Saturday, March 2, 2013

I Love/Hate/Heart NY

If there's one thing New Yorkers love doing more than bragging about New York, It's complaining about New York. It's late, I feel like indulging. I may update this later as things occur to me. Gives me a place to put all these things.

The case against New York: 

I pay about as much rent as my brother pays for his monthly mortgage payment. He lives in a two-story house outside of Chicago. I live in an essentially unheated walk-up one-bedroom apartment, maybe 400 sq ft, no appliances, no onsite anything, in a not-very-nice area of town.

Buying groceries costs more here than dining out does in other cities. My girlfriend paid $5 for a dozen eggs last week. A store two blocks from my apartment advertises milk prices the same way most places advertise gasoline, with exchangeable numbers. To add gastronomic insult to financial injury, produce in normal grocery stores is rarely any good.

Despite making well under the national average  for annual income, I have to pay so much in taxes every year that I have to send checks five times a year to not only the federal and state governments, but also the city government.

I miss nature. When I say "I miss nature," to people here, they tell me to go to Central Park. At which point I explain the phrase "man-made" to them, and their eyes glaze over.

Central and Prospect Parks aside, parks are so sad that what amount to traffic islands are considered city parks. I'm not kidding. They occasionally have a shrub and a bench near the parks dept sign.

Marked city bike paths often include cobblestones, and sometimes include stairs.

The weather is really unpleasant six months out of the year.

Because everyone thinks the city has everything, nobody ever leaves. Anyone from New York who meets someone who lives elsewhere thinks that they must be, on some level, joking.

Other cities have parking strips, planter boxes, and other nice things on the side of the sidewalk. In New York, because there are no alleyways (and therefore no dumpsters), all garbage is piled out onto the sidewalk. And it stinks-- while the rest of the country moved on to separate not just recyclables but also food waste, New York still hasn't quite figured out the recycling part. They're trying. Sorta.

The case for New York:

I'll almost never want or need to drive a car as long as I'm in the city. The subway is so good that we come to any given station without looking at a train schedule ever, and whine if a train doesn't show up within five minutes.

I spent last weekend in an on-site reading of Checkov's Three Sisters, after which I saw Eddie Izzard from the third row in a small club in the lower east side, and the next day I did a film shoot with a dramatic improv crew. Wednesday I got an email offering me tickets to see two prominent TV actors perform in a production of Much Ado About Nothing. I went to work, finished, and saw the show that night.

Every Tuesday I spend my evenings with 60-80 amazingly talented actors performing Shakespeare in basement, and then go en-masse to a bar afterwards where the manager likes to give me free drinks while I'm at the free-play pool table. Thursdays I have a couchsurfing meetup I can go to where I can and do meet about sixty people from literally all over the world.

You never have to meet or talk to a boring person ever again. Almost everyone you meet is from somewhere cool and is doing something cool, and has awesome stories.

I get paid enough per hour to help rich kids with their homework for about ten to fifteen hours a week (not counting prep and transport, which makes it closer to 30 but still) that I can pay rent referenced above and have some left over.

If it exists in any city and can be done in a city, I just need to use my phone to find out how I can get to the place it can be done in less than an hour. Doesn't matter what it is. Similarly, anything that tours anywhere comes here. If it doesn't, it's probably not interesting enough for us to want to see it anyway.

All of your friends and family from out of town love the idea of visiting you. Some even love visiting you.


So in other words, NY is kind of a horrible, expensive place to live, full of awesome people doing awesome things.

I guess I'll take it for now.

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