares such as Fifth and Park Avenues.

It has a world class transit system that runs 24 hours a day, every day.

It is a city seemingly devoid of nature, one where nature doesn’t matter, where a rain or snow storm is a nuisance. This is true. And yet, there are ample parks everywhere; and some of them are magnificent. No other city has a park to match Central Park.

It is a city of neighborhoods: the Lower East Side, Hell’s Kitchen, Soho, Inwood, Astoria, Ridgewood, Williamsburg, Park Slope.

The admixture of races and ethnicities (in a polyglot city), the visibility and importance of the immigrant population, the concentration of people of varying educational and income levels who have many opportunities to interact continually is notable.

Show me a city that has richer cultural offerings. Take music. Several major concert halls (not just one, as is the case in most American cities), and this doesn’t count concert venues in museums, churches, etc.  Splendid concerts almost daily by the best musicians.

And art museums and galleries — I can’t keep track of them.

 

— posted by Roger W Smith

   July 2021

“Beautiful — the water is so calming to me.”

 

 

 

 

New York Harbor, September 20, 2020; photo by Roger W. Smith

 

 

 

I had the following exchange on Facebook with Barbara (Harris) Churchill yesterday. Barbara was the kid sister of my best friend Johnny Harris when I was growing up in Massachusetts. Barbara lives in the Midwest now.

 

Barbara Churchill:

Beautiful – the water is so calming to me.

 

Roger Smith:

Me too, Barbara. When I am downtown, in this part of the City, I often feel such peace. It is surprisingly uncrowded, especially on weekdays. Wall Street is nearby, but no one seems to go a few blocks more downtown. A lot of the activity and people are further uptown and in Midtown.

 

Barbara Churchill:

Your photos always amaze me. I know nothing about NYC really, and subconsciously think noisy, crowded, city, and you capture so much beauty and green (and blue) space!

 

Roger Smith:

Barbara — When I first came to NYC from Mass. — a long time ago — I experienced a sort of “street shock”: everyone seemed in such a hurry; the people on the subways looked kind of pale and pasty; no one seemed to have time for you … It was all cement and steel: high rises and crowded sidewalks. Slowly, I got to like it. It turns out that most of the people are really friendly and will go out their way to help you. And, then I discovered how enjoyable it was to explore the City; and the beautiful parks and the river, etc. I don’t think most people, even many New Yorkers, appreciate how much natural beauty (i.e., nature) contributes to making New York so great — they don’t know it’s there, right in front of them, so to speak; and then the people are another “natural resource.”

 

— posted by Roger W. Smith

    September 21, 2020