Growing up I never really put much thought into how cities are different from each other. I thought a city is a city. Sure they might have different food or weather but surely they must be mostly the same. I would like to say that this is NOT true. I live in the Chicago area and have spent the summer working in Chicago, so I would like to say that I am fairly acquainted with the city. After spending the last week in New York City for the first time I realized just how different two cities could be.
1. The way garbage is handled
Garbage lining a street in New York
In New York garbage is just left on the sidewalk every single night. Literally just bags of trash on the sidewalk. No garbage bins. In Chicago we have alleyways that we can put our trash in so the sidewalks aren't covered in trash bags.
2. Two cities can smell completely different
New York and Chicago smell COMPLETELY different. In New York it constantly smells like garbage. I'm not even joking. See #1 for reasons behind the smell. Of course it doesn't help that people cut open the garbage bags in New York to search for plastic letting the smell out into the air. I'm not saying Chicago smells like flowers, but it definitely doesn't smell like garbage, which is a win in my book.
3. The amount of trees in each city
New York barely has any. Sure they have central park, but outside of their parks there are barely any trees. Most streets don't have trees and are just concrete. In Chicago, there are trees lining most every street and many restaurants have flower boxes as well. No trees on New York streets might make the sidewalks wider, but it means when it rains the water has nowhere to go flooding the streets.
4. The way people drive in the city
One thing I noticed in New York was the extreme amount of weaving that drivers do. Cars constantly are changing lanes in ways that make absolutely no sense and cannot possibly be safe. In Chicago there is not as much weaving done by drivers. Sure people change lanes but not anything like in New York.
5. Public transportation systems are different
New York has the subway, which while effective is not nearly as nice as the L in Chicago. The L is above ground meaning we are able to use our cell phones the entire way and aren't subject to that gross underground smell like New Yorkers are with the subway.
6. The amount of tourists
Chicago gets its fair share of tourists being the third largest city in the US, but it doesn't feel like the entire city is full of tourists like it does in New York. Places like Times Square are full of tourists all day every day. You pass walking tours and bus tours constantly in New York. I honestly can't recall ever seeing someone on a walking or bus tour in Chicago, that's not to say that they don't exist just that they aren't as prevalent.