Sunday, December 11, 2005

Why New York is Not All That

I am over New York. I am over the pain in the ass it is to get in and out of the city, whether it’s by car, train or boat. I am over the franchising of Lower Manhattan. I am over the ridiculously overpriced real estate and the lack of affordable housing. I am over the totally confusing subway stations, the card machines that don’t work, the trains that don’t come. I am over the expensive cab rides and rude cabbies who often tell you where you are going. I am over the two football teams that claim to be from New York but haven’t set foot there in over twenty years. (I am over Yankee fans, period, but that’s another story altogether.) I am over the annoying twenty-somethings who seem to have taken over the city. But most of all, more than anything else, I am over the ceaseless bragging about the city by its residents, knowwhadduhmean?

Enough already. I’m tired of hearing about how such-and-such is a great town, “but it’s not New York.” (Duh—like anyplace else is or would want to be.) I am tired of hearing about how it’s the greatest place ever invented, how it’s so open and accepting and freethinking—as though other places are not, and as though there have never been racial incidents in the Big City. I am sick of hearing about how everyplace outside of the city is “the boonies.” Well, once upon a time, the boonies were 72nd Street, so get over it. You guys don’t like us “out-of-towners” coming in and clogging everything up. Well we don’t like you coming to our towns and congesting our roads with your clueless driving—stop and ask for directions if you don’t know where you’re going, otherwise get out of the way.

I am convinced a large part of New Yorkers’ arrogance is that they know that they are paying way too much for way too little—in essence, being screwed—and are resentful because others are not. Life is hard in the Big Apple—you always have to be on the ball because people don’t have a whole lot of patience. It’s crowded, it’s noisy, it’s stressful, and most people live in places the size of matchboxes for which they pay through the nose. There are way too many people living in way too little space, and there is not nearly enough housing to meet demand. And this is the greatest city on earth? Tell me how great it is in the next week or two when there’s a transit strike, ok?

I know there is a lot that is great about Manhattan—I have spent a lot of time and money there myself. But it is far from perfect, and I really wish that New Yorkers would just admit it already. It’s no better than several other American cities I could name, and a lot worse than some comparable Canadian and European ones. So enough. You live there, I don’t. Whether or not that makes you “cooler” than me or just a sucker is your call.

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