I visited USA in the first fortnight of November 2015. When I got my Australian citizenship in June this year I planned to celebrate it by visiting great places. First I spent two beautiful days in Australian entertainment capital Gold Coast in July. Then I visited Auckland, New Zealand in October. My parents also accompanied me during this three day tour which was a memorable one.
On 6th of November I left for New York by a Qantas airline flight. During my stay there I was asked by many of my friends to compare the New York lifestyle with that of Lahore, Karachi and Sydney. I however replied that I would like to compare NYC with Sydney as it can’t be compared with Lahore or Karachi. It doesn’t mean that Lahore and Karachi are not good cities, but the reason why I can’t compare NYC with them will elaborate itself in the following paragraphs.
- Roads, rails and transport
Roads in both cities are generally good. However in New York there are lot more bridges, intersections and flyovers than those in Sydney. In all over USA you will find distances measured and written in miles rather than kilometres. However one thing that bothered me during my driving was the lack of speed limit signs in NYC, whereas in Sydney we see them quite often. In Australia we drive right hand cars on the left side while in the USA they drive left hand cars on the right side. Traffic rules are almost the same.
NYC has a much bigger metro train network as compared with the Sydney’s one. Trains in NYC are extra-long and have single deck. Many lines run parallel to each other and there are too many junctions. Even in Manhattan (NYC business and financial hub) there are countless stations. Sydney has a smaller train network but Sydney has much better double decker trains. NYC subway stations are not very good and present a poor impression whereas Sydney train stations are much cleaner.
Taxis in NYC are quite cheaper than those in Sydney. Uber is legal in USA and Uber drivers display a ‘U’ sign on their front screen to identify themselves. NYC also has a large number of private companies who have Lexus and other high brand cars which they rent out with their own drivers. They charge very reasonable fixed amounts for them.
- Manhattan Vs Sydney City
This is the main difference between these great cities. Manhattan is perhaps the biggest central business district (CBD) in the world. It has countless number of high rise buildings and departmental stores. Many head offices, branded stores and attractions are located there. Manhattan is divided in three areas, i.e. Uptown, Midtown and Downtown. Times Square is the heart of Manhattan. You can check it on YouTube. Sydney CBD is at least quarter of the Manhattan in area.
- Shopping and cost of living
USA as a whole is much cheaper for shopping especially if you are a traveller from Australia. Branded clothes are available at very good prices and you will find a very good variety there. House rents are almost the same. Sydney suburbs are much cleaner than the New York City neighbourhoods. Fuel prices are good in the USA and remain constant. Train fares are also cheaper in NYC and you pay fixed US$2.75 per journey regardless of the length of journey.
- Dining and Grocery stores
In New York I could not find a single fast food chain that serves halal food. Whereas in Sydney Nando’s and Oporto serve halal chicken. We also have many halal branches of KFC, McDonalds and Hungry Jack’s (Burger King brand name in Australia) in Sydney. In Manhattan however you will find many carts serving halal food. There is no cart culture in Sydney and in CBD halal food is not available easily.
In USA offering tip to the waiters and taxi drivers is a culture whereas in Australia there is no such culture. In Sydney we have a very large number of grocery supermarket stores managed by Woolworths, Coles and Aldi. In New York there are few stores managed by Safeway, Vons, Ralph, Food 4 Less and Aldi. Due to this small grocery stores are found in abundance.
Soft drink became Soda water in the USA. There is free refill on every McDonalds there. Coffee at the McDonalds is priced US$ 1 regardless of the size. Coffee cups at the cafes have a bigger size in USA.
7-Eleven have different types of coffees in both countries. In Australia you get coffee from machine, whereas in USA coffees at 7-Eleven are placed in containers that include Hazelnut, Vanilla and Caramel Lattes, and you have a large variety of different creams to mix.
- Lifestyle and culture
I liked NYC because markets and stores remain open till late there and families hang out till late on the weekends. In trains you will see African boys showing dances and difficult acrobatic tricks on fast music. They of course demand tip at the end. However undercover Police arrest them if they are patrolling on the train. Sydney in comparison is a quieter city for the families and after 5:00 pm there is no activity for them except dining out. Shops and stores keep open till 9:00 pm only on Thursday nights. Another thing that I noticed in NYC was the large number of Jewish community members. You will especially notice them on trains, and in Manhattan. In Sydney Jewish people mostly live near Bondi beach.
A last but not the least difference is the English accent. American accent is very different from the Australian one. They don’t twist the words like us and there is no ‘mate’ there. 🙂