Traveller letters: New York's very dirty secret


If New York is the city that never sleeps, it's also the city that never cleans. After five glorious days there I can confirm that the place that never sleeps is also the place that never gets cleaned.

Every week the cars have to move away from the curb so the streets can be cleaned, but this manoeuvre does not include removing the piles of rubbish that stay stacked on the pavements or include picking up the trash that is lying around.

Many residents put the dog litter into a plastic bag, and then drop the bag on the sidewalk with all the other rubbish. It is extraordinary that the New Yorkers walk on and around all their rubbish.

New York really could do with a clean.

Dr Jan Naughton, Wahroonga, NSW


Katrina Lobley's article, "Bush tucker: Ready to rock" (Traveller, July 22),  captured the bush tucker talk that had us all listening intently and smelling the herbs on a recent visit to Ayers Rock Resort.

It was a great experience. Everyone was friendly and efficient, the place had a gentle buzz and ran smoothly.

My highlight was the Academy Cafe in the town square (and at Ayers Rock airport). Packed most of the time, queues cleared quickly, and my flat white was always excellent.

It was a tribute to the work of the National Indigenous Training Academy, William Angliss Institute and Charles Darwin University.


Deborah Singerman, Ashfield, NSW


Traveller letters used to be my first stop when opening Saturday's Traveller. Many times I have picked up valuable tips on places to go, ways to get there and tips for the unwary.  Lately it seems there has developed an imbalance with the rants vastly outnumbering the raves. 

Are so few travellers thrilled or even pleasantly surprised by anything? Or is it only the disgruntled that find time to write?

Please ravers, write in.

Kate Boothby, Randwick, NSW


The letter of the week "Poorly coached" (Traveller letters, July 15) unfairly blames Rail Europe for the problem and not SNCF, which configure the trains. When Rail Europe booked the tickets the train configuration must have included the said coach, otherwise the booking could not have been made.

A similar experience occurred to our party of four at King's Cross London Station when heading to Edinburgh and we went to find our seats in Coach K. It turned out Coach K had become a virtual coach by being pulled from the train. There was a partially helpful notice that advised this and that the reserved Coach K seats had been reallocated to other carriages but not which seats where.

George Tucker, Toowoomba, QLD


What arrogance from Halina Zobel (Traveller letters, July 15) in writing "don't criticise me for clogging everyone else's locker space".

If anything needs wheels, it should be in the hold, not the cabin. I have had my luggage lost only once, but it did reveal the futility of modern airports: crammed with overpriced outlets selling useless items, and not traveller essentials such as toothpaste and a toothbrush.

Roderick B. Smith, Surrey Hills, VIC

I have sympathy for Halina Zobel's problem with delayed and lost luggage, thus necessitating her to rely on carry-on luggage for any further flights.

But just imagine the situation if everyone took this precaution as a form of insurance. I hate it when I board a domestic flight and find other passengers have filled my overhead allocated space and all surrounding space in the overhead compartments.

I have flown for hours with my soft pack at my feet because even the flight attendants had run out of storage space on the plane.

Lance Sterling, Burwood, VIC

I have a small backpack. In it are my meds, small electronic items, a jumper and copies of travel paperwork. Weight is three kilograms, half of the seven kilograms for carry-on luggage. It slots neatly under the seat in front.

We all suffer the same risk of losing our luggage. It's a risk that you take when flying, particularly overseas where you have connecting flights, often with a different airline (code share).

In 35 years of international travel only once has our luggage gone astray. United had it delivered to our home two hours from Melbourne the following day.

The aircraft has a weight limit. It also has finite volumetric capacity, including the overhead bins, which also have a safe working limit with respect to how much stuff can be crammed into them.

Martin Taylor, Traralgon, VIC


I wonder why Malcolm Hunt (Traveller letters, July 22) thinks the majority of passengers are happy to sit in darkness with the window shades down during a daytime flight?

On a long-haul flight, there is plenty of night travel time when people may wish to try and sleep, but people do book window seats so they may look below when able to during the day time.

As for inferring you may end up in trouble with authorities upon landing if you don't comply with a request by stewards, surely commonsense would prevail in a reasonable discussion to keep the shades up.

Sue Lion, Mona Vale, NSW

I disagree with Malcolm Hunt. You are helping fellow passengers by keeping blinds up during the day.  As all experienced long-distance travellers know, to reduce jet lag you need to get your body clock on your destination's time zone as soon as possible. It's counterproductive to sleep during the day and arrive at night wide awake.  

According to airline friends, asking passengers to keep blinds down and sit in darkness is a cost-saving measure.  Sleeping passengers don't require refreshments or service! Oxygen levels are also lessened to induce drowsiness. Fourteen hours in darkness is unacceptable.  We are the paying customers! Seize the day – blinds up!  (If you want to sleep, bring a mask.)

Margaret Nash, Randwick, NSW


While in agreement with being a good reference for train travel – Germans being Germans the website (easily changed to English from the drop down menu) is excellent and convenient for searching intercity trains across Europe.

Daniel O'Keefe, Five Dock, NSW


Bruce Laing, in his letter about buying suitcases from op shops (Traveller letters, July 15) should be applauded for solving our first-world problems.

I agree completely with his ethos and would add the advice to pack carefully, and if your bits break, it's your problem.

Di McWilliam, Miranda, NSW

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