This isn't meant to be a City vs. City. I don't like to think of one city as representations of another when I travel. I like to absorb what the local environment is like, and although many things tend to be similar in our globalized society these days, it's more exciting to think they are not so. I don't want travel to become so mundane when we get even more connected and similar in the future.
I will focus on several aspects of urban life. This is not a complete list. I hope you will appreciate my take on the goods and bads of both cities.
Stop arguing over who has a better skyline. Both look great. I really wanted to find a good vantage point for New York, and hopped over to Jersey on a hot summer's day to get it :
Now .. if anyone wants to look at that and tries to compare directly with Hong Kong .. good luck. I love both skylines. Each is unique on its own. The best part with the Jersey vantage point is the fact that it was deserted. Had the weather been a bit cooler, I would've really enjoyed sitting there looking at Manhattan for hours without being disturbed. That I won't get in Hong Kong.
As I take this shot, there are probably at least 10-20 people within shouting distance doing the same thing.
There should be more than 20 in this shot. Feels like a Where's Waldo exercise ...
My desire for tranquility in a big city is not so easily met. I actually got it in New York quite easily, probably because I was living in the outskirts in Connecticut, whereas in Hong Kong I'm quite in the middle of the city.
Tranquility in New York came from looking at the skyline from Jersey, or even Roosevelt Island. In Hong Kong, I had to explore the natural side to get away from the hectic urban lifestyle.
HK3. Ngong Ping Cable Car
HK4. A reservoir in Kowloon with a zillion steps that people don't bother to use
HK5. Chi Lin Nunnery
HK6. The outlying islands
I tried to look for other spots around New York for tranquility, and for the most part they were successful. The crowds were not as enormous and I could comfortably make the walk from Central Park to Battery Park without slamming into someone else.
Some of my successes include :
NY3. Staten Island
NY4. Bryant Park - absolutely gorgeous spot in the heart of Midtown .. and I can't believe I couldn't find a picture.
NY5. Governors Island
NY6. Coney Island ... somewhat ...
To be fair, New York had a lot of stuff long before everyone else had. Taking the subway was not a pleasant experience at all, so I usually opt for the slower bus instead. But I loved the Roosevelt Island Tramway!
NY8. I thought Star Ferry was cheap at about USD 0.25 a trip, but the Staten Island Ferry is free!
Maintaining an extensive array of infrastructure that was not built to today's expectations is inherently difficult and costly.
HK7. I wish New York had more of these buses so I could snap pictures from the top of the front deck.
HK8. Hong Kong has probably the most intensely-busy streets in the world. For the tourist, it's quite an amazing experience. As a local, I'm getting a bit sick of fighting amongst crowds for every single thing. Luckily not everywhere is as busy.
NY9. The only comparable place in New York is probably Times Square, where the small sidewalks have to accomodate all the picture-snapping tourists + a picture-snapping local.
NY10. New York spreads out over a huge area, and the grid layout makes travel very easy. You can't possibly get lost in Midtown Manhattan at least with the numbered streets and avenues. I'm quite surprised how quickly the density drops though across the river.
HK9. Hong Kong is a far more concentrated city, hence we don't tend to travel far distances at all. An hour-commute is quite a distance in local standards!
Both cities have their share of ugliness, although some of the areas I saw in New York were far scarier. Crime is much lower in Hong Kong.
The poor people in both cities will get the worst, obviously.
HK12. Some of Hong Kong's older buildings are far scarier, probably due to lack of maintenance coupled with tropical humidity.
I didn't dare take pictures at the public housing sites though. These photos a bit toned down.
NY13. New York is miles ahead. Period. I loved visiting some of the very grand museums, such as the Natural History Museum, MOMA, and then there is the Transit Museum in Brooklyn that was simply amazing.
I wish we had that in Hong Kong.
NY14. I came across a series of street festivals on the Avenue of Americas during the summer. The food was expensive but good though.
HK13. Hong Kong has some amazing street markets, selling all sorts of stuff from flowers to food.
And both cities have enough of neon as well!
I had a very memorable experience in New York, and I never regretted for one second to move there. I tried my best to cover as much as I could during my stay. Obviously I couldn't get to everything, but I returned to Hong Kong with a big set of photos that I'm very proud of and with a lot of memories that will be with me for the rest of my life. I recommend anyone trying to make a city vs. city argument to try living in both cities. Then you'll see how unfruitful such a comparison becomes.
จากคุณ: hkskyline เมื่อ: 5 กันยายน 2008 เวลา 17:00 12 ปีที่แล้ว อ่าน: 6900 ครั้ง