New York

Why Growing Up In Brooklyn Was The Best

There's no Place Like Home
So I noticed that while my posts are hilarious and relatable (modesty is not in my vocabulary), they are very general. They could have been written by anyone. Aside from a few tidbits here and there, I haven’t revealed much about myself. I bet some of you don’t even know my name. And since I know you’re just keeping yourself up at night wondering what it is, I’m here to tell you: It’s Liz! And if you’re dying to know more about the lady behind this blog (don’t kid yourself, of course you are!), I’ve updated my About Me to make it a little more personal.

But wait, there’s more! Last year I went on a rant (one of my many) bitching about New York City and how it’s not as great as the media would have you believe. I still stand by that post, and could make a brand new one with all the new reasons I’ve discovered to hate the city. But it’s still very much a love/hate relationship when it comes to New York. I have a friend who grew up in Massachusetts and now lives in New York. I was bitching about New York and how it’s not that great. All he said in return was, “That’s what I’ve been saying.” I immediately wanted to bitch slap him while singing Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York.” I can talk trash about this city all I want but when someone else does, I get testy.

Because as much as I hate many things in New York (it’s dirty, way too expensive, overly-crowded), I still wouldn’t have wanted to grow up anywhere else. This may just be my annoying New York arrogance showing but I take pride in saying that I grew up in Brooklyn. I love where I’m from and feel a little badly for anyone who is from somewhere else.

So why so much Brooklyn pride from someone who has spent so much time bitching about where she lives? Glad you asked. Let me fill you in on why growing up in Brooklyn in the 90s (before a bunch of hipsters from the Midwest took over) was the best.

This was my backyard
Prospect Park Long Meadow Brooklyn
If you ever visit New York, everyone will insist that you visit Central Park. And I do agree with them. Central Park is awesome. But don’t forget its much cooler younger sister: Prospect Park. From the Zoo to the Botanical Gardens, this was by far my favorite place growing up. There was always something new to find. It was like exploring my very own Secret Garden.

Diversity
Every time I see some new Buzzfeed article telling white people what they shouldn’t say to minorities, I cringe. Is it not common knowledge that it’s rude to ask another person if you can touch their hair? Growing up my best friends were Chinese, Jewish, and Puerto Rican. I was introduced to all different races and cultures since Pre-K. It’s crazy to me to think that some people don’t meet someone outside of their own race until they reach college.

Friends

That's little Liz in the middle on the top pic and big Liz on the left in the bottom pic.

That’s little Liz in the middle on the top pic and big Liz on the left in the bottom pic.

When people brag about having the same best friend since college or even high school, I can’t help but get a little hipster. It’s cute but I’ve had the same best friends since Kindergarten. Yes, friendships aren’t measured in time and I’ve met some wonderful people since then, but there is something about being friends with the same person since before you were able to fully read. You know all of each other’s secrets cause you were there for them. You’re close with their family. Some people aren’t lucky to ever find a friend that they truly connect with. I was lucky to find two at the ripe old age of five! And while we’re all grown up now and have busy lives, we’re still best friends. I guess we just do friendship better in the BK.

Independence
I had a lot of independence growing up. Part of it may have been the decade. Parents just don’t let their kids play outside now like they did in the nineties. I was always playing outside. The schoolyard was the place to be. And I can’t even remember exactly when I took the train for the first time by myself but I had to be at least 10.

Field Trips
When you live in such a culturally diverse city, it’s natural that your class field trips are going to be awesome, and my trips in elementary and junior high did not disappoint. There were farms, museums, and science centers. I even got to see my first Broadway show for the senior class trip when I graduated elementary school. It was Cats!

FOOD!
It’s no secret that I love. It’s one of my favorite things in the world. And growing up in Brooklyn I was introduced to some really great food at a young age. Whether it’s a sicilian slice at Spumoni Gardens or cheese fries at Roll N Roaster, plenty of the places I grew up loving are still there today. That’s a pretty great feat when taking into consideration that so much of my borough has changed in the last ten years or so. Eating a home cooked meal was even better, whether it was Italian at home, or Chinese or Spanish at a friend’s house.

So now that I’m done bragging about my hometown, it’s your turn. What’s so great about where you grew up?

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New York, I Love You?

 

Don't let this image fool you. New York isn't nearly as glamourous as it seems.

Don’t let this image fool you. New York isn’t nearly as glamourous as it seems.

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.