One grand East Coast city to another. Around noon we got on the train to the biggest city in the United States, New York.

The train was uneventful, but when we arrived and stepped off the train, something changed. Around me I could feel the massiveness of where I was.

New York is quite a grand city. All around me, in the center of Manhattan (where the train station was), there were huge skyscrapers. We even got to see the Empire State Building (from the outside). Other iconic structures were all around me, such as the Chrysler Building.

One of the things that really came to my attention when we first stepped off the train into New York was the racial diversity. Many more African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and people whose ethnicity looks like it could be traced back to many different places. Seattle has people of these minorities, but the East Coast has many more. And I like that. It represents how diverse America was and is, and how New York in particular is a city composed of immigrants. Thiry-seven percent of its population was born in another country, and even more than that have backgrounds from other continents.

As we stepped out into the streets of Manhattan, I saw an enormous number of skyscrapers. They were everywhere, but not covered in bamboo scaffholding like Hong Kong. There were also many more brick buildings. The style and material of some of the buildings show that New York has been a city for much longer than just the present day.

And in all that time, the city has grown is size, business, wealth, and population. So many people and limited space makes for an astonishingly pricy rent.

From 2003 to 2005, Alex and Janet lived in New York. We got to visit their apartment building, and the superintendent was kind enough to let us into a room that is identical to the one they stayed in. They spent their time here in a very small apartment, with a tiny bathroom, tiny kitchen, small living room, and a loft. Very simple and cramped. Can you guess how much it cost? About $2,100/month. Can you guess how much the same room costs today? About $3,800-$3,900/month. That is quite the jump. And more people are still moving into New York, even with its already huge population and expensive rent.

And after seeing their apartment, we went on a long search for a dinner place that did not cost over $15/person for a meal. It was hard, but we eventually settled on a small pizza place.

Even though it has all the sights, Manhattan is far too expensive, so we are actually staying in Brooklyn, near Prospect Park. Though it is amazing nonetheless!

Below: Tiny, Expensive, Apartment