1. Free pouring at bars
In Australia alcoholic drinks are measured with dogged accuracy and in some pubs you can only get 1oz of your favourite spirit at a time. Even with all of these alcohol regulations Australians remain the biggest boozehounds in the world. Go figure. Aussies LOVE free pouring and for many it’s the first thing they report back on “Maaaaaaate, in the States you can get a bloody schooner full of Jamesons with a dash of Coke!”. And don’t get me started on access – buying liquor at a supermarket? Being liquor lax is a wonderful surprise but Australians really don’t need any encouragement to binge drink.
2. There are a lot of other Australians
Due to the recent Visa changes New York has become the new London for school leavers and dreamers and as a result, Bushwick is like a mini Melbourne. Constantly bumping in to fellow Aussies can get old to those who trekked to America to hang out with actual Americans, but nothing beats “You right mate?” when you’re experience a particularly harsh New York day.
3. Discovering that New York isn’t as dangerous as you’ve been told
Don’t look up at the buildings, never ask for directions, don’t tell anyone you’re a tourist under any circumstances, EVERYONE HAS GUNS AND SHOOTS THEM RANDOMLY. Contrary to the Scarfacesque picture the Australian media paints of NYC, at times 3am in the Bronx can be a safer place than the outskirts of Sydney during the day. You’ll get mugged eventually, but you’ll enjoy at least a week of ‘this isn’t so bad’ naivety.
4. Weird subway behaviour
The first time you witness a full-blown catfight, a bum taking a leak or a man playing an imaginary trombone on the Subway is an absolutely thrilling experience which is heighten in hilarity by the seasoned New Yorkers being like “Meh”. Down Under doesn’t do public transport like Americans; if you clowned around on a train in Oz it’s likely you’d be arrested or punched in the face. The first month riding the Subway is exciting, the second is irritating and by the third you don’t notice the trapeze artist with his butt in your face.
5. How cheap everything is
Australia is incredibly expensive but most of Aussies are blissfully unaware of this fact until they visit the USA, and WOW it’s a shock when you’ve been paying $4 for coffee all your life to discover that 75c gets you a large cup and some relationship advice. And there’s always a better deal to discover – you can settle for a $1 bottle of water but there will always be a guy under the bridge peddling warm ones for a quarter.
6. How Australians are appreciated
We know that Americans love Australians, and we can’t really understand why, but the attention is awesome. There are plenty of rough looking Australian blokes cleaning up in American bars by saying that their uncle is Crocodile Dundee. Hearing “Australia is on my Bucket List” from a person who was born in arguably one of the best cities in the world is a huge compliment. Except when you get mistaken for a Kiwi. That’s like calling an American Canadian.
7. The entertaining catcalling
Australian men can be lazy creatures and a toot of the horn or yelling “OI SEXY” out of their ute (pickup truck) is about as much effort they’ll go to bring the girls to the yard. New York men give it a really good go with “Damn gurrrrrllll you got it goin’ owwwwwn. Come on over here just a lil’ bit” and if they’re an Italian construction worker you may even get an accompanying crotch grab.
8. How cavalier everyone is about celebrities
If you were on Australia’s Big Brother six years ago you probably still get free parking at Westfields in Sydney. Aussies adore celebrities and seeing them in the flesh reduces them to an undignified mess. The fact that proper celebrities (like those who made more than one Pizza Hut commercial) live and breathe in New York is exhilarating, and before you know it you’re doing the downward dog every Tuesday night with Maggie Gylennhaal on 14th Street. It’s a quick transformation from gushing fool to “Amy Pohler. Whole Foods. Kinda short.”
9. Food portions
It’s an incredible feeling to be able to wave the cultural experience card in exchange for a New York slice. As soon as they land, Australians in New York feel that they have a God-given right to play the Food Drum (the art of working several plates at once. You’re welcome), and it’s heaven until your face starts to resemble said pizza slice.
10. Finally “getting” things that you’ve seen in movies
There are some things that just can’t be described to you, and when you experience them there is an unbridled sense of accomplishment that you finally ‘get’ New York. Pumpkin-spiced lattes – get it. Riding the G Train – get it. A-Rod – get it. Even though at the end of the day they might be overpriced, overpopulated and overrated (yeah I said it), they’re still gratifying.