It has been about a year and a half since we moved back to North America from Hong Kong. On our visit to New York City, I realized there were many things about New York that reminded me of Hong Kong.
Although the typical image of Hong Kong is a place of skyscrapers and traffic the city has lots of green space. There are plenty of parks and beautiful wilderness places to hike.
New York has preserved some lovely green spaces as well. We spent several hours biking through Central Park. Right in the middle of this huge metropolitan city is a park that covers 843 acres and is 2.5 miles long. In both Hong Kong and New York people seem to pay little attention to street lights. They just cross the street in droves whenever they think they can get safely across. Our guide on one of our New York walking tours told us that jay walking is just an accepted part of life in New York City. It is in Hong Kong too.
In Hong Kong when you are in a restaurant or coffee shop or shopping mall you can hear people speaking all kinds of languages- Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Tagalog, and English. It is the same way in New York. We were sitting in a Starbucks just off-Broadway and I heard Spanish, French, English, Korean and a language I couldn’t identify being spoken by people sitting around me. There is lots of construction going on in both Hong Kong and New York. In New York, they use steel scaffolding.
In Hong Kong the scaffolding is made of bamboo. Rent is very expensive in both Hong Kong and New York. I found statistics for May 2012 that said an average two bedroom apartment in Hong Kong was renting for $2,800 a month and a two bedroom apartment in Manhatten was renting for $3,400 a month.
In both New York and Hong Kong cars aren’t as popular as in many other cities. In Chicago for example 89% of people have access to a personally owned vehicle while only 50% of people in New York own a car and only 56 out of every 1000 people in Hong Kong own a car. The public transportation system is very heavily used in both Hong Kong and New York.
In Hong Kong you use an Octopus card. As I was walking down the streets of Time Square in the evening, the crush of the crowd reminded me of trying to make my way down the streets in the Mong Kok area of Hong Kong, the most densely populated place on earth.
Here is a Hong Kong street sweeper
In Hong Kong restaurants offer every kind of food imaginable just like they do in New York.
Although I don’t know if I will ever get to visit Hong Kong again, being in New York City brought back some fond memories and comparisons with the city we called home for six years.