Sunday, September 17, 2006

NYC, the little differences, part 1

I'm working from Google's New York office for the next week. Change of scenery. So far it's been good: the plane trip over was super-productive.

In NYC for 48 hours, and I've already noticed a few "little differences":

1. New York is a 24-hour city. I cabbed from JFK airport at 3:00am, resigned to going to bed hungry. Lo and behold, pizza parlors were still open on every other street.

The same time on the following night, I walked past a hat store which was open. A HAT store. Just in case you're overcome with a late-night urge to accessorize your head, this shop is ready to serve.

This is what New York looks like at 3:30am. Note the traffic and crowds standing in the street:

Compare to what Mountain View looks like at 3:30am:

Heck, compare to what Mountain View looks like at 3:30 IN THE AFTERNOON on most days:


2. New York City has never heard of toilet seat covers. For those readers who hail from the Big Apple and hence do not know what I'm talking about, they're paper coverings you wrap on the toilet seat to avoid getting germs:

The only place I've seen toilet seat covers is the marble-hugged restroom in the Westin lobby:

The rest of New York? Apparently pro-germs.


Nathan Weinberg said...

Yeah, I've been a New Yorker my whole life, and nothing shocks me as much as when I visit another city, like San Francisco and Seattle, and find out the city shuts down at a certain hour. You just take for granted that the busses are running all the time, and that you can get something to eat, usually something of half-decent quality, at any hour of the day.

I think the lack of seat covers comes from the fact that our bathrooms sometimes get so dirty that the seat covers wouldn't be enough. New York women just use the bathroom without sitting down (and no, I'm not making that up!).

ArC said...

I love NYC, but lemme say that my experience with toilet seat covers is that they're completely unknown in Vancouver (and Calgary) except for the ultra-touristy areas (like some hotels). So I've always thought of them as a particularly weird American thing.

Besides, one could, if one were that fastidious, make one's own cover out of TP.

Personally, I found NYC rather quiet by 3-ish, but I'm not much for nightlife, and maybe I was hanging out in the wrong neighborhood.

Josh said...

Maybe that's because the toilet seat is probably the cleanest part of a public bathroom. Apparently people's asses aren't all that dirty. Well, at least not as dirty as their hands.

So yeah, if you care that much about germs, wear gloves when shaking hands. Or sanitize immediately afterwards.

bene said...

Love the pic of the 'big' apple.

kim said...

i read an article somewhere that those seat covers really serve no purpose. it's just in people's heads that it protects you from germs.

Anonymous said...

It's true -- toilet seat covers are just a placebo. The flush handle is a much more potent vector of germs than the seat, but yet you never see any toilet handle covers.

So it's just that in some areas, people pick up the silly habit (encouraged by paper companies who love to sell dispenser refills), and in other areas they don't.

New York's a crowded place. Most people who move there report getting sick all the time for the first two years or so before acclimatizing. (I know I did.) I think that's more about things like subway poles, airborne droplets, and environmental stress, not so much toilet seats.