How to explain New York City to an outsider

A few weeks ago I said something glib to my wife. It was after an awkward and unsuccessful experience trying to explain to a young teenager from the suburbs why New York City has so many disturbing elements.

I said to my wife, “Everything in New York can be explained by it’s disgusting or it’s crazy.”

Commuters during rush hour (or any other time) – we explain those as “it’s crazy.”

The way there is always something dripping on you no matter where you go – we explain that by “it’s disgusting.”

etc, etc…

This evening a rat ran across my wife’s sandal. Crazy and disgusting.