I had a hard time deciding whether to do this post first, or the next one – 10 Things I Will Miss About New York.
I think most people who live in New York will probably relate to some of what I’m about to say. I think everyone who has lived in New York and left will definitely relate to everything I’m about to say.
Without further ado, here is what I won’t miss about living in New York City.
- The crowds. What can I say? I grew up in the corn fields of Idaho, guys. Walking through the streets of Manhattan turns me into a quick-stepping, no-motherfucking-patience-for-anyone foot motorist with a need to get out of street throngs as fast as humanly possible. I don’t begrudge anyone for being there – except for people who suddenly stop to check their cell phones in the middle of the dang sidewalk (seriously, have common sense courtesy: step out of the human traffic before getting balls deep in your phone on a public thoroughfare). It kind of starts feeling like being in a video game (one that sucks) what with all the dodging and bobbing and weaving.
- The smells. Have you ever walked through Chinatown on hot summer day? Or absentmindedly stepped into the ONE empty subway car? I rest my case.
- The cost of certain things. Okay not *everything* is mad expensive in New York. All that close quarters business makes for some decent competition when it comes to things like pizza by the slice, nail salons, Groupon options, taxi fares, and dollar stores (don’t judge – cheap packing tape and gift bags, FTW) to name a few. But things like getting to the airport ($8 on public transit, not bad if you have the time) cost at least $40 which I’ve dejectedly become numb to forking over in the name of speed and efficiency. The cost of goods is just higher here, because businesses have to subsidize their stupid-high rent costs. I don’t even bat an eye at a $10 burrito anymore (especially if that burrito is from Calexico, because it’s fucking delicious). Don’t get me started on the cost of Mexican food in general here, but here’s a hint NYC: YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG. I don’t want your $26 enchilada plate, pshhh.
- The noise. See number one about growing up in the corn fields – corn fields are pretty quiet, save the occasional tractor. My lucky country bumpkin ass grew up to the background sounds of crickets at night, distant train whistles, chirping birds, and wind through the oak tree leaves. I’ve lived in other cities before (Boston, Barcelona) and got used to the new ambient noise and figured NYC would be the same. We live in Red Hook, and as far as Brooklyn neighborhoods go it’s chill AF. And yet, thanks to the industrial spirit that is still alive and well here (and IKEA and Fairway and several construction projects nearby), the soundtrack of my sanctuary on Van Brunt Street consists of bus air breaks about every 10 minutes (gotta love the convenience of that bus stop but what an awful sound to wake up to), huge transfer trucks roaring up the road in first gear every day starting at 5am, a smattering of horn honking that happens whenever one of said trucks double parks in front of the bagel shop across the street for 15 minutes at a time, random car alarms at all hours (do they ever actually prevent theft?!) and people YELL TALKING as they stagger out of the restaurant across the street late at night or enjoy a dramatic relationship spat on the sidewalk. As someone who wants to stab you if I can hear you chewing (it’s a Thing, it’s called misophonia, look it up), I consider myself extra sensitive to noises I don’t like. The conclusion here? I’m basically a moron for living in NYC. I take full responsibility for this.
- Random meltdowns with strangers. You haven’t lived in New York until you’ve either witnessed or participated in a screaming match between people. Travis has had a couple of these – I’m too chicken to go whole hog at people mainly because you just never know who you’re dealing with. I did recently see a woman in line at Subway go ham on the sandwich maker for not putting cheese on her toasted sandwich, even though she definitely didn’t ask for cheese to begin with. I know because I was standing right next to her when she ordered. She lost it and screamed at the woman for not listening and stormed out the door. What an asshole! I get it, assholes are everywhere but they’re more concentrated in New York – being an asshole is almost a survival skill here.
- The concrete jungle. Blaming this on my rural roots again – the city skyline just doesn’t make me swoon. It’s impressive, no doubt, but I’ll take a sunset over mountains or water or prairie or foothills or desert any day.
- The hustle. People come here to WERK. It’s amazing – New York has the most driven, ambitious, talented humans. I respect that – but it’s non-stop. It electrifies the air – both in a good and exhausting way. If you’re not always on, you’re falling behind and missing out. I’m 35 now so I’m getting too old for that crap – pass me a chill pill and put me out to pasture.
- The weather. Summer has been my lifelong favorite season…until New York. The blazing heat of summer on top of humidity on top of the buildings that radiate more heat on top of the public pool that is so close but always closed because someone took a dump in it (sorry, it’s called a “fecal incident”) on top of no moving breezes makes me want to just live underground for two months. There’s no escaping it, which is why the smart NYC natives leave the city for much more pleasant environs (read: The Hamptons, upstate, etc) until fall hits. Then it’s winter and that humidity is no. Fucking. Joke. My experience with snow all my life is that at least you can get out in your snowsuit and play in it – we’ve had one or two storms like that here in NYC since I’ve lived here but for the most part? Snow fall turns into a huge white, then eventually brown, mess. It’s not magic. It’s a pain in the ass that you can’t sled on or ski down.
- The traffic. Oh man. Just, no. The BQE? Come on. The bottom line with bridges is they are all just synonyms for bottleneck. Check out NYC traffic on Google Maps on a Friday at around 5pm in the summertime to see what I mean. The map looks like its bleeding profusely and should get to the ER, stat.
- The lack of time. There’s never enough time – I’m convinced that the days have fewer hours in NYC – between work and bars and restaurants and shows and friends and hobbies and errands and anything else in between I just always feel like I could use a few extra hours every day to get life done. On one hand, I think it means I must be taking advantage of at least some of what New York has to offer, but on the other, I’m not sure that is how I want to feel all the time – it’s physically and mentally exhausting.
Also, turns out writing an opus about leaving New York is A Thing, so I’ll be reading Goodbye to All That – Writers on Loving and Leaving New York.
Who else has lived in New York City and left? What don’t you miss?