I recently went on a day trip to NYC and saw some amazing things there that I wish we had here, in the DMV!
Bolder fashion/more freedom to express
We have been exposed to and know that NYC is one of the fashion capitals of the world and the residents would be fashionable, (hello, “The Devil Wears Prada”) but seeing everyday people sporting the latest trends was a pleasant surprise. Not only are trends more prevalent there but people are not afraid to wear bold styles. Whether it was to run errands or spend a day in a coffee shop finishing up work, there were different styles everywhere you looked and there was not a “lazy day” outfit in sight. Whether it was streetwear or a more sporty, sleek look, everyone looked comfortable in their skin. In NoVa or D.C., I sense some kind of subtle judgment, some kind of unspoken rule to dress uniformly with one neutral style if you don’t want to get weird looks. What I envy from NYC is not their advanced sense of style, which is amazing, but the freedom of really being able to express yourself with fashion.
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I was most astonished by the existence of these! There have been so many times where my going out to the city has been curbed by the need to #obviously purchase appetizing and fulfilling sustenance if I’m going to enjoy my day out. Unfortunately, restaurants here tend to be pricey and fast food is not filling or fast. Behold the 99 cent pizza. I was walking and on my feet all day and I doubted that the pizza could properly provide with nutrients to keep on going the other half of the day or satisfy me. BOY WAS I WRONG. The tiny pizza shop had a bunch of pies prepped and ready to go and I literally got our slices in less than ten seconds- beat that, McDonald’s. The pizza was piping hot and HUGE so I was really stuffed after two slices. If you think you need more, though, or want to buy a drink, you really do not need to stress because you’ve already saved by purchasing a whole meal for less than 3 dollars. Not only was there no regret or guilt for the price but I was truly stuffed and could enjoy the rest of the trip without my stomach grumbling. Next time I want to take a day trip to DC I’ll be wishing we had that 99 cent pizza so I could literally go on a whim and not have to plan or budget the night before!
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While DC/ NoVa does have Instagrammable shops with novel and cute items, the variety is not as plentiful as it is in NYC. Here, we see a few trends or aesthetics being catered to, but in NYC, almost every different ambiance had its own shop. There were hype and streetwear shops, soft pink bubble tea shops, LA-esque summery restaurants and literally so many more. The most interesting one was a hot pink Lisa Frank-ish shop with stuffed animals everywhere that turned out to actually be a restaurant and not a gift shop- go figure. NYC has a lot of diversity in its people pertaining to expression, identity and interests, simply because it is a bigger city. Still, we’d love for some variety in interest here, as well!
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More outdoor restaurants
Walking around the Lower East Side, I saw so many small restaurants with outdoor seating. Also, the day I went was the first warm day there, so there were people eating outside in almost every other restaurant we passed. What I have noticed here is that there certainly is outdoor seating, but there’s a big fuss around it. We normally see them in larger, fancier, more expensive restaurants here and it’s almost like a silent rule that smaller, cheaper restaurants can’t have nice outdoor seating. New Yorkers make no fuss and assemble a few tables and chairs outside of their tiny storefront and honestly it’s just as nice and enjoyable, for everyone.
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More street art
The last thing that I saw in NYC that I wish we had more of here is street art. There is a stigma about street art being “uncivilized,” or automatically making the area around the painted wall a place for hoodlums. But NYC really proved all those stigmas and beliefs wrong. I saw people coming together to paint these murals, which had deeper meanings about love. The best part honestly was probably that luxury hotels had painted murals all over their exterior as well, to be the first thing a passer-by sees. The change from erasing murals to proudly displaying them across NYC was touching and reassuring. The beauty of street art there not only livened the city but it was amazing to see a progression away from generalizing and stigmatizing something to seeing it used for unifying and beautifying the city.
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Overall, NYC was really eye-opening on a number of fronts and I really enjoyed my time there with so much ethnic, fashion, and personality diversity. I admired how the people there literally danced to the beat of their own drum and how there was less of a social pressure to dress and act the same with the fear of mass judgment. NYC was really free for personal expression and I was shocked that such a place existed. If you have been in one area for most of your life, especially a more suburban place, I would highly suggest visiting a large city and seeing a true, limitless community and trying to translate that freedom into your daily life.