New York Becomes Second Largest Polish City After Warsaw

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W Nowym Jorku więcej Polaków niż w Chicago.

Coming back from Warsaw for the first time last month, after falling in love with the city, and as a born-and-raised New Yorker, I was delighted to hear (somewhat late) of the fact that New York City recently surpassed Chicago as the largest Polish city in the world after Warsaw. The Big Apple is home to more than 55,000 Polish immigrants born in the motherland, and this number is rising yearly; Chicago has about 46,000.

According to Nowy Dziennik and Voices of NY, figures taken from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (2008-2010) tell us this:

The city [Chicago] is now home to 45,958 immigrants of Polish origin and 126,346 Americans of Polish origin (data from the American Community Survey for 2008-2010). In comparison, the same source estimates that there are currently 55,581 immigrants of Polish origin living in New York and 163,269 Americans of Polish origin.

Also, when it comes to the number of Polish Americans living in the entire state, New York, with 999,178 people of Polish origin (including 86,527 individuals born outside the U.S.) tops Illinois. In the latter, there are 979,499 Polish Americans, including 148,286 immigrants.

I’m happy that the Polish people, among others, continue to choose Nowy Jork as their new home.

Witamy w Nowym Jorku!

Bogotá, Colombia and Me

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Back in August, 2010, which was about 6 months ago, my interest in traveling was renewed. My biggest passion in life is travel, and my ultimate goal is to visit all 194 countries in the world before I die. So, in the beginning of August, I got my passport renewed and started planning my next country to visit. I had traveled a lot back when I was younger, back when my parents had more money. I had been all over Europe and Asia, including England, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. However, I was young when I went to these countries, and I am sure that I did not appreciate these trips as I would now. So, I decided to wipe the slate clean.

I had no real reason for going to Colombia specifically. I chose South America because I had never been to this continent, and it was more economical than going to any other continent. Every location in South America had the exotic lure, and when I picked Colombia out of the hat, I guess it was due to the one advantage that Colombia has over its neighbors: coffee production. Anyone who knows me knows my love for a good cup o’ joe.
So, I planned Colombia and a trip to it’s capital city, Bogotá. I bought a round trip ticket on Mexicana Airlines, so I could earn AAdvantage miles, as Mexicana was a OneWorld Alliance member. At the end of August, I was horrified to find out that Mexicana Airlines had filed for bankruptcy. I would not get my money back until after my trip, so I quickly booked another ticket on TACA Airlines, for September 24 – October 2, 2010.

I started a website called The Dauntless Jaunter (www.dauntlessjaunter.com) back in August, which I intend to use as a travel reference guide and a blog to document my journeys. This website will have many features, and is targeted towards the solo and independent traveler, though there will be resources and advice suitable for just about any vacation soon, I hope. This is one of my side projects, so please support me by bookmarking the website and following the posts.

Back to the topic. So, I have been a member of this great little niche travel website called CouchSurfing. CouchSurfing is a website where travelers can meet real locals in the city that they are planning on going to. The primary tool on the site is for enabling you to find locals that will host you in their house. Hence, you “surf their couch”. Not only is this a great way to save some money, but I was thrilled at the prospect of getting to see how real people live from day to day in the cities where I want to go. There are almost 2 million members, so it should not be a problem finding someone to host you if you are going to a major city, but in case you cannot find anyone, there are many more people who are probably open to other things, such as having lunch, dinner, or drinks with you, or giving you a tour of their city. This is especially great, because who better to show you the city than a native? But more on CouchSurfing in a different blog.

I stayed for 10 days in Bogotá and loved every minute of it. I met this girl, Kathe, on the first day that I arrived, and she ended up spending every single day of my stay with me. Kathe was a great tour guide, and we built some sort of connection. After I got back to New York City, we continued talking on Skype, and we are now dating. I have been to Bogotá six times in the last 5 months, and have another trip planned in 3 weeks. To keep this long-distance relationship working, I try to visit her every 3 weeks or so. Plus, it gives me a great excuse to travel!

Bogotá is a great city, full of beautiful, warm, and passionate people. The people there seem to only want to have a good time, and it is weird for me to see a city with the same population as New York City with such calm and amiable attitudes. It seems to rain every 3 hours, and the sky seems forever overcast, the streets are filthy, and there are stray dogs everywhere, which I assume to be feral, but the people keep a great attitude. The food is wonderful, and cigarettes are $1.50 USD a pack, which allows me to buy a whopping 9 packs of smokes for the price that I can buy 1 pack in Brooklyn.

This is just a brief summary about the city that over the past half-year has become my second home. There is much to do and see in Bogotá, Colombia, and you would miss a great opportunity if you never took the time to experience it. It is not anywhere as dangerous or drug-infested as the stereotype still implies, so you can travel there with relatively little worry. As their marketing team says: Bogotá, the only danger is wanting to stay.

New York City and Its Idiot’s Guide To Heroin

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New York City has spent $32,000 on 70,000 fliers that teach you precisely how to shoot heroin. Our taxpayer dollars funded these handouts from the New York City Health Department, titled “Take Charge, Take Care,” Though the goal of the flier, as stated by the Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Use Prevention, is to promote health and save lives, it has outraged many of NYC’s top drug prosecutors and abuse experts.

The 16-page booklet gives helpful advice such as: “Warm your body by jumping up and down to show your veins,” “Find the vein before you try to inject,” and “If you don’t ‘register,’ pull out and try again.”

After many critics created an uproar over the “misuse of city’s funds,” New York City finally decided to stop handing them out.

New York, Unhappiest State of Them All

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We New Yorkers can be nasty sometimes. And we can be rude. And, yes, we can be downright belligerent. But are we really the unhappiest state in the country?

Two economics professors, who obviously had nothing better to do, thought so. Andrew Oswald, from the University of Warwick in Britain, and Stephen Wu, from Hamilton College in Clinton, NY, conducted a study that was published in Science Magazine. The two formed a guide to our nation’s happiness by compiling all sorts of data, and ranking by state. Washington DC is included as a state to bring the list to 51.

New York was dead last. Number 51 of 51 on the happiness rankings. And our immediate neighbors, Connecticut and New Jersey, ranked at the bottom with us, Connecticut at 50, and New Jersey at 49. That’s gotta make the Tri-State area the most miserable metropolis in the world.

Wu and Oswald based their study mainly on two surveys. One was a survey done by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention of 1.3 million Americans over four years that questioned the participants about their health and how satisfied they were with their lives. The other study was one taken from U.C.L.A., and compared crime, climate, taxes, commutes, cost of living and other factors, and compared them on a state-to-state basis.

The two studies matched findings so accurately, as to almost seem fixed. The happiest states were those where it was warm and the sun shone a lot, where traffic was light and pollution was down. Those states, of course, are located in the Sun Belt. States like Hawaii, Florida, Tennessee, and Arizona were in the top 5, with Louisiana at the very top. Maine was a wild card at number 6.

So, as a native New Yorker, hearing these negative survey findings makes me unhappy. Good thing the study by Wu and Oswald could not factor in the impending added unhappiness of the test results, or else New York would have been rated 52 of 51.

New Yorkers always appear to be rude, seem to yell at the slightest of provocations, and are always in a hurry. However, these should not beg the assumption that we New Yorkers are unhappy. New York is a mountain of social and financial obstacles that await the strong-hearted willing to challenge it. Achievement is the ultimate goal, and making it to the top in New York is basically making it to the top, period.

Comments from New York Times Readers:

The obvious answer is that people in the happy states don’t know any better. They are the most deluded by national media, don’t have cable, have no radio but preachers and country music stations, buy into the Orphan Annie philosophy of false optimism. If they knew what was going on, the fact that they think they are happy should make them miserable. In places like New York, New Jersey, Connecticut (Lieberman alone must depress them terribly) and California, they (we) are not clueless as to the reality of life in these United States.
-Barry Blitstein, NYC

I was born in Manhattan and love New York. And by the way , Saranac Lake was voted the best place to live in the entire USA. Plattsburgh is the best college town in the country. We have bigger parks than Alaska, better beaches than Hawaii. It is the only state with pizza worth slicing and bagels worth shmearing.
The world is full of complainers.
But we have the best complainers.
-chefstig, NYC

And the final word from Clyde Haberman of the New York Times, because I cannot say it better:

Not to be unkind, but some states that made the Top 10 are among the poorest in the country. Are people there truly happy, or are they wearing “What, me worry?” smiles.
More important, might contentment be overrated? Seriously, isn’t restlessness, even outright discontent, often a catalyst for creativity?
We’re from the Harry Lime school. If you’ve seen the film classic “The Third Man,” you will remember that character’s admonition: “In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance.
“In Switzerland they had brotherly love. They had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.”

NYC, Most Expensive Place to Live in US

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Mercer consulting Firm, based in London, has revised their 2009 Cost of Living Survey. This agency bases the most expensive cities in the world by more than just real estate and rental costs. “Mercer’s Cost of Living survey covers 143 cities across six continents and measures the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment. It is the world’s most comprehensive cost of living survey and is used to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation allowance for their expatriate employees.”

In Mercer’s survey, New York City is used as the base of their survey, scoring an even 100 points. All other cities in the world are compared to New York, and their score is judged accordingly. Tokyo is first on the list, with a great 143.7 points, followed by another Japanese city, Osaka. Moscow comes in third.

In the United States, New York is the most expensive place to live, with rents almost double its second place contender of Los Angeles. New York City comes in 8th on the worldwide list, LA comes in 23rd. White Plains, NY is next, due to the abundance of expats from abroad, and San Francisco and Honolulu come in fourth and fifth, respectively. For more on the survey, please visit http://www.mercer.com/costofliving (link moved).