Most people would describe Manhattan as a very fast-paced environment, and a lot of it is. If you haven't spent much time there, you may be under the impression that people in NYC are participating in a 24/7/365 game of 'Who Seems the Most Stressed Out & Busy'.
It's such a lovely place.
I don't personally get the impression that it's that crazy, but maybe I'm just used to it. There is certainly a lot going on, and the city is always packed with a fair number of people who are rushing to get themselves somewhere as quickly as possible, but it's more than that. There's truth to the stigma, especially in midtown, but it's not all fast-paced drama.
I like to casually stroll around Manhattan, observing the soon to be fading memories of millions of strangers fly past me. I think it's probably similar in most other major cities.
When I first started to get into photography last year, I spent some time playing with a Leica M, which really got me into shooting in manual focus mode. Besides technical reasons to shoot in manual, like when you want the camera to focus on the window, not what's through the window, there is the slowness of manual focusing that is very appealing to me. In a similar way to slowing down while on the crowded streets of New York, slowing down while taking photos is relaxing and makes me feel more involved in creating something worthwhile.
NYC is one of my favourite places to shoot in manual mode. It turns out that slowing down in 'the city that never sleeps' (that's such a bullshit phrase, by the way) is more than possible. It's actually really enjoyable, and you get a chance see a lot of interesting stuff fly by your lens.