Open Phones: What Do You First Notice About the US?

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

crowd on brooklyn bridge (apollonia666/flickr)

A call in for "the new de Tocquevilles" -- recent immigrants, tourists, other visitors: What do you notice first about life in the US? Customs, physical features, interesting behavior, tell us what you notice that may seem normal to natives. Call 212-433-9692 or post below!

Comments [17]

steve from queens


it is not so american, what you are saying. I work for many americans and I do not even get a signed contract. An americans word it the contract. I write a contract only so we have a summary to fall back on but I never get a contract from an american and never have trouble. it is with people like IGOR who called in who come to this country with the attitude that it is ok to take advantage at ever turn. also, IGOR thinks we are naive, you know, maybe some people are just too polite to say anything. I am not one of the polite ones. I tell them, if they want to come here with that attitude, they should go back to where they come from. this is horrible that this man said what he said and it proves to me that there is more malice and self motivation in their behavior than just plain ignorance. Particularly with Eastern Europeans where I think Igor was from. I do not ever trust them with anything and now I know why - IGOR said it live on Brian Lehrer and I am not a racist - just a realist.

Jul. 02 2013 07:13 PM

ok then.

Jul. 02 2013 05:30 PM

gotta agree w steve....

i love everything about immigrants except having them as clients. step 1: agree to job and price; step 2: pay agreed to price.

For some reason this is considered "so american." sorry but i have better things to do w my time than bumping chests with a dirty suit.

Jul. 02 2013 01:32 PM

That Jew was Irving Berlin, an immigrant madly in love with his new homeland. A real patriot, he reveled in its freedom, vitality and variety--and in "God Bless America," he meant every word.

He also wrote "White Christmas."

Considered the greatest songwriter in AMerican history, we would all be much impoverished without the contributions of this Russian Jewish immigrant.

I'm surprised a caller didn't say, "the first thing I noticed was all the other immigrants, and how much they contribute."

Jul. 02 2013 12:30 PM
steve from queens

Igor, I am in business for myself and I am always very happy to work for americans but when immigrants call, I am reluctant to do the job because there is always a problem getting paid. they always try to change the terms or find some reason for not wanting to pay. that is not how americans are and what you have said make me very angry.

Jul. 02 2013 12:12 PM
steve from queens

and igor, let me ad this, it is people who think like you do and do nor respect our trust that make me wish we did not allow people like you here. we are not a dumping ground for the world to send their dihonest and corrupt people and people like you put a black mark on all immigrants. shame on you if you even know what shame is-

Jul. 02 2013 12:08 PM
steve from queens

what igor just said disgusts me about some immigrants. He thinks we are stupid and naive? know we have a great deal of personal responsibility and that is how we are raised. americans know right from wrong without having to be told by the government or religion. I hear immigrants talk openly about committing fraud against insurance companies, tax agencies, their employers, unemployment insurance and other in business deals and that you are able to get away with it is not a shame on us. we are by nature trusting and because we, in large part, would not take advantage of a situation nor would we cheat, we would not expect others to do it. I have been burned by immigrants who do not always honor deals and commitments and I have been burned by people in Europe only because I trusted them or took their word; here in america our personal responsibility and sense of shame are our moral compass and shame on people who would come here and take advantage of us that way. shame on you.

Jul. 02 2013 12:05 PM
The Truth from Becky

And the award for Most Ignorant goes to....

Wish I could get his IP address...where are the censors?

Jul. 02 2013 11:58 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

A JEW wrote "God Bless America."

Jul. 02 2013 11:56 AM
Amy from Manhattan

I'm glad the caller from Turkey found so much acceptance when he became a citizen, but I think that depends a lot on where in the US you are. He might not want to visit Maricopa County in Arizona.

Jul. 02 2013 11:56 AM
Kumru from brooklyn

profound provincialism! lack of cosmopolitanism... Given the pride of multiculturalism and diversity, lack of interest in (and often knowledge of) other parts of the globe shocked me. It is not as a hierarchical way of thinking as in European cultures (who regardless are still pretty interested and knowledgable), but still the rest of the world is just a wall paper for the exceptional americans! Is it the result of the demise of the public school education or something else I cannot tell?
It is definitely, I am telling you, as a friend, as a naturalized american very VERY provincial.

Jul. 02 2013 11:53 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

I have a simple comment to make to all immigrants who have gripes here, and that is TO GET THE HECK OUT AND GO BACK TO WHERE YOU CAME FROM! Nobody invited you, and if you are not happy, just leave. Period.

Jul. 02 2013 11:51 AM

I'm born and raise here
But people follow the rules more in Europe.
We pretend we love law and order but here everyone is looking to break the rules any chance they get. Americans think the rules never apply to them just others.
We are selfish. Maybe more than others??

Jul. 02 2013 11:49 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Well, having lived outside of the US for ten years during the 1980s, the most obvious thing coming back is (1) the TOTAL freedom and the ability to say and do whatever you want without a hint of fear, and (2) how EASY it is to survive and make a basic living here with few complexities compared to almost anyplace overseas. Living in America is EASY! FREE AND EASY, unless you have very high expectations. You live better in a housing projects on welfare than as a middle class person in many if not most countries of the world. If you can't "make it" in America, you probably can't make it anywhere.

Jul. 02 2013 11:48 AM
Mike from the Other Side of the Tunnels

Wonderful comments, Valma. I agree with you 100%.

Jul. 02 2013 11:45 AM
Mike from the Other Side of the Tunnels

I went on a trip to Korea right after graduating from high school. Born and raised here, at first I was overwhelmed by the much more homogenous nature of the population. When I came home, it was startling to see non-Asian faces. While I deeply appreciate my heritage, I love the diversity of the United States and cannot imagine living anywhere else!

Jul. 02 2013 11:43 AM
Valma from Rutherford, NJ

This will be my first 4th of July as a citizen. (I moved to the US 15 years ago without an expectation to stay, but I met a guy from New Jersey...)
The thing that US born Americans have a hard time seeing is that there is plurality in the world. Not everyone wants to live the same way we do here. There is a lack of vision regarding alternative ways of existing in the world. Traveling helps out a lot, but I suspect Americans spend short periods of time outside of the country due to short vacation time. Other people get summers off, Americans seem to think that free time is not very important.
Thinking that our country is the best in the world is ok, as long as we realize that other people think their countries and their way of being are the best in the world.

Jul. 02 2013 11:29 AM

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