Living in New York City: The Realness
So you wanna live in NYC.
New York City! The Big Apple! The concrete jungle! Home of Jay-Z, Donald Trump, and 8.5 million other people who may or may not be famous. Global destination for fashion, music, and street meat. Hot tourist spot for humans and lizard people the world over. Great place to take Instagram photos of insane milkshakes and stand in line for Cronuts. But also, it's where I live! And have lived since 2004. (Please, hold your applause.)
Most people who live in New York (who are not all necessarily "New Yorkers," an important distinction that must be earned) will tell you they have a love/hate relationship with this city, and I am no different. Every year around the time of my lease renewal I have an absolute panic attack and ask myself, "WHAT AM I DOING." What am I doing? Apart from spending a grotesque amount of money on my rent, and doing my absolute best to consume a near-freakish amount of ice cream cones? Let's discuss.
I have to have this annual conversation with myself where I debate the pros and cons of continuing on here vs leaving and going pretty much anywhere else in the country, and now, as a 12-year veteran (holy fuck where does the time go??), I'd like to share that insane internal dialogue with all you fine people.
• Seamless. For anyone who doesn't know, Seamless is a website where you can order food to be delivered to your door at almost any hour, depending on the restaurants near you. Seamless is wonderful, and it will ruin you.
• The subway. It runs 24 hours, only costs $2.75 per ride, and can get you pretty much anywhere in the city faster than a taxi.
• The weather. In spring and autumn. So beautiful!
• The people. There are loads of awesome and diverse people here - many of them attractive, creative, ambitious, interesting, etc. and you will enjoy them and learn a lot from talking to them.
• There's lots to do. There is always something on - live music, comedy, movies, events, acrobatic burlesque, macaroni-and-cheese-making classes, and so on.
• Direct flights. If you fly a lot, or even if you don't, you'll appreciate that you can get direct flights to most places from one of NYC's 3 area airports. Fuck layovers.
• Bars. They're open til 4am, and there are so many of them. Bars with pinball! Bars with fancy cocktails! Bars with bacon on a stick! It's all here and it's all got booze and when you're plastered at 4am you can take the handy subway I mentioned earlier and not even think about driving.
• Uber, and taxis. Not the most economical option, but nice to have after a long night out playing pinball/drinking fancy cocktails/eating bacon on a stick. What I'm saying is, you don't need a car.
• Proximity to other good stuff. There are beaches, forests, hiking trails, and even other cities within 3 hours of NYC central, much of it accessible without a car.
• Things. Materialistic, but, you can buy just about anything you could ever need or want somewhere in New York City, including Home Alone 2 trading cards (!!!).
• Amazon Prime. And if you can't buy it here, Amazon will deliver most things in 24-48 hours.
• You're cool just for living here. It's true! You're better than all other Americans and everyone will respect you more and think you know celebrities and all your stories are interesting and you will never get old or uncool.
• If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. Not just because it's competitive and a global hub for, well, everything, but because you've endured all the things on the CONS list, making you pretty much superhuman.
• The rent. If you don't live here, you just won't understand. You live to work so you can earn enough money to continue to live in your closet-sized "bedroom" that has no window in your small shitty "apartment" that may very well have a shower in the kitchen. I've actually seen it. Your friends have mortgages that are a fraction of your rent.
• The subway. Sometimes trains only show up every half hour, or just stop running at all, with no warning. It's $2.75 per ride. Sometimes people pee there or sleep or just generally act a fool.
• The weather. In winter and summer. You'll die!!!
• The people. There are too many, and some of them really suck! Every. Thing. Is. Crowded. There are always lines. I can't believe more of us aren't homicidal maniacs.
• There's lots to do. AH GOD WHAT DO I DO IT'S SO OVERWHELMING I CANNOT CHOOSE FOMO.
• Street harassment. Piggybacking off of the above - in NYC you spend a lot of time walking outside and thus are subject to being catcalled, groped, winked at, etc. Especially if you're a woman (how dare you!!)
• Rats. Gross.
• Roaches. Unsubscribe.
• The smell. Sometimes it fucking stinks.
• Noise. Sirens and subways and did I mention just so many people?
• Green spaces hard to come by. Yeah I know Central Park is massive, it's also an hour from my house and I don't want to get run over by a speed cyclist. Most of us would kill a man for a backyard and a grill.
• Basic tasks are hard. Laundry. Buying and hauling groceries. Parking. All menial bullshit things that should occupy a short amount of time but often become Sisyphean.
• It's a grind. Hustle, bitch, in all ways, at all times. If you're strolling down the sidewalk, you're doing it wrong, and also I hate you.
• You'll become disgruntled. That should be obvious by now.
So as you can see, the PROS list is longer than the CONS list. Glad to see it typed out like this, confirming I've made the right decision, yet again. And truly, there are many more PROS that I haven't added to the list, mostly to keep it succinct and manageable, but among those pros, I'd add: The Strand, bagels, thai food, beer bars and breweries, Chinatown, Yelp, museums, street art, Classpass, the fact that most of my friends live here, and more.
In conclusion, New York is a city of extremes. Thank you.