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Five different Americas: what you need to prepare, going to the USA

Going to the United States, you can mistakenly get into the wrong America. In New York, it's no use trying to find Malibu's lifeguards, and in Los Angeles - hipsters. This guide to five important American cities, with a description of their best sides, customs of the locals and popular ways of leisure, will help those who first gather in the United States. What's interesting in New York, Los Angeles, Portland, New Orleans and Providence, tells The Village.

Photo: Shutterstock

New York

Although the Dutch invented a bank and stock exchange, they seriously sold off, exchanging the New Amsterdam to Suriname for the English - unowned land on the coast of the Caribbean Sea, which was previously rich in sugar and gold. Sugar was eaten, gold dried up, and New Amsterdam was renamed in honor of the Duke of York, and in less than 100 years it became the most famous and richest city in the world.

The ancestors of the indigenous New Yorkers fell into the US by sea, so the true symbol of the American dream is not the Statue of Liberty, but the neighboring island of Ellis, to which DiCaprio nearly reached. Here, inspectors and doctors sifted out wild, sick and lonely - the latter concerns women, who considered it dangerous to come to New York without a couple. In order to get to America after all, the girls found themselves cavaliers directly in the queue of the receiver-distributor, and there young people played the wedding. Now the customs building houses the Immigration Museum, where thousands of Americans come in search of their family history - in its e-file, data is stored about the ancestors of 40% of US citizens.

Modern New York began at five corners (5 Points) - the most sinister, dangerous and rollicking quarter of Manhattan, where Irish, Italian and German marginals lived, died and made up families. From here came the members of the famous gangs “Dead Rabbits” and “Guys from the Bowery”, who terrorized the neighborhood until Chinese speculators flooded with five police corners with cheap high-quality opium - this broke the gangsters and they soon closed them in prisons and hospitals . The city authorities were so afraid of this place that after the massacre of the gangs, they not only razed all the taverns, brothels and caches, but also wiped out the glorious names of the five corners of the city maps. Nowadays, there is only one historical corner left from five - the intersection of Worth Street and Baxter Street (formerly Orange and Anthony). World-famous graffiti spot with the same name, 5 Pointz, also destroyed - in 2014 year.

Touching the ancient history of New York, you can make an exercise according to Chinatown - choose the streets narrower and demanding, where there are few tourists, but there are many family shops, hairdressers for two places, and grabbers from all over Asia. If you prefer an even wilder East - the road to the Lower East Side is for you. Here was the legendary bar CBGB and almost all the heroes of American music 1980-s were quartered. For example, the hotel "Chelsea" - on these four floors fit so much history that the whole basement could be laid out with plaques.

Manhattan is so often described in books and filmed in a movie that a newcomer from almost any country in the world, having come here for the first time, finds many places familiar and knows ahead of time what he wants to see first. In this grid of streets, heroes and eras are intermingled: here is the Central Station, under the dome of which John Gault sacrificed genius and work; here Greenwich Village, where they inhaled smoke and exhaled poems without rhyme, the beaty beatniks; there are the windows of the Broadway office of the New American newspaper, behind which Sergey Dovlatov, a writer with the New York patronymic Donatovich, was smiling into a mustache; Away from Washington Square Park, where the "Kids" were lost. Most likely, New York will limit your fantasies to Manhattan too, but if in the first days in the city you are brought to other boroughs, look for sewage grids from which steam escapes - the underground lines pass under them, which means that the street will soon lead you to the nearest station .

Although it is Manhattan that is called the “city”, the extract of New York, there are almost no real New Yorkers on the island - they all moved first to the attic of Brooklyn, and when the tourists got there, they went to Queens. Indigenous people speak a special dialect ("shop" - wine cellar, not "north" or "south", but uptown or downtown), walk a lot and quickly, counting yellow taxis as an attraction for visitors, have a rest on a run or on the steps of other people's houses, rarely miss the brunch, and drink alcohol with bagels or pizza according to 99 cents, which people can argue about for a long time and hotly, almost like people from St. Petersburg shaverme If you decide to mimic the old-timers, settle better in Williamsburg or in the West Side, preferably in the attic with access to the roof, which is expensive and crowded, but every day you can watch one of the best shows in the world - the sunset silhouette of New York.

Just past the Hudson begins the high road of America - the light beam of highways leading west to the Pacific Ocean. The best means of transportation is not a car, as it is thought, but a brilliant in all respects intercity bus “Greyhound”.

Los Angeles

If the New World was in principle a place of pilgrimage for the brave and the outcast, then the west is its sacred Kaaba. It promised to fulfill all the aspirations and dreams. Pioneers, railway workers, gold prospectors, vagrant artists, nymphets, hobo and startups - all moved to the ocean to break with the past and earn a house with a white fence. Therefore, it is not surprising that Los Angeles and the whole of Southern California are filled with the mythology of success: “angels”, “dreams”, “wonders” are not beautiful words here, but toponyms. Locals are not called somehow, but angelinos - "angels".

The city, built on the Hollywood hills and the nickels of hard workers who dreamed of beauties from the screen, seems like a big decoration - unlike the neighboring San Francisco, where a decrepit hippie managed to make a strong commune for fat cats. In Los Angeles, there is no historical center, except for the only Mexican street (at the beginning of its history, the city belonged to Chikanos, who did not always come here to work). There is little walking on foot, so rare streets are suitable for contemplation - this city needs to be consumed not in parts, but in bulk, from one of the viewing platforms. Not in the rules of Hollywood to draw urban views to the details. The sun shines here all year round, providing filmmakers and photographers with the perfect light, and any desired nature is found within a radius of a few kilometers from Sunset Boulevard - after the Middle Ages, they go to Griffith Park, and the post-apocalypse waits in the rocks of Vasquez Rocks.

Los Angeles is supposed to be entertained or entertained, so the first stop of any tourist route is the city-forming enterprises. Warner Brothers and Universal. Coupled with traditional excursions, visitors are offered to visit real-life movies and stand backstage at Spielberg or Affleck. The program of visiting film studios usually includes a brief visit to Beverly Hills - the preserve of movie stars, which is formally considered a separate city inside Los Angeles, as well as rides on rides at Disneyland.

About these two places you need to know that 90210 is only one of the five Beverly Hills indices, and the Mickey U souvenir shop in Disneyland is an exact replica of the Frederick lingerie store on Sunset Boulevard, whose owner invented a bra push up". In Beverly Hills, you rarely find frightened celebrities, so there are more chances to watch the paparazzi work on Robertson Boulevard, where many pictures were taken that cost one thousand dollars and the other reputation.

Another important area of ​​Los Angeles is Venice Beach. Canal-ridden urban areas between Ocean Park and Washington Boulevard have little in common with Venice, but the proto-urbanist Abbott Kinney, who dreamed of making this place the center of the American Renaissance, was convinced of the opposite. According to his plan, neat houses with tiled roofs were built along the canals, and gondolas with baleen captains were allowed into the cantée in the water. Venice from Venice Beach did not work, and after the economic crisis, the end of 1960's district turned into a powdered ghetto, the kingdom of teenagers, called Dogtaun. Here they played growling music and surfed. The strangers were chased away, not wanting to share a wave with anyone. A skateboard revolution began on these streets when teenagers on the boards took on the fashion to invade abandoned private villas and ride in dry pools - pools. This forever changed the history of popular culture and in an ironic way led to the prosperity of the once slum area. Today, skate parks and waves on Venice Beach have not diminished, but the beaches from the places for primitive parties turned into an arena of round-the-clock freak shows - boardwalkers seized equilibrists, hawkers, artisans, artists and other crooks. Therefore, surfers now prefer to assemble at the country side of Malibu Beach or Hermos Beach, where it is still considered to be a bad tone to sunbathe while lying on a towel, or to use sunblock.

Photo: Shutterstock

Having seen enough of Hollywood stars, their counterparts, beauties on roller skates in bikinis and indifferent muscular men, it would be superfluous to turn to city sights - Getty museums, MOCA and LACMA, Disney theater, and Griffith Park with a zoo, Jay's observatory and a bust. Special recommendation is to the Watts Towers, a monument to human loneliness. Having moved to a new city and left without friends and family, the Italian tiler Simon Rodia for 33 years made plastic bottles and other trifles one to one and fastened them with cement. In total, he built 17 towers, the tallest of which can slap a Soviet nine-story building. Now the Watts Towers are a nationwide youth and cultural center.

If you already understood everything about typical angelinos, which on 100% justify stereotypes (perfect body, tan, minimum of clothes, Lakers and burgers), then it's time to gather things in a knot, stock up on provisions and equipment and go hiking. Immediately beyond the city limits, hiking trails, health paths, picnics and campgrounds begin, but be careful: you may not meet people here, but stumble upon coyotes or mountain lions.


Portland is the democratic version of Los Angeles, the west for the poor. Many run to the ocean, but in the Mormon capital of Salt Lake City they have to make an important choice: the 15 highway leads to California and is paved with fake yellow bricks, and on 84 the cars stop exhausting and in general it looks more like a six-lane bicycle path. At the end of the journey, the 84 highway stumbles over the Willamette River, on which Portland stands, a city that shares a biography with Chuck Palanik. His "Runaways and Vagrants" describe Portland's proto-hipster story in which cranks lived, who had not yet had time to make their vagaries a matter of pride. This book is reread here as often as in the Texas Bible. Not long ago, journalists from a local online newspaper set out to find characters and memorable places from a book ten years later. It turned out that the gay baths are still standing, but under the new name, Santacon - the Santa Claus convention - has not been canceled, the cardboard derby rydvanov still rushes from the mountain every August, but the ghost of the library moved to a new place, so long as the neighboring chapel was turned into a crafting pub.

Even the people of Portland no longer argue that Portlandia - a documentary, not a feature film, even though it is officially titled. The main attraction here - it is she, Portland, a utopia, embodied by the forces of local kidalts. Portland is a city that has lost its mind on the basis of environmental friendliness, reuse and all natural, local and homemade (gluten free). Every day here is a celebration of self-expression, the main type of transport is a bicycle (possible options are a unicycle and a two-story tandem), a dress code - glasses, tattoos and a pet on a leash (for cats and dogs there is not only a cafe in the city, but even gyms and dry cleaners ), food - from own or neighbor's garden, drink - kemeks coffee or homemade beer, forbidden fruit - donut from Voodoo or Blue Star Donuts. Locals earnestly collect rainwater, breed chickens and buy food only from friends. There are about as many farmers markets in Portland as in other US cities - McDonald's and Taco Bell.

Walking around the city, it is important to pay attention to the bulletin board. This automatically increases the chances of participating in a role-playing battle, a hand in writing a script for a vegan series, or in a fruit beer festival.

Portland's Micro Breweries is a separate article on Wikipedia in general, and the city itself is jokingly called Birwana. What can I say, if it appeared in Portland movie brewpubs - cinemas in which, instead of chairs, there are home sofas for savoring beer while watching a favorite independent film. From the unexpected: Portland is the city with the largest number of strip bars per capita, as well as the home of the Simpsons. Van Houten, Montgomery Burns, Flanders, Quimby - all these are the names of real Portland sites.

In addition to people and their wonderful lifestyle, there are also ordinary sights in the city. First on the list is a maze bookstore Powell's Books, at the entrance to which the card is issued so that visitors can find a way out.

Here you can come face to face with the author of “The Runaways and Vagrants” or meet another eminent (and not that nosy) writer. Another important symbol of Portland is its headquarters and campus. Nike with a museum and a shop with bargain prices. There it is not easy to get into a mess, so it is better to write in advance and arrange a visit. Many of the sights of Portland created by nature or are a skillful fake under her craft. To begin with, the city stands either on a dormant volcano, or on a geyser. There is a rose garden - a safe place where, during World War I, varieties of roses from Europe were sheltered from shells, as well as Washington Park - an urban forest, along the paths of which you can go very far beyond Portland. In the end, the best day for the real Portland is a picnic with an overnight stay at the waterfall or on the top of the mountain. The main thing is not to forget eco-matches and eco-matras.

New Orleans

The French-Spanish New Orleans has long remained aloof from American affairs — even the disgraceful nickname of the United States, Uncle Sam, appeared in one of the city’s ports, where the New Orleans hard workers in their own way decoded the US cargo labeling. The city retained its wayward spirit after joining the Federation. Everything here does not look like a typical America - architecture, climate, smells, speech (not only do many Orleans speak French, they distort American English beyond recognition).

Historically, New Orleans was the wormhole for European culture. The first US opera, cinema, poker club, cocktail bar appeared here. Even on this list one can judge the way of life of the New Orleans, and if we recall that the city hosts the largest Mardi Gras carnival in the country, the picture will be almost complete. Yes, in New Orleans, it is legally permitted to drink and dance everywhere and day and night. New Orleans invented Twerk, not Miley Cyrus.

The city is filled with mysticism and jazz, which took root here in the first half of the XIX century. The rituals of voodoo wizards, about which it is now fashionable to make films, required musical accompaniment - when the legendary voodoo priestess Mari Laveau sang at the same time African percussions and European winds, the main music of the 20th century was born.

Without jazz, rock stars would not have recorded their best albums in New Orleans, hiding from local swamps in popularity with the company of French photo models. Another curious urban legend is associated with music. In the XIX century, a third of the population of the city died from yellow fever, and among the locals it became believed that the dead were infecting the living. For this reason, the dead were brought through the streets of New Orleans by the most intricate routes, and even under deafening jazz - so that they were disoriented and could not return home and harm someone. Almost all urban folklore is built on links with the otherworldly. This, in general, is not strange, considering that in Orleans the dead are not buried, but buried above the ground, otherwise the graves will be flooded with the first shower. Walking along the rows of coffins to the waist in the fog, you will begin to believe in ghosts, vampires and ghouls.

The most photogenic part of the city is the French Quarter, which was actually built by the Spaniards (the historic French Quarter was destroyed by a fire at the end of the 18th century). Tram carriages rage past the old manors with flower gardens, whitened by time and constant rain, there are more theaters on boulevards than shops, and benches and coffee tables are adapted so as not to spoil evening dresses. In the Garden District you can meet real southern aristocrats and celebrities, living or dead - the area consists entirely of family nests with porticoes, caryatids and crypts.

The business district was badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina - even the roof of the huge Superdome stadium did not survive. Photos of the naked frame of the arena, which became a haven for thousands of New Orleans, have become a symbol of our Pompeii today. From the new city across the lake Pontchartrain stretches bridge dam length 38 kilometers, from one end of which it is impossible to see the other. The funicular on Canal Street will help to appreciate the scenery of Mississippi in all its glory and peek through the glass behind the famous feminine curve of the river in the place where New Orleans is built. And to arrange an adventure in the style of the southern Gothic will always help reserves, plantations and swamps, which are out of town in abundance.


Providence is the city of fishermen, artists and preppi, which was smelling of the ocean, the capital of Rhode Island. Locals are famous for their ironic pessimism, which perpetuated Seth MacFarlane in the animated series "Family Guy." According to many signs of their native Quahog - this is Providence, which has changed a lot over the past 13 seasons. If in the middle of 1990 it was an ordinary seaside town, now Providence is a large art center with the best art museums and galleries in New England.

20 years ago, the mayors decided to redevelop, comparable in effect to the “Barcelona Miracle” - the embankments were restored to perspectives, removing a dozen extra bridges, ennoble the paths along the water and smashed a large Waterplay park at the confluence of three rivers. In honor of Providence, artist Barnaby Evans realized the installation in the spirit of the first settlers - to the folk music of all the diasporas that make up the population of the city, rafts with burning torches were launched along the Providence River. Since then, this is repeated every New Year: the city is plunged into twilight, and the monsoon chases through the streets the aromas of tar and burnt wood.

There are even more colonial antiquities in Providence than in Boston: in the early years many pilgrims drew to the north in a new place. The legacy here is skillfully used: it has been forbidden to build new houses on central Benefit Street for half a century in order not to disturb crowds of tourists coming to see America’s childhood. Another antique attraction is the campus of Brown University, the most prestigious Ivy League. This is the only university in the world where there are no compulsory subjects, but the list of recommended disciplines includes the history of mathematics.

It is best to walk here in the fall, when film crews come to the age-old walls of brown brick. In general, autumn is a favorite time of year in Providence, where it is customary to live in houses, not in apartments, that is why natural and domestic joys are valued. Maple syrup flows like water, in the baking of apple pies they compete in the streets, and houses are decorated with crafts and pictures of Thanksgiving.

The nail of the New England gastronomic program is, of course, any food salted in the Atlantic: fish, seafood, clams. The most common fast food in Providence is not a pizza or a burger, but a lobster roll, i.e. a lobster hot dog, but a favorite soup is a rich fish chowder that even sounds better than most American food.

On the sea, which rests here almost in any direction (although Rhode Island is not an island), residents of Providence come for freshly caught oysters. In this case, the coast may be not to eat - coastal views of Rhode Island are considered to be the most beautiful in all of the United States. In the case of Scandinavia, New England could borrow a few beacons, rocks, moss and sunsets.

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