I was born and raised in New York and a large majority of the time I hate this city. Overall it’s a life-sucking, dirty city. Sure it has its good parts. I get it. I really do get why so many people want to visit or move here. I often wish I could view the city as an outsider. Even now I find myself getting overwhelmed by the beauty of the skyline. But then it’s time to pay rent or I have to buy something and the wonderment quickly fades away.
Holy Hell is New York an expensive place! Like really expensive! People joke about it but it’s true. Whenever I travel to other cities, I’m amazed at the prices of things. You mean I can get a beer for three bucks on a Saturday night? Even the shittiest bar doesn’t offer that deal. (You can possibly get a can of PBR for that price but that’s about it.)
And more than anything else, New York is really gross. There may be dirtier cities but I have yet to visit one. New York may have a bunch of delicious restaurants, cool bars, museums, etc. but this city also has an abundance of litter, rats, roaches, and dirt. Every time you read an article about how New York City is the greatest place on earth, just know that somewhere there is a native New Yorker scoffing at it!
One of the things you’ll always hear from people trying to wax poetically about New York is the famous statement: “Only in New York.” Well, I actually agree with that. There are plenty of times I’ve come across things in this city and thought, “Seriously, only in New York fucking City* would I have to see this shit.”
Maybe one day when I’m in a better mood, I’ll share some nice things about New York. Because again, I get it! Don’t let my love/hate relationship fool you. New York is a place that everyone should visit at least once in their life if they can. But today is not that day! So now I am going to present you with some of the real “Only in New York” shit I’ve seen these past 28 years of living here.
- A mouse running under the table at a bar/restaurant where people were eating food. Thankfully I was not actually eating food. (Not surprisingly I found out that the place was closed down a few months after this event.)
- A giant rat running at me when I was walking in the subway. (Rats are inevitable in NYC, especially when you’re in the subway. But usually they are contained on the train tracks.)
- A lady stopping to squat, taking a dump right in front of a store on Fifth Avenue, getting back up once she was done, and walking away. (I was strolling along 5th Ave. with my mother and grandmother at the time so that made it extra special.)
- A homeless lady violently masturbating in Union Square.
- When I was walking down the stairs to catch the train, there was a man walking up the stairs in a trench coat. The trench coat starts to sway open revealing his entire naked body to the world. (I’d like to note that I have seen this same exact streaker TWICE. Aren’t I just lucky?)
- A drunk man puking in the middle of a crowded train during rush hour on a Tuesday.
It truly is the greatest city in the world!
*Fun Fact: New York fucking City is the unofficial official name for NYC.
I understand where you’re coming from. I think a part of it is “the grass is always greener on the other side” syndrome. I have a few friends that relocated from Miami to New York (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Long Island). Initially, they wanted to get out of this Miami bubble we have down here. Now, they are all constantly reminiscing on sunny beach days, nice and clean supermarkets, and access to the best Cuban food lol. As for me, I’ve visited NY about 3 times and love it. I still want to experience living there. I think I’ll always want to come back down south but would like my dose of being a NY resident.
I definitely agree. I’m sure that once I finally leave New York I’ll miss it fiercely. But maybe that’s what I need. I need to leave New York, even for a bit, to start to really appreciate it again.
Last time I was in NYC I was totally swept up in the glamor and buzz and people-watching. But I also thought I saw a raccoon in the subway, which my NYC friend informed me was a rat, and it was terrifying. How did it get that huge? I don’t know what I would have done if it was walking toward me…
Haha, yea the rats are humungous. I don’t know how it happens but it terrifies me!
Haha this cracked me up! NYC is actually one of my favorite places to visit (I was just there 2 weeks ago), but I would NEVER want to live there for many of these reasons. But alas, it’s the home of Broadway, so this musical theatre fan will continue to make the trip often.
Yea New York definitely has a lot great things to offer as long as you can ignore all the dirt and garbage.
So I’ve always romanticized about NYC (Blame it on most hollywood chick flicks) and when my parents visited from India I made sure it was on our itinerary. We were sitting on a bench by the road opposite empire state building waiting for our pick-up. This weird lady on the phone hangs up and starts hurling abuses at my mother about how we’ve been following her for years and she had just reported us and she’s gonna make sure we end up in jail. My mom started getting up and she yells at her asking her not to move or she’ll shoot us. My mom starts looking at me helplessly. There were people all around us but you know how its in New york, nobody cares! I asked my mom not to make any sudden movements and we moved away while she wasn’t looking. Broke my bubble, let me tell you!
Oh my goodness, that’s horrible. And very scary. I am not surprised the people around you did nothing. New Yorkers are so in their own world all the time they don’t pay enough attention to the world around them. I do hope that the rest of your New York trip was nice.
Well it was and it wasn’t. All the touristy spots were nice enough but when I sat down at the times square to watch New York minutes zoom by, I felt nothing from the famous city. I felt duped somehow although I’d rather blame the hype and hoopla than the city. My favorite part was the skyline at night! 🙂 Congratulations on getting nominated for the Liebster award! Your writing is so honest!
Great read! Reblogged it 🙂 Nice to see a post about a city which isn’t about how much someone loves its, but a more realistic account of the complex relationships we have with our urban homes.
I wrote a very similar post about London, check it out for comparison if you want to, I’d love to hear your thoughts. It seems we complain about and love the same things.
I just read your piece. It’s great! I’ve never been to London but it’s one of the number one places I want to visit. It seems like such a great city but even the greatest cities have problems when you’re actually living there, not visiting.
Thanks for reading my piece, glad you liked it and hopefully it offered you some sense of comradery from a fellow disaffected urbanite. London like any city, you have to learn to love, it’s a skill that needs to be developed. I’ve always romanticised New York myself, so it’s good to know that grass isn’t always greener (except London is in England, so the grass literally is greener :p)
Reblogged this on The Spice Rack and commented:
A funny, honest and insightful post about NYC. Nice comparative piece to my London post. It seems global cities have in common with each other than their respective countries.
Have you heard of the song New York I Love You by LCD Soundsystem? 😀
OMG. I hadn’t heard of it before but I just checked it and I love it. I can totally relate! 🙂
You should check out this book of essays written by writers who chose to leave New York:
Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll definitely have to check it out.
lol @ violently masturbating in union square. That’s awesome. I live in Chicago now, but I’m not originally from here. I was in love with the city as a tourist and now that I live here, I can’t afford to enjoy it. I spend most of my time grumbling under my breath about the saxophonist hustler on the corner, the assassin taxi drivers, etc. The other part of my time is spent convincing myself that it will get better once I become financially stable…something that I can’t even visualize anymore. 🙂
Ah, I love Chicago. It’s been one of the only few cities that I could really imagine living in besides New York. But I’m sure if I actually ever lived there, I’d eventually start to hate it. It seems a lot like New York, just smaller and cleaner.
You hit it on the nail. and yes you would lol!!