Thursday, April 1, 2010

NYC vs. Züri

I've lived in Zürich for the past 3 months. This winter has been harder than I expected, which is why I've decided to withhold judgment and keep an open mind for one year. In March I traveled to NYC, my home of 14 years. It was strange to be back knowing I would leave again. The filth in the subway and on some streets is mind numbing. I'm surprised there hasn't been an outbreak of the Plague. Sadly, there seems to be more homelessness than I remember.

Still, it was wonderful to meet some of my closest friends and share incredible meals while catching up. I had the absolute best cocktails at RYE. The food was spectacular as well. Sushi Nanase again delivered a sublime night. One of my girlfriends fed me the best home cooked Chinese food I've inhaled. Red Hook Lobster provided outstanding lobster rolls and my first giant whoopie pie. I also stuffed myself at Vatan, the best Indian restaurant.

Besides exquisite dining, NYC holds an endless amount of opportunities for your professional, spiritual, physical, and emotional growth. Whether rich or poor, shy or extroverted, you can lead an exciting life 24/7. I regret taking a lot for granted. At the same time, I do remember how hard it was to feel at peace. Life was sucked out of me by the fast pace, the competitive dating scene, and the pollution. I remember walking down the streets on hot summer nights, terrified of giant roaches scurrying along. Areas close to overflowing garbage bags were especially ripe with pests and a dizzying stench. NYC is a drug, constructed by extremes.

However, instead of launching on a personal comparison of Zürich and NYC, I decided to stick to the facts. As you will see, there is no comparison. Click on the chart for a legible view.

Have you made big geographical moves in your life? What did you learn and what advice can you give this expat?


  1. this is a great journal entry and i love the chart!

  2. Mel - i felt pretty much the same way when I first went back to NYC to visit friends after moving to SF. I remember being surprised by the number of homeless people on the streets in NYC and thinking that it wasn't like that just 3 months ago - but I think we were just so busy scurrying around with our daily stuff that we just didn't notice... I felt nostalgic about NY my first year in SF, but it completely went away during the second year. I am going back to visit sometime in May or June after more than a year, and I think that feeling of familiarity I used to feel about NY will not be there anymore, it's not my town any longer, and that's just how it is.

    It seems that our journeys have some curious similarities (the Burningman connection, CB, moving out of NY to another city and going through a period of adjustment). Maybe one day we'll intersect in NYC (or SF, or Europe) and chat about these experiences in person? I'd like that.

    Big hug,


  3. Oh girl, I'm totally with you - absolutely no comparison! NYC wins in the comparison for many thing, except public transportation and cleanliness, where Zurich kicks NYC's ass ;-)

    Such a wonderful mix you have tough, being able to live here and travel to NYC to see your family! I'd love to have that.