New York Punches you in the Face
New York Punches you in the Face

I’ve spent a few months in New York somewhat recently, and lately I’ve heard a lot of talk about it. There seems to be a romantic notion of the big city, and every starry eyed young something or other is thinking about heading down there one of these days and really “experiencing” life. Well having been there and getting around and mingling for a few months, gave me a little bit better perspective than someone who just visited. It also puts me a step above people who have actually lived there for longer because once you fall into the NYC style of living it tends to change your viewpoints, so consider me an interpreter for the things that are Right and Wrong about New York, for people who have never been. Please keep in mind that I’m the absolute farthest thing from an expert (a wrongx-pert) but I get to share my experiences, because NOT YOUR BLOG BITCH!

Wrong: Fucking Cockroaches

Yes you’ve all heard stories and seen Joes Apartment, but in reality there are plenty of apartments in New York that are infested with cockroaches. I don’t mean in the pleasant way that you get ants back at home, where you lay down a line of salt or call some exterminator with his sissy bug-gun. I mean they’re here to stay, permanent godforsaken cockroach infestations that are so deeply mired in some parts that its simply a way of life. On the upside, they seem to have a balance with humanity, for instance when I’d walk into the kitchen I’d turn on the light BEFORE going inside, giving them time to scatter and hide so I could go in and pretend I didn’t have cockroaches, see? Problem solved.

Right: Everything Delivered

Everything can be delivered and I mean everything. Sure you can order Chinese, pizza, steak, sushi all to your door at 3 in the morning. But you know what else you can get delivered? McDonalds. Yes, I’m not fucking kidding. I don’t even LIKE McDonalds and I must have had them delivered two or three times because hey, you can. Not to mention that every conceivable food you could possibly want is both open in restaurants and delivery at any time of day or night. Feel like Brazilian? Thai? Get it to your door in 30 minutes by a sad faced Asian delivery boy and Enjoy!

Wrong: Homeless / Crazies

Now every equal rights group can jump down my throat here, but I’m from California, where we tend to breed a gentler and kinder hobo. Hippie kids and down on their luck war veterans are in both places, but let me walk you through a typical encounter in two scenarios. (Both true stories)

Streets of San Francisco – A man walks down the street on his way to work

Filthy Hobo: “Excuse me sir, can you spare some change?”

Upstanding Citizen: “Sorry I don’t have any”

Filthy Hobo: “Ok, god bless”

Streets of New York – A man walks down the street on his way to work


Upstanding Citizen: aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

The homeless in New York have to break through the patina of complete focus that most New Yorkers seems to share, so they have to be ‘extra crazy’ and very loud and in your face to get your attention and most of the time they don’t get it anyway, so be on the lookout sometimes they bond into an akira-like super Hobo and crush Wall Street Lawyers.

Right: Culture / Night Life

Now that we’ve determined that you can be fat and lazy and order every kind of food to your door, there’s the little matter of walking out of it. To what? ANYTHING you could POSSIBLY want. New York is famous for every kind of club, disco, restaurant, fetish bar, sports bar, art gallery, museum, library, bookstore, movie theatre, dance studio, broadway musical on the planet. Want to shop? Gotcha. Want to Eat? No problem. Want to see breathtaking art and beauty? Okey dokey. Want to see some trees and greenery? Go to Central Park or go fuck yourself and you better hope its not winter.

Wrong: The Weather

This seems to be overlooked, you ever notice that half the movies about New York show it covered in snow and the other half show it as this bright sunny place? Well its neither. Every movie you’ve ever seen takes place on the two perfect and polaropposite days of the year that the weather isn’t shitting on you. In the dead of Winter it gets to TWENTY below zero. You might be like me, from California, or one of those other 2 or 3 states that don’t suck ass, and think to yourself, that’s not so bad. Because you’ve never experienced this whole “Below Zero” phenomenon. I’ll tell you right now, that when the temperature is a negative number, things change. Your face goes numb, your 23 layers of clothes count for shit and oh hey, you’re snow blind and fighting against gale-force winds. But then there’s summer, where the muggy hot shit-pool that is the east coast drifts upward to coalesce in New York making breathing as much fun as using your dirtiest gym sock as a gas mask in a steam room.

Right: Drive / Amibition / Fame

There’s so much going on in New York and so many interesting people that if you can break through the tough shell of the native New Yorker you can meet amazing and fascinating people. But if you have trouble meeting people here you might as well start punching yourself in the face and save the trouble of having New York do it for you. Its a tough crowd, but its an amazing crowd. There’s artists, actors, musicians, directors, singers, producers, the home of MTV, Rolling Stone, Comedy Central, and every crappy show that plays at night hosted by some guy who used to be funny. They’re all here. You will meet people with more drive and ambition and hope and fame than you can ever hope to achieve (yes YOU). You gotta play hard to keep up but it could be worth it.

Wrong: Money, The lack thereof.

If I think to myself (in overpriced California) that I would like to get a new apartment, or move, that I could simply save up a deposit and look around and find something in an area I like and go for it. In New York you pay in multiples of what you pay anywhere else. I lived in a cockroach infested shithole, where the elevator was shut down because it was a murder site, and the rent was 2500 a month. Not pesos my friend. Its not unusual to find people working 3 jobs and living in a dive trying to jump start their career as well. Unless you have an ASSLOAD of money saved up, and you’re either willing to work hard or have a job already you will not survive long. Sure there’s rooms for rent and deals to be had, but keep in mind you’re still working on a much bigger scale for a much smaller payoff than you’re used to. New York is one of the top 3 most expensive places in the world to live. Once you get out of Manhattan it gets a lot better, but then you’re scorned as weak and you will be preyed upon by the stoic and deadly New Yorker.

Well that’s my list of whats right and wrong in New York. Its got enough bad to scare anyone away and enough to good to attract anyone who’s a dreamer. But dreamers get that beaten out of them pretty quick. Still, if you’re willing to give it your all New York might be the place for you, at least now you have a better idea of what to expect.

2 thoughts on “The Right and Wrong of New York”
  1. I have to interject, not all SF panhandlers are benign…one night, Briggs and I had gone to the city for dinner and were walking the 5 million or so blocks back to where we had parked the car. As we were hiking and wishing for a sherpa or two to carry us, a man (who’s demeanor smacked loudly of insanity, crack addiction, or both)came up to us to ask for change. In this modern and digital age, neither of us happened to have any form of physical cash on hand, and as he did not seem to have any place to swipe our cards, we explained that we would not be able to assist him.
    Rather than accepting our explanation in good grace and moving on, however, he persisted to insist that we give him cash–not in a violent way, mind you–this was no mugging…he just refused to accept that we didn’t have a few dollars on hand that we could help him out with. Perhaps his dogged determination was admirable on some level, but on a dark street after midnight, it had a certain edge of creepy as well.

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