Chicago vs. New York City: How the Windy City Compares to the Big Apple
Hi! My name is Carrie Kaiser and I am a junior Advertising major from Chicago currently at Catch 24 in New York City. As the semester comes to a close, I can confidently say that I feel much more comfortable in New York City. Not too comfortable—just yesterday I realized I was walking the wrong way for four blocks through Soho because there’s not the same number system down there. New York City has a way of humbling you just when you think you’ve got it down.
Chicago feels much more familiar to me. While Manhattan is literally surrounded by an ocean, in Chicago I feel the sense of being near open water much more. With Lake Michigan lining the whole east side and the river running right through the center of the city, it’s hard to avoid. NYC is just so much more packed—with people, with restaurants, and with buildings—that you feel enclosed by the current area you’re in no matter where you are. It’s not until you walk the Brooklyn Bridge or go to Battery Park to say hello to Lady Liberty that you realize just how surrounded by water you are.
Chicago also feels slower. By slower I don’t mean less metropolitan, I mean the feel is literally slower. In New York, there are so many more people rushing to catch walk signals and there are constantly five new restaurants to try. I’ve only been here for a few months and I already get the sense that I could be here for a few years and still have 20 things to do on my list. The turnover rate is twice the pace of Chicago’s.
While I think New York City might seem more daunting to jump into, I think it is easier to adjust here. The grid system of the streets and the amazing subway system (Chicago’s is great too, but not as extensive) make navigation extremely easy to catch on to. Aside from the southern part of the island, it is impossible to head the wrong way for more than two blocks. After my first few weeks here I should have added pivoting to my resume.
One of my favorite things about both cities is the museum scene. Chicago has the Art Institute and New York has the MET, both of which should be day-long trips with all they have to offer. One of my favorite moments this semester was when I decided to go to the Museum of Modern Art alone one Wednesday and stumbled upon Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.” It was the painting that inspired me to paint and has been my favorite for as long as I can remember. I went into the museum with no expectations and was graced with such a pleasant surprise during a hectic week.
That’s what I’ve noticed about this city. It is full of little moments to bring you back from the constant rushed feeling—you just have to peel your eyes from your cell phone and keep an eye out for them. The High Line as flowers start to bloom, Ladurée’s macarons, the luck of the draw to get free tickets to see “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” hearing the “Game of Thrones” theme song in violin at the Herald Square station, using the spire of the Empire State Building as a compass, or stumbling upon your favorite painting; there are so many things to appreciate at every moment that it’s hard to pick any singular one.
I have to end with what you’ve been expecting this whole time: pizza comparisons. I am fully aware that I am totally biased, but I will give New York an edge on regularity. After I eat deep dish pizza in Chicago, we need to go on a long-term break. However, I could eat New York style pizza every day without fail. To me, there is nothing better than Pequod’s Deep Dish Pepperoni pizza, but Rubirosa’s Vodka Sauce pie really does take a close second.