I wrote this piece a while ago, but I’ve retyped and edited it here. The prompt was to create a descriptive setting. Disclaimer: I do not live in New York City. I’ve only visited, and that was a long time ago. So my description is mostly from my imagination.
Walking through the streets of New York can always be hectic, even in the early morning just as the sun is rising. NYC is unique because of the constant life. It truly is the city that never sleeps. People are wandering through the city at all hours, the obnoxious yellow cabs drive throughout the night, and drunk partygoers don’t head home until the sun rises, facing the walk of shame. When morning comes, the snooty business men in their gray, bland suits can be seen hailing cabs and walking to work. Shortly after, the rest of the city wakes up. The shops open their doors, the diners and restaurants start their grills, and people pile out of their apartments and into the streets. The life of the city never stops.
Sounds of car horns, sirens, yelling, and cursing sneak past the walls of apartments, and into the heads of the tenants. Open windows let in the scent of the New York air, something bitter, polluted, smokey, and sickening. Closer to the Hudson River, the stench of rotting fish and dirty water rises to the noses trekking to work. As the street vendors start cooking, the tastes of everything from hot dogs to tacos to coffee to apple pie fill the watering mouths of people passing by. The yelling of vendors and sellers beckons people to buy something, but most ignore them and keep on trucking to their destination. Accents from all over the world, and the many accents of different New York areas, can be heard all around the city. The diversity of the voices almost matches the diversity of the personalities. Everyone from theatre geeks to business men to goth teens to street thugs to middle-aged moms can be seen. The people come form all sorts of backgrounds. Everywhere from China to Africa to India to England. The tourists stand out the most, with their crisp, white, “I Heart NY” t-shirts, sea green foam Statue of Liberty crowns, backpacks of every color, and shopping bags. Walking down the busy streets people bump into each other, humidity starts to rise, and feelings of claustrophobia emerge. Everyone’s packed tightly together, trying to fit onto the sidewalks, and doorways to tourist attractions and well-liked shops are blocked. They’re are too many people crammed into one place.
The city can be overwhelming to anyone who hasn’t spent years there. There’s always something new to see, smell, hear, taste, or touch. There’s just too much commotion in one city, too much life.