A reader writes:
The latest responses from your readers have motivated me to write. There is a certain degree of entitlement and a lack of humility in the way they talk about New York. I don't begrudge anyone for not liking the city. It's not for everyone. Sometimes people come here with strange expectations. I blame "Sex and the City".
What hasn't been addressed is that this city is so vast that people living here are all inhabiting completely different worlds. I'm not talking about rich people or poor people; I mean that every person is experiencing only a tiny part of the whole city. Your readers have been making grand pronouncements on Manhattan and Brooklyn as if that is even possible! They are like blind men describing an elephant. Some of your readers seem totally oblivious that it may be their own lack of vision, curiosity, and adventure that limits their New York. Be humble. This city is large, it contains multitudes.
Maybe I have a different perspective because I am a New Yorker, born and raised.
I accept New York for what it is. I love it, but I'm used to it. It surprises me every day and I'm used to that too. I've lived here most of my life and I've simply accepted that I'll never be able to know the whole city. It's just not possible. I am still exploring and discovering it all the time. My friends and family are here too. It's home.
Except for people natives like me, the people who love New York usually come in their twenties, before they are married and are set in their careers and while they are still open to making new close friends. They grow up with the city and become part of it; the city shapes who they become. Or, if it doesn't, they leave. For the most part, you are already the person you are going to be. You don't need New York and had no compelling reason to leave your old life. You came to accommodate your husband, and you aren't the first spouse to do so. So finish setting up your place, and relax.
I moved to New York in the fall of 1975, a young, blue-eyed blonde, native northern California girl, with nothing much more than a desire to get out of (then) homogenous sunny California and a couple of bad relationships. At that time, NYC was on the brink of bankruptcy, and the Daily News had just published their famous FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD headline. Crime was up, the city was really gritty, but rents were down, so I moved in with my brother who was subletting on the upper East Side, and got a job in a week, despite it all. I was there less than two years – my job turned out great, got promoted, got moved to Chicago – but that's another city and another story. Anyway, in my short time there, I came to feel all the love/hate vibes that some of your other readers have talked about.
My mother, an avid New Yorker reader all her life, called NYC America's Hometown, and I think she was right. I've always maintained that everyone should live in New York at least once in their lives. So enjoy!
To read the full "New York Shitty" discussion thread, including my initial post and four large reader follow-ups with video, go here.