CULTURE SHOCK: HOW HAVE I REACTED TO NEW ENVIRONMENTS

Grayscale Photo of Woman Holding Her Face

“This is a whole new world.”


coming into a new environment

I remember when I first cam to the city of New York from my small town in Wisconsin. It was such a new environment for me. The traffic seemed to be moving at 100 miles per in residential areas. The people walked a lot faster and even the kids moved at a different pace. Sitting down on a subway was the case of musical chairs. And if you wanted to order food at a restaurant, know what you wanted ten people back because the service person was not waiting for you to order. There is limited patience and the people are not as interested in you as a human in general. It’s all about getting there first for them; that’s right time is money. And for most people just visiting, they could not understand why anyone would want to live in this type of environment.

people to people

I am walking up the street late at night in New York City, and I see two guys on the street corner in loving embrace. And that is when I realized, wow, the idea of gay relationships are a lot more open here. You would not see this within my small town of 80,000 citizens. Not to say gays don’t live there, it is not as open as you see in New York. And not just dating, seeing people who look like me, speaking languages where you’re more of the foreigner than they are in America. Yet, it still did not make me want to leave. Being around those that are different from you all the time means you can travel anywhere and live anywhere. Living in a metropolitan hub means you have to learn to become a chameleon.

clown fish in the ocean

Understand something, whatever you are in your town or city, you may not be anything in another. Like I said, in New York City, I am a clown fish in the ocean. Hell, I might be a whale in the lake back home. My only problem with that is that are you truly at the top of your game. Because if I am a whale, I want to be a whale in the ocean. Not just someone pretending to have made it, but in reality, I am quite small in the grand scheme of things. But that just gives me more of a reason to continue to work hard. Letting me realize I should enjoy life, but never get to comfortable either.


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METRO-MERI-CONOMY: HOW THE U.S. MAJOR CITIES ARE SWALLOWING OUR ECONOMY

aerial, architecture, blue sky

“The takeover is real.”


Living in New York City, I feel a world away from where I grew up in the United States. My small Midwest city consisted of nearly 80,000 people and a county seat of close to 200,000. Now that I live in New York, the neighborhood where I live is massive in size with over 225,000 citizens. So you can live out your entire life and not meet one person in your community more than once. So for me, walking around you observe the landscape and realize that there is a lot of money to be made in NYC. The same can be said for places like Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington D.C., and San Francisco, just to name a few. And as time ticks away, younger generations are leaving small towns and cities in search of a better life.Yet what’s happening to the smaller lesser known cities and towns, are more tragic. An aging generation dying and younger people moving are turning these once thriving industrialized places into ghost towns. Now, what will happen in the future is metropolitan cities controlling a huge aspect of American economy.

This could also change the social relationships as well as political relationships. Because even though there is a lot of land in America, metropolitan New York alone is a $1 trillion economy. You’re talking close to 6% of our entire nation is in one city. And a lot of that has to do with the multinational corporations that reside in New York. So with time passing, jobs will become more prevalent in these major cities, but some may don’t want to live in these hubs. But you’ll have no other choice, since so much young talent is running for the major cities. Due to openness of living in these cities, they have a power base as well. And when I say openness, I’m talking about the freedom to practice religion, date whomever, and be open with your sexuality. Now, those are already free practices, but not as open as in New York or a city like Los Angeles.

You see, factories were such an intricate part of the American identity. Now we’re moving in a more tech space, and people are finding it hard to adjust. For those that can make the leap, they’re leaving their town for the bigger city. In the end, what will happen of all these cities that used to be productive locations? There are so many ghost towns and cities that you can buy a town. But eventually, the cities will hit a point at which we’ll need to expand back outward.


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CONSOLIDATION: SHOULD THE U.S. JOIN TOWNS AND MAKE BIGGER CITIES

Image result for small town america

“Too small to stabilize.”


New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, Houston, Philadelphia, Boston, Seattle, Las Vegas, and Washington D.C. These are just a few of our more well-known major U.S. cities across the country. But for the most part, America is comprised of a lot of small cities and towns. Places you have never heard of, yet Tree in Front of Establishmentthey sustain themselves. But is it time we start to consolidate some of these really small places. I am not talking about a city of 100,000 plus citizens. I’m more so referring to towns and cities with 5,000; 15,000; and 20,000 citizens. We should now make the leap and start bringing these place together. Instead of five towns around each other that have populations of 15,000; 10,000; 20,000; 12,000; and 25,000; we build one city of  82,000.

Why might even add a few more towns around these other 5 places and create another major city. Since coming into office, President Trump has been slow to really get into the employment situation in America. He made a pledge to bring back American jobs. But the reason why that would be a difficult feat is because we have too many of these small cities and towns. Trying to build infrastructure around a city of 25,000 is impossible. To be honest, anything below 100,000 becomes a difficult task. Now, if you’re from one of these places, you might take this as an insult. But you have to understand how an infrastructure where jobs are created manages to sustain. New York City where I live, for example, is a perfect place to build.

The city is roughly 12 million inhabitants, 65 – 70 million tourists, and potential for so much real estate development. So if you have enough capital, you can build a architecture, buildings, citylot in this city. But the city where I grew up is only 78,000 people. And the problem with a lot of these small places is that they were once manufacturing towns. Now, there is potential to turn the city where I am from into a distribution center. There are so many open factory spaces that are vacant. These buildings can be converted into space to house inventory. Thus turning the city into a distribution hub. But when you’re talking about building or bringing together these types of plans, you run into some problems. And no, I don’t mean actually building, I mean the people.

A lot of people from these small places are resistant to the change. They want life to stay the same, and this is just impossible. With improvements in science and technology, a lot of these small unknown towns/cities will be ghost towns. With an aging population and young people headed to metropolitan cities, these towns will eventually die. I was looking on the internet earlier this morning where you could buy a town for sale for some places as low as the price of average American home. These once booming industrialized towns are now backdrops for what could be a wild west movie. And in the end, these places that once served communities in building a life for oneself is no longer the case. Some of these towns/cities were started the same time as our major cities, But as the metropolitan cities grew, these small places failed to innovate and were left behind.


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Nothing Personal, Just Busyness

Great view of the New York City (NYC) skyline with a few high buildings and sun in the background.

“Feeling the New York City rush is rough.”


The month was August, and I was new to New York City. Up until this point, my only insight into Manhattan was the idea of what I thought I knew. My first experience of the big city was walking through the revolving glass doors into the Time Warner building located in Columbus Circle. With my exceptional Midwest courtesy, I figured I’d mosey my way through the doors. A tall gentleman about six feet five in height and rather stocky, barged in front of me. Thinking back to this instance, the experience made me highly upset. Who does that? Who muscles their way into a building without acknowledging the patron entering first? He gave me a slight smirk, as he turned his back to me. Once inside the building, I saw the sign which read, “Whole Foods.” The escalator led downstairs into the grocery store. The whole time on the escalator, all I could think about was how rude this guy was for pushing his way into the building. But then I realized, it wasn’t personal, just the busy movement of the city.

As I ascended on Whole Foods, the grocery store consisted of a plethora of selections. The prices were out of my range of affordability, coming from Southeastern Wisconsin, but I chose to purchase lunch nonetheless. Choosing from the variety of hot dishes, I waited patiently for the patrons to scoop their food into containers. I quickly learned my kindness was a weakness, as one-by-one people walked ahead of me. Wow, how could you not see me standing here? You saw me allow the lady to go first, being the gentleman that I am. Now be courteous to me, and allow me to retrieve my meal. Yet no one even made eye contact with me as they forged ahead. Once again, it was a feeling of nothing personal, just in a hurry. Eventually, I was able to choose my meal, and walked to the queuing system, which was colored coded to maintain order. This system was fair yet lengthy, as the television screen showed my color and register available. After paying for my $20 lunch, (yes, that’s right, for lunch, way more than I’m used to) I made my way out of the grocery store back into the Manhattan city streets.

Standing near the crosswalk, the light turned red. My attention shifted vertically as I became transfixed on the rich architectural structures. Next thing I knew, a wall of people came crashing from behind me, as well as in front of me. I felt as if I were caught in the middle of one of the occasional tornadoes I’ve experienced in small town Wisconsin. To keep from being a victim of the moving traffic, I crossed the street along with the pack. Once across the street, I thought to myself, “I’m pretty sure that light was red; who crosses on red?” No one acknowledged me, nor each other, as cars and bicyclist sped past who had the right away. But observing the scene, it was yet another case of, hey, nothing personal, just in a hurry.

Walking these mean streets, made me retreat to the underground. So I purchased my ticket from the metro machines in the subway system. Holding my single ticket, I walked through the turnstile and threw my ticket in the garbage. Standing near the yellow caution line, the train came barreling through the station. As the train came to a stop, I didn’t realized the barrage of people who emerged behind me. The train doors opened, feeling my body involuntarily move forward, I could tell it wasn’t all my bodily force. People were behind me, forging forward, for a chance at a spot on the train. I managed to get a seat, yet allowed an elderly woman the opportunity to rest her feet. She sat down, but there was no acknowledgement of me showing her courtesy. She sat down, without any regard for my kindness. The train ride left me flustered, as I rode the three train headed toward the Upper West Side, on my way home. Yet once again, none of the behavior was personal, just people getting where they had to go.

Once I got home, which at the time was a dorm room, I felt safe and secure. I had my television, my food, and my bed. The roommate was gone, and the room was all to myself. Contemplating about my first day experience in New York City, I thought to myself, “What a rude city?” At that moment, I turned to the local news. A fire broke out at a home in another borough, but the firefighting team risked their lives to extinguish it. Another story involved a car accident in which bystanders stepped in to assist the injured person. There was also a news story about how a child went missing from an elementary school, yet people quickly stepped in to find the missing child.

Then it dawned on me, New Yorkers are not any less compassionate than the rest of their fellow Americans; it’s just a busy city. I thought back to September 11, 2001, when citizens stepped in to help one another proceeding the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Towers, or even the helping hand from citizens to victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Complete strangers risked their own lives to save people they didn’t even know. Yet on any other day they might have walked passed these same individuals. It made me realize, it’s not because New Yorkers are rude or hateful; nothing personal, just busy. Busy with their jobs, busy caring for their children, busy in their marriages, busy in your personal lives. Don’t take it to heart because in the end, when faced with adversity and widespread disaster, the city is there for its fellow New Yorkers. 


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THE CITY IN THE SAND: UTILIZING WHAT WE HAVE TO BUILD WHAT WE NEED

Related image

“We need it, but what is the cost?”

The United States of America has so much land, yet we only utilize a small portion of the land. A large volume of the country’s population is concentrated to a few locations. Those people are mainly in our major cities. But what about the land we don’t use? Is there any use for this land? I know we have a lot of preserved land out west. But, is there any way to make some of this land into another city? Whether it’s a small city or even the building of a major city. What are some of the places we could build? Well, let’s first observe why we might need to build another city.

The United States economy has been having problems with job creation. My thought would be, what about building another major city. This would Related imagecreate not only jobs in the country over a long haul, but will also serve as another city for tourism, infrastructure, and connecting major cities to cities for growth. The idea I had in mind was the desert in the western part of the United States. Like I said before, even though land is preserved, maybe there is a way to build around this land. I just see the land not being utilized as counterproductive. But where in the west; deserts are wide and vast in the United States.

A suggestion I had was around the area of Death Valley. This wide desolate land that is vast and arid with little room for life to exist, could be a potential site. This would mean building massive infrastrRelated imageucture just to build water resources alone. What about the roads and the commercial as well as residential real estate needed to be built? Is there such a plan that would work for the building of a city? Are there any protest that could arise from the building of a civilization in the desert? That’s why I said around the region of Death Valley.

Now, what could a desert city look like in the future? I have sought out pictures via Google imaging at what a desert city could potentially look like in the future. A few images I noticed that commercial and residential properties Related imagecould be built into the landscape. For example, office buildings could be constructed into large rock formation or dug out of cliffs. The photo is of a potential building for a city built into the formation of the landscape. This means hundreds of feet dug down and hundreds of square miles out. Giving the impression from the sky that the landscape looks like every other desert landscape, yet a city lies beneath. Another pro of building such a city in the desert would be the use of solar panels for energy conservation. The solar energy in a death valley region could really save on energy cost.

In the end, there are many possibilities to building out west. There are even room for growth as it pertains to vegetation. Solar panel farming has grown in popularity which could also aid in growth for a civilization. But, there may be quite some time before we see a building to the scale I see for a city. You still have to get around the governmental policies put forth to protect such lands and protestors upset about the building on lands. Until then, we have to make due with what we have; hopefully that will change.

It Cost What To Live In NYC!!!!

IMG_20150914_160034$39 per hour is the amount! $39 per hour is the minimum one must make to live comfortably on average in New York City. That is the amount per hour when observing over all five boroughs. Now when breaking down each individual borough it could be an even higher wage, especially if you live in Manhattan. And finding an apartment can be the worst, with landlords refusing to lease space to an occupant who isn’t making at least 30 – 40 times the rent amount. That’s right 30 -40 times, some places are as high as 50-60. This sounds ridiculous considering the average rent in New York City is approximately $3,000. So, you mean that if my rent is $3,000 per month. I must make in the range of $90,000 to $180,000 to pay for a basic apartment. Now, to add insult to injury, this doesn’t include the utilities, transportation, food, personal items, and God forbid you have children. In some neighborhoods upwards of $1 million income is still considered middle class. Whose making an income which allows themselves the ability to afford such a high priced city? I remember when I first went out into the city looking for apartments. There was one landlord who told me I must make at least 40 times the rent amount each month. Really, 40 times, ok, I’m not staying in that place. So what did I do, with my $9 per hour job and assistance from back home; I decided to rent a sublet.

And for those of you who don’t know what a sublet is, move to this city. In your city, a sublet may sound crazy, but not in New York City, especially living in Manhattan. Uh huh, I placed the key into the door of my sublet, turned the knob and for $900 per month I got myself a nice 150 – 200 square foot apartment. (Loud coughing noises) Oooo, pardon me, but when I was informed of this amount, coming from the Midwest I thought the broker was out of her mind. I pay how much for this here? They just say it like that, and with a straight face. I thought to myself $9 per hour for about 25 hours on the job and I got $900 before taxes each month. Then I asked my neighbor, how much she was paying for her spot because I’d rather have that one. She agreed to swap because she needed the extra space, so I now pay $750 for 90 square feet.

How nice, and to think there are more expensive, less spacious apartments in New York. There’s no wonder why the homeless population has risen so high over the recent years. Wages are remaining at an equilibrium while real estate is increasing. The question I need to ask is, who in the hell is purchasing in this city? I mean supply and demand drives a marketplace. If the prices are rising, is that the sign of more buyers coming into the market, right? I know what it is, those damn foreigners; that’s who. When looking at a country like China for instance, they have a middle class population the size of our country’s population; maybe that’s whose moving into the city driving the prices up. And let’s not forget all those Europeans flocking to New York City. You’ll see them if you come to New York City; with their Canon cameras and long lenses. They call themselves admiring the architecture and basking in the culture, but I know what they’re really up to in this city; they’re scouting. They are gazing at all the opportunities this city has to offer before piling in and moving us all out.

Whatever the case may be, New York City is not only expensive, it’s too damn expensive. Hell, at this rate I may have to resort to taking on a side job as a phone sex operator or gigolo; I hear they make descent money. Some people would say not to complain; living in New York City is a privilege not a right. No one is making you live here, and they would be right. This land we call America is vast and wide. Hell, I could throw a dart and land on any place I’d like to live. But you know what, I don’t want to live just anywhere. I love the masses of people, the culture, the variety of ethnic cuisines and diverse groups of people. I love seeing the models dressed in all Black with their portfolios in hand, running to their next shoot. Or how about the bright lights that make up Times Square. Oh, and what about long walks through Central Park, lounging in Herald Square, and people watching in Union Square. When thinking of the positives that come with the city they outweigh the negatives. Well, as expensive as the city may be, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I miss my city back in the Midwest, but would still keep my part-time job here and crappy apartment, for millions of dollars and a mansion back home. Wait, wait, wait, let me correct myself.; but would still keep my employment position here and studio apartment, for a little more income and living space back home.