So, last weekend I took a bite (or perhaps just a nibble) out of the Big Apple. And it tasted a little bitter. Oh God everybody is going to hate me for this post.
WHAT I LOVE:
Lemme explain. I love aspects of New York. The bravery of the pigeons, the determination of the people, the taste of late night sopressata pizza delivered right to your door. The exhilaration of swimming in the Atlantic in the morning and seeing Van Gogh's "Starry Night" at The Met by afternoon, and the sound of all the different accents and languages you hear along the journey. This city offers a lot. However, it takes away a lot, too.
WHAT I LOATHE:
IT'S F$%@&$ING EXPENSIVE.
First of all, New York STEALS your money like a train robber. I knew this before. This wasn't my first rodeo. But Even trying to do NYC on the cheap (we had street food and $2 beer; rode the subway; and spent the days swimming at Rockaway, watching free comedy or doing karaoke) I still managed to go over my trip budget by about...oh....twice what I intended to pay. I'll be eating beans and stolen peanut butter from my office all week to make up for this.
IT'S OBSESSED WITH ITSELF.
There is something awe inspiring about being in a city that seems to have a mind of its own. NY's personality overflows so much that you are interacting with the city no matter what you are doing. Walking alone. Riding in a cab. Talking to a stranger. Knitting in the park. It all feels like something more when you're doing it in New York. That feeling is both incredible and exhausting. When you are in New York, you sense you are in the center of the everything. And that is Heidi Klum attractive. Ian Somerhalder attractive. That rando brunette from the "Blurred Lines" video attractive.
Here's the thing though. It's also a lie. And furthermore, it's a lie New Yorkers love to perpetrate because if New York isn't THE MOST wonderful of all the places, why put up with it? The winters are brutal! You get world class everything, but you live in a dorm room. You get the subway, but you don't get a car. You spend every last dime you have to stay. There's no reason to do it unless you believe that it's the GREATEST. But guys, it isn't the greatest. There IS no greatest. Everywhere you live is a trade off of plusses and minuses, and from my vantage point it seems that a city built on the idea that it has to be the best or nothing at all is just a little bit arrogant for my taste.
I'm sure New Yorkers won't miss me though. They don't miss anybody--which brings me to the third point.
In New York, your senses are inundated every moment of every day. There are so many people everywhere that you simply can't care about them all. Simple self preservation in the city that never sleeps means you can't allow yourself to fret over the homeless man in a boozy sleep on the sidewalk. You simply can not think too hard of anything or anybody else while you're navigating life in this city. It's just too hard. Survival there is tough, which makes it nearly impossible to think of anybody but Number One.
And that's ok, I guess. But the less empathy you practice, ultimately the less empathy you have. There's a reason they say "leave New York before it makes you hard." It's hard to remember to focus on what really matters--from my friend's boyfriend flat refusing to go to a worship service with her family in from out of state, to my other friend's comment, "You move to New York to get smart," as if the rest of us are stupid, to the wild 60+ hour workweeks they all struggle with revealing to me a systematic lack of empathy in the workplace up there. I want to give all my friends up there all the hugs for how hard they work to make their ends meet. When the city itself can be so callus, I can't imagine how anybody leaves that place without becoming a little more callus themselves.
SO I GUESS IT'S OK.
I guess in the end, I like New York. The Subway is fab, the Indian food is decadent, and the ocean is warm in the summer. I'd take it--but I think I'll instead to leave it to those who can brave the hardships it takes to live there. The best friend I made up there was a dog though, and I sure hope he's doing great!