Beware of trash!
Since Manhattan is full of exclusive boutiques, richest folks and most beautiful cars, you’d think everything here is top-notch. Wrong! The greatest shock you may experience during your first visit here is the scary amount of trash laying around every corner. It often happens that it’s difficult to cross the sidewalk because of huge plastic bags filled with things you’d rather not see the insides of. And if you think that this is probably „that day when they take the trash out” and „this stuff will be gone tomorrow”, prepare yourself to see them the next day – if not in the same place, then right around the corner.
The first sentence you’re likely to utter then – and we shouldn’t be afraid of it – is: „How filthy!”. Especially since those bags don’t exactly smell sweet. I remember that after my first visit to NYC I said something to the effect of: „What a filthy city! I can’t understand anyone living here.” And yet, here I am ten years later.
Plastic bags are one thing, but you’ll be also surprised by other things laying on the streets, such as mattresses, old stoves, cabinets and chairs. Everything people deem unnecessary ends up on the street you’re just passing by. Take what you want: especially since most of those things are in mint condition. The ease with which people get rid of stuff over here sometimes truly astounds me.
New York is a very dirty city. It’s not the fault of the cleaning services, who are very much present, but of New Yorkers themselves. I noticed a very unappealing habit here: some people just throw their waste wherever they happen to be standing at (even if there’s a waste basket mere three feet away). It happens on the subway, too: I witnessed a four-people family had their fast food lunch and left all the trash on theirs seats. New Yorkers, you better behave yourselves!
In time you’ll get used to the trash, though, and won’t even notice it: it will become as natural a sight as yellow cabs. It won’t be until you visit another American city that you will become aware that a cultural capital of the US should finally clean up its act.