New York City

My first trip to New York has been interesting and rewarding. What a great part of the planet. I have had the good fortune to snowboard of Siberian Volcanoes, Surf large waves at arguably the world’s best left-handers Grajagan in Indonesia and restaurants in Fiji, swim with Orcas and get up close and personal with Wandering and Royal albatross in New Zealand’s subantarctic islands, but going to see Billy Elliot the musical live on Broadway is right up there. What a fabulous experience and emotional trip!! Talk about living your dream, Billy Elliot doing ballet in a coal mining town.. great acting, singing and dancing … I loved it…

Having spent some time working at San Francisco General Hospital a number of years ago, I’m used to the hustle of a large US city. But to date had neglected New York… probably as there was no surfing, snowboarding or diving.

It has been a blast to bring my 16-year-old daughter on tour and show her the sights. The bustle of Manhattan, the drawl of a Brooklyn accent and the buzz of Harlem.. her dream is to be a professional musician so she has been busking in Washington square and trying out a new guitar in LA

Yesterday we took a Staten Island Ferry and saw the Statue of Liberty. Very cool. As we were cruising past a local asked me the legal drinking age in New Zealand. Kind of ironic going past the Statue of Liberty…In the USA the legal drinking age is 21 which probably explains why I have not seen any drunken teenagers on the streets in the USA. Nor drunken adults either.. The presence of heavily armed Police at many street corners is also a pretty good deterrent as well. Seems the liberty is controlled… which is good.

Compare that to the drunken mess that is downtown Auckland and the alcohol carnage I see on Friday and Saturday nights in Auckland City Hospital Emergency Department when working shifts. Our Kiwi attitude to alcohol and drunkenness is quite frankly a national disgrace. I’m not moaning, it’s a fact. I often hear bandied about that if we tighten our laws around alcohol especially around the Rugby World Cup, we will be the laughing stock of the world as Auckland needs to be a global city. I think we are already a laughing stock.

When last in San Francisco at a psychology conference a couple of years ago, you couldn’t buy a drink after 1 am.

I have been in London, Edinburgh, Tokyo, Singapore and Hong Kong and even Birmingham, speaking recently and nowhere looked like downtown Queen St or Courtenay Place on a Friday night. For those wanting proof, come and sit in the waiting room of one of our hospitals at 2 am. It’s not pretty.

On the way to New York, I had a week at an Emergency Medicine Conference in Hawaii run by the UC Davis Emergency Department. There was much talk of alcohol abuse, but not so much in teenagers as it’s not as available. They seemed to have worked out that filling an already unstable changing and emotionally charged teenage brain with grog is not a good idea.

On the flip side, the US has liberal gun laws. Guess what? They have liberal amounts of gunshot wounds in their emergency departments. In a few months as an Intern at San Francisco, I saw dozens of gunshot wounds. In 20 years of working in New Zealand emergency departments, I think I have seen only a couple of gunshot wounds.

Guns and alcohol, not a good idea!!! Too much Liberty can be a bad thing and the Statue reminded me of that.

Yesterday, I biked Central Park in New York, then back to the sanctuary of the Hilton in Times Square to write another chapter in my new book, Emotional Fitness. Plenty of examples to draw on from this trip from observation and experience.

It has been a great father-daughter trip to New York. Yesterday had breakfast with Anna Gestro of KEA (Kiwis Expatriates Abroad). What a cool concept and great organisation. More on that to come. Until next time – Dr. Tom signing off from the Big Apple. We will be back.

By | 2017-05-07T15:25:22+00:00 August 6th, 2011|Blog|0 Comments

Leave A Comment