Search Results For new york shitty

New York Shitty, Ctd

Andrew Sullivan —  Oct 1 2014 @ 2:21pm

A reader sends an ominous view from his East Village window yesterday morning:

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Another New Yorker pounces on my recent snark over the subway:

Really, your pique about New York merely makes you look like an idiot. It’s like a bad breakup that you can’t get over. Well, try.

You would also have a stronger case if you didn’t live in a city where the Metro stations look like the set of a science fiction film about the dystopian future. Every time I’m there, I half expect someone to come running into the Dupont Circle station screaming, “Soylent Green is people!”

Several more dissenters have the floor:

I can’t believe I am writing once again to rail against your railing against NYC, but here I am. Yes, the subway is different from the London Underground. I found the tube-medium-zonedUnderground dizzyingly different when I first encountered it. But yes, it is cheap, and all the millions of people who ride it to school or work really appreciate it! One price takes you to wherever you want to go, no matter how far you have to go, unlike the Underground, which had me standing in front of the map longer than I wished, wondering which zone I will be in if I went here or there. But I just assumed it is just one of many different ways in which seeing the world teaches us to adapt and adjust. If I whined every time a city didn’t live up to my dream image of it, I would never leave my house!

You hate NYC, so you left. Good for you! But can you please remember that it is still home to many, many people and we don’t appreciate someone bashing it again and again, even after he has left, and even if we may actually agree with some of your opinions about it? Please give it a rest!

If I am so inclined, I can find faults with and rail against every city I have lived in or visited, but I accept that every city is what it is! Yes, NYC is a chaotic city; yes, it has all the faults of a giant sprawling city, and yes!, some people have bad experiences there, but tell me in which city all these things are not true!

And no, even in your own dramatic heart of hearts, you know that Lagos is not more civilized than NYC. Sorry for the rant, but your last jab at it actually made me think one more post like it will make me give up my subscription, despite the cool Dish t-shirts I’ve been sporting.

Another isn’t as threatening:

I’ve been a constant reader since, I don’t know, 2001. And I’m a subscriber, too. Maybe due to re-up right about now.  And I will.

I admire and appreciate so much about The Dish – up to and including your self-confessed hysteria sometimes. I mean – go for it. Leave the hand-wringing for the rest of us. Still, you threw me one that rankles tonight.

I’m sorry you hated New York City. That sucks. Lots of people hate it. I lived there from 1997 to 2003, and I was aware every day that there were so, so many people having a hard time of it. People getting just crushed. Or less dramatic than that, people getting worn down by the endless indignities. People in all corners of the economic tangle getting pummeled by this city. My partner at the time was one of them, even though it was she who insisted we move there. I didn’t want to. I didn’t give a shit about New York.

Until I got there. I fucking loved that city. And I had lived in so many places – in the U.S., Europe, Asia, Latin America. But somehow it felt like it was New York that blew my horizons open. Go figure.

I live in San Francisco now, and it’s a lovely town. But the rest of my life I’ll be hoping I get to move back to New York some day.  And every time I visit, I feel it instantly. Put me in the bustle of mid-town, the crush of a  subway, the off-kilter alleys below Houston, the tiny tangle of shelves at your neighborhood bodega – why do I love this shit? I don’t know. I have some ideas. But I don’t think you’d be interested in them.

I can say this. Even most of the people I know who have had a hard time in New York, who even hated New York, at least know what they still love about the place. You, on the other hand, left in a hurry and keep throwing shit over your shoulder at people who are dumb enough to imagine they like living there. A “cult”? Jesus, Andrew. Why the schoolyard insults? For a man of your age, experience, stature and maturity, it’s amazing how sometimes, you still just need to grow the fuck up.

Another circles back to the subway-underground showdown:

As a regular user of the subway in NYC and an occasional user in London, I can’t let yesterday’s shot at NYC signage and route complexity go unchallenged.  There are lots of things to hate about the NYC subway sytem, but I don’t think this is one of them.

In brief, both systems have to come up with a visual means to communicate that many of their lines fan out into branches at their distal ends.  If you board a train in the city center, you can ignore all this if your destination is in the center.  But if you’re headed for the distal fringes, you need to know which branch this train is going to follow.

New York does that by giving each branch a name (a number or letter) and grouping the related branches that share a common trunk by color. Within each color family, the routes may also be distinguished by whether they are all-stops locals or skip-stop expresses.

London names the whole group of lines the same, but you need to know London pretty well to know which train to board, since the only clue you will get is a sign on the train with a destination that the visitor has probably never heard of.  Do I really need to get on a train marked “Barking” to get to a spot only a few stations to the east?  Personally, I find the NYC system easier to remember. This system hardly applies in the rest of the US, since our transit systems are so underdeveloped that most rail lines elsewhere have few branches or none at all.

As for signage in London, could someone please explain to me why the Circle Line isn’t actually a circle, and why the direction of travel isn’t simply indicated as clockwise or counter clockwise?

Update from a reader, who might have our Email of the Day:

I’m so envious over all y’all fighting over subway systems … I wish we (Houston – 4th largest city in the US) had a mass transit system to bitch about.

But another reader demonstrates that I’m not alone:

I lived in NYC for two years before moving to London for the past three, and I have strong views on this subject. First, let me dismiss the comparative advantages of map designs outright. If you are visiting either city, and you don’t understand something, ask for help or spend an extra minute using your brain. Within a handful of journeys on either subway you probably know enough to navigate the system without a major blunder. If you don’t, it’s really your own fault. It’s a fucking subway map, not your tax return.

Second, living in London has opened my eyes to what an impact the subway system can have on your entire day-to-day experience. While some lines are better than others, the veins of the London Underground are an absolute marvel, humming along like a well-oiled machine. The average wait time is a few minutes at most. Even late in the evenings the reduction in service is marginal, adding one or two minutes on average. I am able to pick up the phone, agree to meet someone, and estimate with incredibly accuracy the time I will arrive.

The NYC subway? Not a chance. I had to take the 4/5/6 to and from work each day from lower Manhattan to Midtown, and I can’t even count the number of times I worked myself into an homicidal state pacing on the platform. During rush hour the range of wait times was anywhere from one to twenty minutes, and I am not joking. This incredibly important line under Lex was constantly behind schedule, or more likely, just under serviced. During the endless “waits” between stations, we’d be given cookie cutter updates that you knew were bullshit. I think this patronizing approach towards its ridership is the ultimate difference between the attitudes of the MTA and the Tfl.

New York City is a tough city, without a doubt, but it doesn’t help itself. The subway is a mess, and you don’t ever get the feeling anyone is trying to make it better. Can you imagine a New York City with the Underground beneath it? I’d move back tomorrow. I much prefer London in terms of the level of stress it requires from me. The apologists for the New York subway are either ignorant or not being objective.

New York Shitty Update, Ctd

Andrew Sullivan —  May 29 2014 @ 12:20pm

Best tweet ever, Mr Cumstien. I read this, by the way, in a coffee shop in Soho where they don’t have a restroom! Another NYC specialty. From the inevitable backlash from the in-tray:

Oh no!  Overbooked hotels!  Lofts with insufficient drapery!  Cry me a river.

Another:

I am a loyal Dish reader, but I cannot stand your consistent whining about NYC. New York is the only true city in America. It’s diversity, creativity, density, wealth, and knowledge cannot be matched. Even with it’s problems of income inequality, stop and frisk, and a lack of affordable housing, NYC is still one of the greatest engines for social mobility and creativity in the world. The five boroughs of New York represent the American ideal more than any other place in the US. In no other place in this country do you see a welcoming of people, ideas, and the sharing of public space in the way you see it in NYC. New York is an egalitarian city by nature, forcing people to share the streets, subways, and public places. Humanity comes to New York to express itself. If you don’t like New York, you don’t like people.

New York has never been easy, but what good things in life are?

DC is a suburb and a one-industry town. To compare DC – or for that matter any city in the US – to NYC would be like comparing foie gras to dog food; at first glance they may seem the same but in reality they are worlds apart. So as Jimmy Walker said so many years ago, “I’d rather be a lamppost in New York than the Mayor of Chicago” – and let’s face it, Chicago is a better city than DC.

The blog is great. Your views on NYC are suspect.

I’m sorry but my point is simply about the livability of the city. And when people say that NYC is the only true city in America, or that “humanity comes to New York to express itself,” I have to say it sounds like a cult not a judgment. And you do need something of a cult mentality to put up with all the horrendous hassle. Chicago, in my view, is the quintessential American city. You can smoke weed legally in Denver. You could get gay-married in Iowa before NYC. What Los Angeles offers in terms of livability and climate knocks New York into the dust. DC is – especially now – cleaner, more modern, more livable and also culturally rich. San Francisco is far more beautiful; New Orleans far more exotic. New York is an amazing place – but it is a gigantic, chaotic, incompetent mess. Another reader turns the tables:

The last time I stayed in DC, the hotel’s fire alarm went off around 4am. Loud speakers were announcing that the hotel should be evacuated. People were wandering around the halls in their bathrobes looking for an exit. I was standing on the sidewalk outside the hotel when I learned that the evacuation was due to a small, contained, grease fire in a basement kitchen.

You live in DC and don’t stay in its hotels. You know the city and know when a cab driver is going blocks out of the way and you don’t have to rely on Google Maps. And, of course, no such thing would happen in Chicago, Paris, Rome or to anyone visiting DC. Everywhere has its pros and cons.

I love ya. And one of the reasons I do is because you make me want to slap you now and then – no different than the few I hold as close friends.

Another has the right idea:

I can’t wait ’til you get to Provincetown and chill the fuck out for a while.

Update from another:

Your reader is wrong; DC is not a one-industry town. I grew up there and neither of my parents worked for the government. And it’s not a suburb. A suburb to what city? His precious NYC. I might be biased because I grew up in Alexandria, but DC is an amazing city with a lot to offer. And so much of it is free. Yes, it can be argued that it is more of a town than a city, but that’s the best part. You can see the sky, and live in an apartment or condo or house all in the same city. You can have a lawn and be in the city limits. And just like every other American city, there is the depressing economic apartheid, but at least you don’t have to be in your 20s and willing to live in a hole or be super fucking wealthy to enjoy it. Yes, the Beltway fucking blows, but driving on Rock Creek Parkway makes up for it. And when you go into a deli and order breakfast you aren’t snarled at by other patrons for not spitting out your order fast enough. Ordering food as a tourist in NYC is panic inducing.

Another:

Chicago, in my view, is the quintessential American city.”

AMEN. I tell all the foreigners I know who are planning on visiting the US: if you only have one week in America, spend four days in Chicago (and two days at the Grand Canyon.) Chicago is a perfect microcosm of the entire American experience: a big industrial port city with a huge immigrant population and a vibrant African-American community. Somehow it is midwestern, northern, coastal, and a little bit southern (all those Kentucky transplants, plus great soul food) all at the same time. It even feels a little Canadian in places. OK, it lacks the fresh-scrubbed natural beauty of western cities like SLC or Seattle, but you do get a taste of it — Chicago was once at the edge of the frontier, too. Great music scene and global cuisine, but with strong regional roots. Museums and sport stadiums and other touristy stuff up the wazoo.

Importantly: its suburbs sprawl endlessly, as do all American cities, so you get the quintessentially American experience of driving hours across the sprawl to get somewhere (just like LA!) — but with decent trains if you hate driving. Other cities, like Boston, New Orleans, LA, San Francisco and even, yes, NYC are tiny nations unto themselves. Boston is Boston (and New England) before it is America. NYC in particular is a city of the world before it is anything else. But every time you turn around in Chicago, you’ll see AMERICA.

New York Shitty Update

Andrew Sullivan —  May 28 2014 @ 1:23pm

So now I’ve relocated to Washington, I get to visit the Big Rotten Apple to meet with the Dish team and friends on a regular basis. My last two trips were classic NYC hell. The first was a new hotel I booked into a few weeks ago. There was no available room when I got there at 6.30 pm forcing me to wait half an hour in the lobby; the thermostat didn’t work, repeatedly, so the room was stifling; on my first night, I was awakened at 4.30 am by a fire alarm; on my second night, I was awakened at 8.30 am by a power-drill in the next door room.  At which point, I bailed. Oh, and I left behind my best pair of shoes in my room, which, of course, the hotel never found. There are far, far better hotels in Cedar Rapids at one fifth of the price.

So this time, we booked an airbnb in Brooklyn.

Why not see if the amateurs are better than the incompetent pros? But it was classic NYC. The cab driver took me twenty blocks in the wrong direction and my only hope was Google Maps. After directing the cabbie, I arrived to find the loft oppressively hot, and with no air-conditioning (despite its listing). It also had no drapes or shades so I was woken woken up at dawn today, and then, after trying to get back to sleep, by pneumatic drilling at a vast construction site next door. All in all: five hours sleep. If I’m cranky today, you know why. So I’m moving to a generic chain hotel today. Wish me luck, as I struggle with the shitty wifi that is another of this city’s memorials to the 20th Century.

Walking around Williamsburg last night, I was also reminded of one of the unique charms of NYC in the summer: vast piles of rotting garbage piled on the sidewalks, with that sweet yet nauseating smell of decomposing groceries sitting in the humid fetid air, and rancid food juices oozing over the sticky sidewalks. With my windows open to counter the stuffiness, I could occasionally catch a whiff of the stench outside.

People actually like living in this chaotic, fetid monument to incompetence? Beats me.

New York Shitty, Ctd

Andrew Sullivan —  Feb 21 2013 @ 10:51am

Yeah, the beard looks very scraggly in the video we posted last night. But better than it does now: I just got it butchered by yet another bad New York City barber.

Yes, another of my waxing and waning complaints about NYC is the absence of decent, professional barbershops. Well, I don’t mean an actual absence. They’re everywhere, it seems, and yet almost all of the ones I’ve tried are dreadful.

My starter was a Yelp-recommended, first come, first served joint. I put my name down and was told to come back in 30 minutes. Ok. Back 25 minutes later, I was told it could be done in ten minutes. A further half hour of Angry birds later, I asked when I could get my beard trimmed. 20 minutes. Half an hour later, when they started hedging again when I asked, I left. New York City: wait for almost two hours not to get a haircut.

The next one I tried, I asked if they had wifi so I could blog while I waited. They did, so I asked for the password. Instead of simply telling me, the owner asked me to hand him my iPad (to write it in himself), which he then dropped, causing the screen to shatter on the floor.

Instead of apologizing, he first asked – I’m not making this up – if the iPad looked like that before he dropped it. He then insisted I have it repaired by some dude he knew. I said I’d have it repaired at the Apple Store. He harrumphed. I had a thought they might waive the fee for the beard trim. This is New York City: no fucking way.

Then I tried a third barber – recommended by a friend. The dude turned the beard into a lopsided brick. Aaron had to fix it later, and even now my head looks lop-sided. Maybe I’m just unlucky, but it amazes me that New Yorkers have such an attitude about good service when they are not in the city. Where do their expectations come from? This city has the worst service I’ve ever experienced. Yes, it remains impossible to use Time Warner wifi to listen to music on our sound system without it breaking up every few seconds. Yes, AT&T is still a nightmare. No, it doesn’t really get much better, you just get used to living in one of the least competent, self-loving cities I’ve ever known. Maybe over the years, you slowly develop your known competent individuals. From pharmacists bound by Bloomberg’s nannying to a super-intendent who cannot show up to fix a broken doorlock to even UPS (one of my meds was just “found” on the sidewalk outside my apartment by a neighbor), you just find it harder to live here, even as you’re fleeced everywhere you move. The sidewalks almost suck the money from your pockets and give back attitude in return.

And you wonder why I have no worries about Pret-A-Manger. Fawning would be lovely. But actual, simple competence in this city? A miracle.

New York Shitty

Andrew Sullivan —  Feb 3 2013 @ 11:20pm

The following is the complete thread triggered by Andrew’s move to New York City, dealing with Superstorm Sandy, as well as various comments and bits of NYC advice from readers.


Wed Oct 10, 2012 – 11:01am:

After two full weeks of moving to and living in New York City, I just got back to DC for ten days (doctor’s appointments, etc.). All I can say is: what a relief.

Moving is never easy; moving to New York City even harder. Moving to New York while blogging an election was probably too large a leap for an excitable chap like myself. Visiting NYC has always been a thrill. But living there? After the initial wonderland feel, you get to adjust to a whole new rhythm. Just in some basic respects – like getting online or using your phone – it’s like going back in time a little. Time Warner cable … well, I probably don’t need to tell New Yorkers what it’s like there. We bought the most expensive cable package to expedite my work at home – and it just decides to crawl like dial-up every few minutes. My mifi cannot get a signal that’s stable. My iPhone is suddenly iffy – calls are dropped and online access is far slower than in DC. And if you keep your wifi open, it gets grabbed by squeegee hotspots that are hard to get rid of. Not a good time to lose Google maps either.

Then the following: we went to a store and found a couch; they delivered the wrong one. We went to Best Buy to get a new TV; they delivered the wrong one. When they did deliver the right one, the cable-box was dead. We could not get any DVR either. I had to go into the Beast offices to live-blog Obama’s implosion. Scalding hot water comes out of the cold faucet – randomly. And the space we live in is one fifth the size of our place in DC. Just to walk a few blocks requires barging your way through a melee of noise and rudeness and madness. And a glance at your bank account shows a giant sucking sound as the city effectively robs you of all your pennies at every juncture. When you’re there for a few days or a week, it can be bracing. But living with this as a daily fact of life? How does anyone manage it?

I’m told I should give it a few months.  Since our lease is for twelve, I don’t have much choice. Adjustment to NYC is a process. A really long, exasperating, draining process. Do you just have to harden yourself to live as if this is normal? Or will it get better? Please tell me it gets better.


Thu Oct 11, 2012 – 11:12am:

A reader writes:

I stopped you Sunday to say hi while you and your husband were walking the dogs. You had the “fuck this shit” look on your face, so I was hesitant to bother you. But your face changed and you were gracious and kind regardless of how terrible it must be walking dogs in the streets of New York. My wife and I have been here for almost a year and it does get better. You’ll get into a rhythm soon enough. You should have moved to Brooklyn though. Manhattan is a hellish nightmare.

Another is on the same page:

It does gets better. Moving sucks, yes, but New York is the most vibrant, energetic, diverse city on the planet. (And I say this from experience, as a fellow Brit who’s travelled all over the world and previously lived in DC, London, Paris and Moscow.) I hope you had the good sense to move to Brooklyn instead of Manhattan. Brooklyn feels a lot like London to me. Much more livable than the craziness of Manhattan, but still only a short subway ride from that craziness when you do want to immerse yourself in it.

Why do I get the feeling that Brooklyn-living Bodenner edited these emails? Another:

Please don’t tell me you moved to Manhattan. Why? Did you ever consider that the cost of living and the (relative) lack of stress would make Brooklyn or Queens so much more attractive a place to live? I’ve been living in Brooklyn for over 9 years now, and for all the hype and counter-hype that comes with it, there’s a reason I’m still there. I’ve lived in DC for a short while as well, and if you wanted to replicate the Dupont Circle or Adams Morgan life, you’d have done better to go to Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, or (my new neighborhood) Fort Greene.

Another Brooklyn booster:

I assume you made the mistake of moving into Manhattan.  Most out-of-towners who move here think, “Well of course I have to be in Manhattan! That’s where all the action is!” You’ll quickly learn how much and how often Manhattan residents look down on their poor friends who “suffer” in the Burroughs.  Those of us who have made the wise choice of moving to Brooklyn have managed to find a much better balance between the chaos of the city and the desired solitude of home, and we just chuckle at the fools in Manhattan who are under the illusion that they’ve got it so good.

I have a dog, and I work in SoHo, but I live in Prospect Heights in Brooklyn.  Rent is MUCH CHEAPER.  There are trees.  There are less cars, taxis, people.  I take a 25 minute ride on the best subway system in the country to get to work.  When I arrive in SoHo the energy can sometimes be exhilarating and sometimes annoying, especially the sheer volume of tourists.  But after a long day, I hop back on the subway, veg out, come up to the quietude of Brooklyn, and reclaim the bit of my soul that may have been ground down to a pulp during the day.  I can take my dog for a walk that involves negotiating dozens of trees and bushes, choosing from a number of small or large parks, and so forth.

If I were forced to live in Manhattan in order to work here, I would have moved away years ago! Brooklyn is the best of both worlds.

Another:

If you enjoyed your DC lifestyle, and are now dreading the NYC thing, I can only assume that you screwed up and signed a lease in Manhattan. Don’t worry.  It’s a common mistake for people moving here to sign a lease in the city.  Do yourself a favor when you get back to New York.  Pick a beautiful fall day and jump on the subway and go meet one of your friends at the Brooklyn Flea.  Or take a stroll through the north side of Prospect Park (there are much better areas of the park, but that’s a good starter journey).  Take the F train to York St. and walk through DUMBO.  Walk through the brownstone neighborhoods of Fort Greene, Prospect Heights, Park Slope or Brooklyn Heights.  You BELONG here.  You will love it.  I can tell you: It is the best of both worlds.  You are in the city, but you have space.  You have trees.  You have vibrant neighborhoods that feel interconnected.  Trust me on this!

Another:

Come visit Brooklyn!  If you want a reprieve from the madness that is Manhattan (where it sounds you have moved), come check out Brooklyn Heights, Boerum Hill, Park Slope, and the surrounding area.  The food is incredible and varied (Mile End, Bark Hot Dogs, Ample Hills Creamery, the General Greene, Beast restaurant, Salt, Brooklyn Fare, etc etc), the pace is a bit slower (it’s where the yuppies and hipsters move to have their babies so more strollers but less people), the brownstone environs are beautiful, everyone has dogs, and there are a thousand things to see and do.  Your beagles would love Prospect Park or Fort Greene (off-leash before 9AM, where we bring our pup), the brand-new Brooklyn Bridge promenade is a lovely walk with an incredible view of Manhattan, you can spend a day browsing the great crafts at the Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene, the bar scene is much more friendly, less crowded and mostly meathead free, and there is music and events everywhere you turn.

A final selling point:

There are more beards in Brooklyn.


Mon Oct 15, 2012 – 11:30am:

A reader pushes back against the Brooklyn boosters:

For the love of God, do NOT move to Brooklyn! I moved to Manhattan 26 years ago and I have twice been lured into leaving the island by the promise of cheaper rents and tree-lined streets in Brooklyn. Big mistake. That touted “25-minute subway commute” is realistically more like 45-plus-minutes, standing in sardine-can comfort all the way. And that’s after walking a good ten minutes to reach the station, then waiting another ten minutes or so on an overcrowded platform. But learn to love that subway. Because the city you moved here for is miles away, and there are no cruising yellow cabs on those leafy brownstone streets (also fewer 24-hour Korean delis, bank branches, Greek diners, visible human life, etc.). And if you hail a cab in Manhattan to take you home at night, there’s a 50-50 chance the driver will simply refuse the fare.

I have returned home to Manhattan. There’s a reason we pay more to live here. And there’s a reason Brooklyn requires “boosters.”

Hundreds of readers are offering their varied perspectives on the city. One writes:

Everything you describe about your move to NYC reminds me of my move there a decade ago.  The pervasive crowdedness, the smell, the herculean efforts necessary to accomplish even minor chores.  It is draining.  But it does get better. At some point, you start to realize that NYC has changed you, that your rhythm is in sync with the city’s, that you are full of energy, and that nothing can get in your way, because you are a New Yorker.  I fell in love with NYC.  But after six years, it started to wear on me again – the constant struggle for scarce resources (like a table at a favorite restaurant), the bridge and tunnel traffic, the pedestrian rage at tourists walking too slowly.  I ultimately escaped to San Francisco, where life truly is better, but I cherish the time I spent in NYC and know that I am stronger and more resilient for it.  Hang in there!

Another:

I say this as someone whose entire family grew up in NYC, who has lived in NYC for three years, but who grew up in South Philadelphia and lived for seven years in New Orleans: It doesn’t get better.

New York, and by that I mean Manhattan, is incredibly overrated. The inconveniences multiply; they don’t diminish. People get more self-righteous and myopic, not less. What happens is that you adjust yourself to find camaraderie with neighbors with regard to these annoyances. And then you force yourself to take advantage of things like museums and art galleries and early movie openings to develop a layer of smug that also helps you find camaraderie with fellow NYers.

Then what happens is that you get meta-smug about New York, where you talk about how you love Brooklyn so much more than Manhattan and then you get meta-meta smug where you think Brooklyn was so 2003 and Astoria and Jackson Heights are really where it’s at. And that’s how you find camaraderie at a layer deeper.

But mostly New York isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and there are lots of other cooler, more down to earth, places in America – like Philadelphia and New Orleans!

Another:

I lived in NYC for a bit more than 15 years, and I can tell you: Yes, it does get better. But not any time soon. Learning to live in NYC means learning that you are not, in fact, the boss of yourself. You are dependent on and surrounded by so many others, the massive aging infrastructure, the constant roiling disorder. Once you give up your grasping for control, it becomes much much easier. Just know this: the subway will make you late when you most need it to be on time. The taxis will be all full when it’s raining, and they will sometimes splash you as they pass. The store will be on the other side of town when you need that certain thing. The restaurant will be booked when you’re out for a special dinner.

But you must also know this: you will never really understand the full range of human expression without living in New York. You will see confrontations and moments of tenderness on the subway that will make you marvel. You’ll come to really appreciate just how hard immigrants work to provide for their families, especially if you are on the platform at 6 am, seeing working-class folks going to work and coming home. You will eat the most delicious food and be able to access any kind of art that suits you.

Yes, it sucks setting up house, dealing with those companies that have a stranglehold. But to fall in love with NYC, get out of the house, walk 30 blocks, ride the subway home. It’ll do you good.

Another:

Oh where to start. Nowhere else in the world will the love/hate relationship with a city be as lively as our New York. I have been here for 12 years. I can’t imagine living anywhere else. It will be maddening every single day of the year. It will be filthy. It will be rude. It will be expensive. It will drive you insane. You will also fall in love with it.

One day you will wake up and something will happen that will change your view of it forever. It may be Washington Square park, with its chess playing hustlers plying their ways next to a guy playing Chopin on a grand piano. Or perhaps the upcoming Halloween parade in Greenwich village, with an assortment of freaks only New York can produce. You may find yourself on the subway watching Wall St. guys beat-box with a couple of kids from Bed-Stuy (I saw this last week).

The day after the 9/11 attack I was hundreds of miles away. I was told by my office to stay in Chicago. I drove back with a friend. I needed to be back. I needed to be among New Yorkers. People thought I was crazy. Why would anyone want to go back there? It’s an inexplicable feeling of oneness with a place. You may find your temperament is better suited to D.C. If you are lucky you will become one of us.

Another quotes me:

“Just to walk a few blocks requires barging your way through a melee of noise and rudeness and madness.” Are you sure you’re in New York, and not some other city? Manhattanites are in, my experience, the friendliest, funniest people in the world. They are unfailingly helpful in a pinch, and it’s almost impossible not to have a conversation with at least one total stranger each day.

As for the rest of it, what can I say? You’re having a bad run of luck, but it cannot be called typical. I live in Greenwich Village, and I often say that our neighborhood is the most convenient in the world. Everything you want or need is within a few blocks, and we have easy access to the best museums, theatres, cinemas, and clubs. (Saw you at the Metropolitan Room, by the way; my husband and I both adored Sharon Clark.)

Another:

Those people bumping into you on the sidewalk or shouting at each other in the street … are they being rude? No! This is the kind of forced intimacy that comes from living in such a densely-packed mass of humanity. It makes New Yorkers more open, more honest; they wear their hearts on their sleeves. It actually makes me think of the way you write – no minced words.

One day several years back, my wife was jogging across the street and a car bumped into her – the car was barely moving, so it was nothing serious, but it was enough to knock her down. Before she had even brushed herself off there were two New Yorkers helping her out and screaming at the driver about what an idiot he was. So go into this with an open mind.

Another:

I love New York, because everyone is from somewhere, and differences are accepted here. My wife said her quintessential New York moment was in the hospital after the birth of our child. Her breastfeeding class consisted of herself – a Caucasian woman with an half-Asian child, an Orthodox Jewish woman, a South Asian woman, a Latina mom, and the instructor, a male to female transgender nurse. None of the women batted an eyelash – everyone was focused on trying to learn what to do with their babies.

One more:

Here was my week last week: Tuesday, I saw Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder in 3D at Film Forum, and had Texas-style breakfast tacos and scotch in a bar with no sign on Houston Street. Wednesday I blundered into a tap-dancing jazz jam session at Small’s that was actually killer. At it I met an old man, a gallery owner who started writing poetry again after meeting a woman. He showed me his poems – dirty good stuff – which I ended up buying off of him. Then I spent the rest of the night at the Village Vanguard watching John Coltrane’s son tear the place up, under a big photo of his father. On Thursday I went to a book launch of Charles Portis’ new one, featuring Roy Blount Jr., Calvin Trillin and Ian Frazier, the proceeds of which went towards providing housing for homeless AIDS victims. Friday was spent at a comedy club.

And so on and so on. There’s simply no place like it. Greatest city on earth!


Tue Oct 16, 2012 – 11:10am:

New York Shitty: Survival Tips

Scores of kind readers are offering advice:

NYC is, in fact, the easiest place to live once you’re settled. Cabs are plentiful (except between 4-7pm), the subway never closes, and there’s a bodega or Duane Reade within a two-block radius wherever you are.  You simply don’t have to move around much to survive.  And have you seen the variety of food delivery options on SeamlessWeb? The last time I was in DC, the website offered me maybe 20 options, but almost anywhere in NYC seamless will offer 50-60!

I love that cabs are plentiful – except when you most need them. I’ve spent up to half an hour finding a cab with its light on as available – as opposed to off-duty – between 4 pm and 7 pm. Even as a visitor, I simply walk. I cycle everywhere in DC but the traffic aggression in NYC would keep me on the river cycle paths. Using one to get around would be more scary than I’m used to. Another:

Cost can be mitigated if you don’t have a car.  Zipcar can be very useful for weekend shopping runs. Don’t shop at the local bodega unless you must, avoid the local supermarket if you can.  Trader Joe’s or Fairway are the places to go – and you should to avoid the very tempting option of ordering amazing delivery every night.  Try to avoid cabs if you can.  Get a good pair of shoes and a metrocard.

We don’t have a car. God knows what people do who have one. The kitchen is so tiny there’s also a limit on food storage. Another:

Stay away from Times Square. Just. Stay. Away. Watching tourists eat at Olive Garden or Sbarros is flat out depressing.

No worries in that department. Trust me. That “intricate rented world” does not excite. It bores and depresses. So much light for so much getting. Another:

It sounds like you have AT&T on your cellphone. My advice is drop them. Pay whatever it takes to get out of your contract. AT&T does not work in NYC. I had them for four years and I swear every other call would get dropped and my data service would randomly cut out for hours at a time. Go to Verizon. It’s the most reliable service in NYC.

Working on it. Again, more money. To do even the slightest thing, you get fleeced. More technical advice:

Some flavors of WiFi share spectrum with other devices and appliances. Older versions would see temporary dropouts or slow-downs whenever someone microwaved popcorn because the frequencies were similar. Even with the newer models, you can see interference with other devices in the area. Also, of someone is BitTorrenting in your area, they may be sucking up all the bandwidth for everyone in your area. Another possibility is that someone has jumped on your WiFi and is piggybacking on your account. You do have a good password set up, don’t you? Here’s an article that might can help: “Six Wi-Fi problems and how to fix them”

Another:

Time Warner is the devil. If you can get Verizon FiOS where you live, go with that. It’s apparently a million times better. If you’re stuck with Time Warner then you just have to deal. If you’re having some technical problems with their service (and who isn’t; I currently am) then try tweeting at them. You have enough followers that they’ll get back to you pretty quick. Their Twitter customer service can be pretty decent and if you’re persistent, you’ll get through to their T3 support. The T3 support guys are actually super helpful and competent and should be able to resolve your problems as well as they possibly can.

Another:

Forget Best Buy. Instead, go to J&R Music, B&H Photo, Adorama, Tekserve, or your closest Apple Store. Also, if you have a doorman or package service, definitely buy an Amazon Prime membership and use it as much as possible.  You’ll get much better prices and better service on almost anything.

Also, FreshDirect is mighty convenient – but Trader Joe’s and Fairway Uptown and Costco (115th and FDR) are cheaper.

Another:

If you’re trying to navigate NYC and your Google Maps (or, heaven forbid, Apple Maps) aren’t working, try picking up the Not For Tourist guide to NYC. It’s great. Detailed maps, restaurant and bar listings, and a bunch other stuff. Pardon the cliche, but i never leave home without it. You can find it here.

Another:

Never do laundry again. Someone will do it for you, fold it and bring it back to your apt. Dress shirts get dropped off and unlike DC, someone brings them back to your apt.

Yet another:

Don’t be in a rush. Stuck on the train? There’s nothing you can do about it, so why feel guilty or responsible for it? Think about how lucky you are to be reading a book on the train rather than stuck in traffic in a car, where you can’t read while waiting to start moving again.

Another:

Mooch or splurge, but find a place to go on the weekends. The Catskills, the Berkshires, Bucks County, there are plenty of low-fi options. A couple of quiet days away (i.e. NOT the Hamptons, Fire Island, or the Jersey Shore) are a necessary yin to the constant yang.

Experience something that is “the best” in NYC. Subscribe to the Met Opera, join MoMA, become a foodie or a theater queen. Do something that makes being in NYC a demonstrable advantage to the rest of the world.

Finally, and simply, walk. Walk everywhere. Walk all the time. Walk it off.

One more reader:

My advice to you?  The best part of living in the city is how easy it is to leave it.  Take weekend trips via MTA North and visit Tarrytown, Ossining, and Dobbs Ferry.  The Fall also happens to be the nicest time of year to soak in the foliage of the Hudson Valley.  I trust it will also provide some relief from the stress of election season …


Thu Oct 18, 2012 – 3:02pm:

New York Shitty, Ctd

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.

Another:

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!


Mon Oct 29, 2012 – 9.05pm:

The View From My Window

NYC-3

West Village, New York City, 8.55 pm


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 – 2.41pm:

Sandy Hits The Dish

The hurricane has screwed up email service to the Dish account (andrew@thedailybeast.com), so we haven’t been receiving most of the emails sent by Dish readers this week.  If you sent us an email since Monday night, please resend it using the following makeshift address: andrew@dishemail.com.

On a personal level, my wonderful introduction to New York City continues. We’ve had no power since Sunday night, and no idea when that might end. Even charged cell-phones south of 29th Street get no service at all (which is a tiny deterioration from AT&T’s usual service). There is no hot water. Even better, the front door to our building works on an electric FOB system, which, of course, has failed. So for a while, only one of us could leave the building at any one time. This made life a little difficult. Eventually we found a master key, which allowed me to escape today to get some work done.

I’m blogging today from a midtown Starbucks, where every available electrical outlet is being used by displaced downtowners. The atmosphere around me is probably like rush-hour in Calcutta. I want to thank my colleagues, all of whom have electric power, for doing such an amazing job yesterday and today. And my love to New York City, which has instantly plunged me from the developed world into a pitch black and increasingly cold Halloween. I keep saying to myself: It Gets Better.

Well, it cannot get any worse, can it? Can it?


Thu Nov 1, 2012 – 12.21pm:

New York Not So Shitty

NYC-2

A reader writes:

You’re in a Starbucks, connected to the Internet. You have a bed to sleep in and your husband and pets are with you. You’re doing pretty well. Think of it this way: You could have moved to Breezy Point.

That much I don’t dispute. We’re fine, and I’m now blogging at Patrick’s way uptown. My only real issue is my CPAP machine, which is trivial compared with goodness knows how many old folks trapped in high-rises, with more vital medical needs. This time I’m not complaining. Last night, the moon came out and the deserted dark streets of the Village were lit just from the sky. It was surreal and serene. At this point, I think of my initiation into New York has a kind of baptism, where they’ve kept me below the surface long enough for me to be extra-grateful when we get, say, electricity. Another:

You said: “Well, it cannot get any worse, can it? Can it?” I grew up in Manhattan and lived there for 25 years of my life.  I never experienced anything close to what New Yorkers are going through now.  There have been blackouts, but nothing sustained like this.  Even 9/11 wasn’t this bad – quality of living-wise. That was obviously deeply, mortally traumatic, but it didn’t involve a lengthy period living in what are essentially third-world conditions. What I’m saying is, this is the worst it has ever been in this city.  I’d love to say that it can’t get any worse, but I didn’t even think it could get this bad!

Another:

I’ve still got a friend in Queens I can’t contact. I hope she’s okay and I don’t really have reason to think otherwise, but worry isn’t always rational. You may already recognize that for many New Yorkers seeing Manhattan hobbled and emergency workers endangering themselves rekindles a collective 9/11 PTSD. But one of the things that makes NY great (I’m from the West Coast but moved here 15 years ago) is the way New Yorkers, for all of their faults and divisions, relate to each other in the midst of disaster.

I know how trite this will sound but I must: This great and flawed city is not the problem, Andrew, and the more we confront adversity together the stronger we’ll be. Yeah, sometimes it sucks – a lot – but being able to see the imperfect beauty in each other amidst the filth and rubble is part of what makes life worth living.

Indeed. Several friends have offered us an air mattress uptown, a hot shower, and the little neighborhood restaurant, Moustache, even served dinner by candlelight, since their ovens are all gas-based. The soup was gratis. Outside on a usually busy street, a young man was throwing a lacrosse ball against the walls of a construction site. To wit:

We’re all used to the Hollywood idea of post-apocalyptic America–men in fatigues roaming around with guns, looting and killing. What happened when my little village of Pelham was struck by the worst storm in its history–trees down everywhere, a dozen homes destroyed, vast damage–no power or phones. Although we sit on the water of Long Island Sound, the surge was pretty modest, so no flooding–that was the blessing. So what happened?

As soon as the storm subsided, neighbors were coming by: are you okay? was anyone injured? do you need batteries, milk, eggs? Tom down the street has a generator and anybody who needs to recharge phones or laptops can hook up. (Tom set up a charging station for neighbors in front of his garage.) On day two, when a few houses got power back, those who had it were advertising their services to neighbors–come by and take a hot shower! We’ll hold your freezer things. You’re welcome to sit in our living room and read–no flashlight required!

That afternoon, the local pharmacy and grocery reopened–handing out bags to customers–put your freezer things in this bag with your name, and we’ll freeze it for you! Phone company, fire, police crews out at once, working hard. People stopping by giving them a thermos of coffee or some fresh baked muffins. Spirits very upbeat. People extraordinarily kind and friendly. Now that’s the America I want to think about. In times of disaster, people share and come together. And that much maligned government? It works, and it’s there for you when you need it.

Another:

Maybe you should go back to D.C. or P-Town.

After weathering the storm here in Harlem with my family (where we, despite some sketchy moments, retained electricity and hot water throughout), I set out downtown to check on my below-ground storefront business, located in the East Village. I was worried about flooding, even though I had prepared. I knew I did not have electricity. I didn’t know what to expect. Before I even left my building, I was greeted by neighbors, asking if I needed anything.

I got into my car and turned on the radio, but sick of NPR and news radio I decided to switch over to Hot 97, the urban/hip-hop station. A tribute to Run-DMC’s slain DJ, Jam Master Jay, was playing (this at about 9am). DJ Enuff, a NYC mainstay since the ’90s, had been DJing for 21 straight hours – none of the other DJs could make it in.

As I drove slowly through Spanish Harlem, the Upper East Side, and down into Midtown, I rolled down my windows and turned the volume all the way up as “Hard Times” blared through the speakers. I nearly wept. This, I felt, was the New York I fell in love with. The DJs, so long a cornerstone of our culture, were still at work. The radio was still on. And as confused tourists wandered the streets, New Yorkers got down to the work of putting their lives back together.

At 39th Street the traffic lights turned dark. I got downtown and parked my car in an illegal spot with a policeman’s blessing. The streets were flooded with people. Everyone was caring and obliging. I checked on a friend in the neighborhood, who I hadn’t heard from since the day before. We had a smoke and decided to walk around. He told me that the night before had been a blast. It seemed like the party was rolling on.

We’ve done this through 9/11, The Blackout, and countless blizzards. This city is at its best in crisis. When life gives us lemons, we make lemonade and spike that bitch.

The fact that you are crouching in your apartment, put upon by events and wed to a Starbucks (of all places!) says to me that you are not cut out to be here. And we do not want you if you do not want us. Love the blog and read it multiple times a day. Just calling as I see it, as my fellow NYers are wont to do.

Another:

I love that you’re blogging from a Starbucks in Midtown. I love how you’re suffering the storm right alongside all the folks who don’t have a world famous blog, even if it’s not a choice. New York is an intense, hyper-competitive, loud, dirty, and difficult place, and the best thing about it is that the guy with the turban, the drag queen, the stockbroker, and the big fat black lady all make it through the daily difficulty alongside each other.  At this moment, my Brooklyn neighbors are handing out Tilapia to trick-or-treaters. So there’s that too. Rich, poor, or in-between, everyone here is crazy.

All of us will bitch every day about the difficulties of the city, but we’ll all end up helping each other at one time or another too.  And helping here is different than helping in other places around the world, because the variety and chaos makes it harder here. It’s harder to help because so much angst and resistance builds inside of us, as New Yorkers. It’s harder to help because we’re often ‘other’ to each other, in a different class or ethnic group, etc. So when the shit hits and it’s everyone in, and you help, there’s no place on earth you’ll feel more connected.  The money, race, lifestyle boundaries come down, the seething hostility is overcome, and god mutherfuckin’ dammit, we are one!

By the way, all your complaining about New York is essentially turning you into a New Yorker. You are not alone, brother. We all hate it and that’s why we all love it.

I think I’m beginning to get it now.

(Photo: East Village residents enjoy a bonfire on October 31, 2012 in New York City. Superstorm Sandy has claimed several dozen lives in the United States and has caused massive flooding across much of the Atlantic seaboard. By Allison Joyce/Getty Images)


Fri Nov 2, 2012 – 1:17pm:

The Glamorous Life Of A New York Blogger

So here I am, perched in a Dunkin Donuts, just north of the Dark Zone in NYC, blogging for as long as my mifi hangs in, with 53 minutes left on my laptop.

Last night was pretty chilly: one of the hounds crawled under the bed covers, the other buried herself under a blanket on the sofa. Still total darkness at night; punctuated by the occasional flash of police car lights. I cannot imagine how the elderly or those in high rises are managing.

It remains astounding to me that the power can go out for the lower half of New York City for five whole days. We’re now told that we will have power by tomorrow night at 11 pm. I believe that the way I believe Mitt Romney. But almost as astounding as the developing world infrastructure here is the way in which New Yorkers – so rude and oblivious most of the time – have rallied, helped each other, smiled, and carried on. What a welcome. The best of New York and the worst – hidden in unfathomable darkness from dusk onward.


Mon Nov 26, 2012 – 1.13pm:

New York Not So Shitty, Ctd

You were probably waiting for this post. But here was my Thanksgiving Day. Aaron was away in Rio promoting his new movie, “Bear City 2”. I was planning on a good day of sleep and a dinner with one old and one new friend. But our older dog, Dusty, has been getting a little incontinent lately (she’s 15) and we try and take her outside as soon as we get up to avoid messes in the apartment. NYC-1Usually, in DC or Ptown, this is pretty easy. I stumble to the front door, open it, wait for her to wander a little bit, pee and come back for a treat. If it’s early, I meander wearily back to bed.

But this is New York City and I hadn’t even had any coffee yet. So I left the leash behind, wandered downstairs in my boxers and t-shirt, and let Dusty out as I held the building door. Suddenly a cop car came screaming down the street and for a split second I could envisage Dusty meandering into its path. I just ran, grabbed her and scrambled back toward the front door as it slammed shut. I had no keys, no FOB, no clothes, no shoes, and a leash-less dog. I tried every other apartment in the building. No one was in – it was Thanksgiving after all.

My next thought was the fire-escape. Somehow I managed to get the ladder unhitched from below, and began my way up. Two neighbors appeared out of nowhere, one with a cell-phone, then a sweatshirt, then another turned up with some socks. One brought a hammer to allow me to break into my own place. It was pretty chilly out.

So wielding a hammer, with my boxers doing a Marilyn Monroe in the brisk wind, I am climbing up toward the window when a voice appears out of the blue: “Andrew!” I look down, don’t recognize the guy, suddenly fear I’m on Gawker tomorrow, and carry on. Maybe a Dishhead – I’ve been staggered how many there are of you in NYC (I can’t seem to walk a block without meeting one). But no, he says he’s Robert, a friend of Aaron’s, whom Aaron had persuaded to dog-sit a month ago when I was in LA. “I have your keys! And your fob, if you need it.”

And so, around the corner of the street, an angel arrived. An amazing coincidence? Balancing karma for all those times in life when nothing seems to go right? Divine intervention? You be the judge. But I had reason to be thankful last Thursday. And not only for a warm home for sockless and slightly blue bare feet, and a free country, but for New York City and its inhabitants.

Thanks. The ice is melting.

(Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty.)


Thu Feb 21, 2013 @ 10:51am

New York Shitty, Ctd

Yeah, the beard looks very scraggly in the video we posted last night. But better than it does now: I just got it butchered by yet another bad New York City barber.

Yes, another of my waxing and waning complaints about NYC is the absence of decent, professional barbershops. Well, I don’t mean an actual absence. They’re everywhere, it seems, and yet almost all of the ones I’ve tried are dreadful.

My starter was a Yelp-recommended, first come, first served joint. I put my name down and was told to come back in 30 minutes. Ok. Back 25 minutes later, I was told it could be done in ten minutes. A further half hour of Angry birds later, I asked when I could get my beard trimmed. 20 minutes. Half an hour later, when they started hedging again when I asked, I left. New York City: wait for almost two hours not to get a haircut.

The next one I tried, I asked if they had wifi so I could blog while I waited. They did, so I asked for the password. Instead of simply telling me, the owner asked me to hand him my iPad (to write it in himself), which he then dropped, causing the screen to shatter on the floor.

Instead of apologizing, he first asked – I’m not making this up – if the iPad looked like that before he dropped it. He then insisted I have it repaired by some dude he knew. I said I’d have it repaired at the Apple Store. He harrumphed. I had a thought they might waive the fee for the beard trim. This is New York City: no fucking way.

Then I tried a third barber – recommended by a friend. The dude turned the beard into a lopsided brick. Aaron had to fix it later, and even now my head looks lop-sided. Maybe I’m just unlucky, but it amazes me that New Yorkers have such an attitude about good service when they are not in the city. Where do their expectations come from? This city has the worst service I’ve ever experienced. Yes, it remains impossible to use Time Warner wifi to listen to music on our sound system without it breaking up every few seconds. Yes, AT&T is still a nightmare. No, it doesn’t really get much better, you just get used to living in one of the least competent, self-loving cities I’ve ever known. Maybe over the years, you slowly develop your known competent individuals. From pharmacists bound by Bloomberg’s nannying to a super-intendent who cannot show up to fix a broken doorlock to even UPS (one of my meds was just “found” on the sidewalk outside my apartment by a neighbor), you just find it harder to live here, even as you’re fleeced everywhere you move. The sidewalks almost suck the money from your pockets and give back attitude in return.

And you wonder why I have no worries about Pret-A-Manger. Fawning would be lovely. But actual, simple competence in this city? A miracle.


New York Shitty, Ctd

Andrew Sullivan —  Oct 18 2012 @ 3:39pm

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.

Another:

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.

Another:

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.

New York Shitty

Andrew Sullivan —  Oct 18 2012 @ 12:06pm

The following is the complete thread following Andrew’s move to New York City, dealing with Superstorm Sandy, and the various subsequent discussion with readers.


Wed Oct 10, 2012 – 11:01am:

New York Shitty

After two full weeks of moving to and living in New York City, I just got back to DC for ten days (doctor’s appointments, etc.). All I can say is: what a relief.

Moving is never easy; moving to New York City even harder. Moving to New York while blogging an election was probably too large a leap for an excitable chap like myself. Visiting NYC has always been a thrill. But living there? After the initial wonderland feel, you get to adjust to a whole new rhythm. Just in some basic respects – like getting online or using your phone – it’s like going back in time a little. Time Warner cable … well, I probably don’t need to tell New Yorkers what it’s like there. We bought the most expensive cable package to expedite my work at home – and it just decides to crawl like dial-up every few minutes. My mifi cannot get a signal that’s stable. My iPhone is suddenly iffy – calls are dropped and online access is far slower than in DC. And if you keep your wifi open, it gets grabbed by squeegee hotspots that are hard to get rid of. Not a good time to lose Google maps either.

Then the following: we went to a store and found a couch; they delivered the wrong one. We went to Best Buy to get a new TV; they delivered the wrong one. When they did deliver the right one, the cable-box was dead. We could not get any DVR either. I had to go into the Beast offices to live-blog Obama’s implosion. Scalding hot water comes out of the cold faucet – randomly. And the space we live in is one fifth the size of our place in DC. Just to walk a few blocks requires barging your way through a melee of noise and rudeness and madness. And a glance at your bank account shows a giant sucking sound as the city effectively robs you of all your pennies at every juncture. When you’re there for a few days or a week, it can be bracing. But living with this as a daily fact of life? How does anyone manage it?

I’m told I should give it a few months.  Since our lease is for twelve, I don’t have much choice. Adjustment to NYC is a process. A really long, exasperating, draining process. Do you just have to harden yourself to live as if this is normal? Or will it get better? Please tell me it gets better.


Thu Oct 11, 2012 – 11:12am:

A reader writes:

I stopped you Sunday to say hi while you and your husband were walking the dogs. You had the “fuck this shit” look on your face, so I was hesitant to bother you. But your face changed and you were gracious and kind regardless of how terrible it must be walking dogs in the streets of New York. My wife and I have been here for almost a year and it does get better. You’ll get into a rhythm soon enough. You should have moved to Brooklyn though. Manhattan is a hellish nightmare.

Another is on the same page:

It does gets better. Moving sucks, yes, but New York is the most vibrant, energetic, diverse city on the planet. (And I say this from experience, as a fellow Brit who’s travelled all over the world and previously lived in DC, London, Paris and Moscow.) I hope you had the good sense to move to Brooklyn instead of Manhattan. Brooklyn feels a lot like London to me. Much more livable than the craziness of Manhattan, but still only a short subway ride from that craziness when you do want to immerse yourself in it.

Why do I get the feeling that Brooklyn-living Bodenner edited these emails? Another:

Please don’t tell me you moved to Manhattan. Why? Did you ever consider that the cost of living and the (relative) lack of stress would make Brooklyn or Queens so much more attractive a place to live? I’ve been living in Brooklyn for over 9 years now, and for all the hype and counter-hype that comes with it, there’s a reason I’m still there. I’ve lived in DC for a short while as well, and if you wanted to replicate the Dupont Circle or Adams Morgan life, you’d have done better to go to Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, or (my new neighborhood) Fort Greene.

Another Brooklyn booster:

I assume you made the mistake of moving into Manhattan.  Most out-of-towners who move here think, “Well of course I have to be in Manhattan! That’s where all the action is!” You’ll quickly learn how much and how often Manhattan residents look down on their poor friends who “suffer” in the Burroughs.  Those of us who have made the wise choice of moving to Brooklyn have managed to find a much better balance between the chaos of the city and the desired solitude of home, and we just chuckle at the fools in Manhattan who are under the illusion that they’ve got it so good.

I have a dog, and I work in SoHo, but I live in Prospect Heights in Brooklyn.  Rent is MUCH CHEAPER.  There are trees.  There are less cars, taxis, people.  I take a 25 minute ride on the best subway system in the country to get to work.  When I arrive in SoHo the energy can sometimes be exhilarating and sometimes annoying, especially the sheer volume of tourists.  But after a long day, I hop back on the subway, veg out, come up to the quietude of Brooklyn, and reclaim the bit of my soul that may have been ground down to a pulp during the day.  I can take my dog for a walk that involves negotiating dozens of trees and bushes, choosing from a number of small or large parks, and so forth.

If I were forced to live in Manhattan in order to work here, I would have moved away years ago! Brooklyn is the best of both worlds.

Another:

If you enjoyed your DC lifestyle, and are now dreading the NYC thing, I can only assume that you screwed up and signed a lease in Manhattan. Don’t worry.  It’s a common mistake for people moving here to sign a lease in the city.  Do yourself a favor when you get back to New York.  Pick a beautiful fall day and jump on the subway and go meet one of your friends at the Brooklyn Flea.  Or take a stroll through the north side of Prospect Park (there are much better areas of the park, but that’s a good starter journey).  Take the F train to York St. and walk through DUMBO.  Walk through the brownstone neighborhoods of Fort Greene, Prospect Heights, Park Slope or Brooklyn Heights.  You BELONG here.  You will love it.  I can tell you: It is the best of both worlds.  You are in the city, but you have space.  You have trees.  You have vibrant neighborhoods that feel interconnected.  Trust me on this!

Another:

Come visit Brooklyn!  If you want a reprieve from the madness that is Manhattan (where it sounds you have moved), come check out Brooklyn Heights, Boerum Hill, Park Slope, and the surrounding area.  The food is incredible and varied (Mile End, Bark Hot Dogs, Ample Hills Creamery, the General Greene, Beast restaurant, Salt, Brooklyn Fare, etc etc), the pace is a bit slower (it’s where the yuppies and hipsters move to have their babies so more strollers but less people), the brownstone environs are beautiful, everyone has dogs, and there are a thousand things to see and do.  Your beagles would love Prospect Park or Fort Greene (off-leash before 9AM, where we bring our pup), the brand-new Brooklyn Bridge promenade is a lovely walk with an incredible view of Manhattan, you can spend a day browsing the great crafts at the Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene, the bar scene is much more friendly, less crowded and mostly meathead free, and there is music and events everywhere you turn.

A final selling point:

There are more beards in Brooklyn.


Mon Oct 15, 2012 – 11:30am:

A reader pushes back against the Brooklyn boosters:

For the love of God, do NOT move to Brooklyn! I moved to Manhattan 26 years ago and I have twice been lured into leaving the island by the promise of cheaper rents and tree-lined streets in Brooklyn. Big mistake. That touted “25-minute subway commute” is realistically more like 45-plus-minutes, standing in sardine-can comfort all the way. And that’s after walking a good ten minutes to reach the station, then waiting another ten minutes or so on an overcrowded platform. But learn to love that subway. Because the city you moved here for is miles away, and there are no cruising yellow cabs on those leafy brownstone streets (also fewer 24-hour Korean delis, bank branches, Greek diners, visible human life, etc.). And if you hail a cab in Manhattan to take you home at night, there’s a 50-50 chance the driver will simply refuse the fare.

I have returned home to Manhattan. There’s a reason we pay more to live here. And there’s a reason Brooklyn requires “boosters.”

Hundreds of readers are offering their varied perspectives on the city. One writes:

Everything you describe about your move to NYC reminds me of my move there a decade ago.  The pervasive crowdedness, the smell, the herculean efforts necessary to accomplish even minor chores.  It is draining.  But it does get better. At some point, you start to realize that NYC has changed you, that your rhythm is in sync with the city’s, that you are full of energy, and that nothing can get in your way, because you are a New Yorker.  I fell in love with NYC.  But after six years, it started to wear on me again – the constant struggle for scarce resources (like a table at a favorite restaurant), the bridge and tunnel traffic, the pedestrian rage at tourists walking too slowly.  I ultimately escaped to San Francisco, where life truly is better, but I cherish the time I spent in NYC and know that I am stronger and more resilient for it.  Hang in there!

Another:

I say this as someone whose entire family grew up in NYC, who has lived in NYC for three years, but who grew up in South Philadelphia and lived for seven years in New Orleans: It doesn’t get better.

New York, and by that I mean Manhattan, is incredibly overrated. The inconveniences multiply; they don’t diminish. People get more self-righteous and myopic, not less. What happens is that you adjust yourself to find camaraderie with neighbors with regard to these annoyances. And then you force yourself to take advantage of things like museums and art galleries and early movie openings to develop a layer of smug that also helps you find camaraderie with fellow NYers.

Then what happens is that you get meta-smug about New York, where you talk about how you love Brooklyn so much more than Manhattan and then you get meta-meta smug where you think Brooklyn was so 2003 and Astoria and Jackson Heights are really where it’s at. And that’s how you find camaraderie at a layer deeper.

But mostly New York isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and there are lots of other cooler, more down to earth, places in America – like Philadelphia and New Orleans!

Another:

I lived in NYC for a bit more than 15 years, and I can tell you: Yes, it does get better. But not any time soon. Learning to live in NYC means learning that you are not, in fact, the boss of yourself. You are dependent on and surrounded by so many others, the massive aging infrastructure, the constant roiling disorder. Once you give up your grasping for control, it becomes much much easier. Just know this: the subway will make you late when you most need it to be on time. The taxis will be all full when it’s raining, and they will sometimes splash you as they pass. The store will be on the other side of town when you need that certain thing. The restaurant will be booked when you’re out for a special dinner.

But you must also know this: you will never really understand the full range of human expression without living in New York. You will see confrontations and moments of tenderness on the subway that will make you marvel. You’ll come to really appreciate just how hard immigrants work to provide for their families, especially if you are on the platform at 6 am, seeing working-class folks going to work and coming home. You will eat the most delicious food and be able to access any kind of art that suits you.

Yes, it sucks setting up house, dealing with those companies that have a stranglehold. But to fall in love with NYC, get out of the house, walk 30 blocks, ride the subway home. It’ll do you good.

Another:

Oh where to start. Nowhere else in the world will the love/hate relationship with a city be as lively as our New York. I have been here for 12 years. I can’t imagine living anywhere else. It will be maddening every single day of the year. It will be filthy. It will be rude. It will be expensive. It will drive you insane. You will also fall in love with it.

One day you will wake up and something will happen that will change your view of it forever. It may be Washington Square park, with its chess playing hustlers plying their ways next to a guy playing Chopin on a grand piano. Or perhaps the upcoming Halloween parade in Greenwich village, with an assortment of freaks only New York can produce. You may find yourself on the subway watching Wall St. guys beat-box with a couple of kids from Bed-Stuy (I saw this last week).

The day after the 9/11 attack I was hundreds of miles away. I was told by my office to stay in Chicago. I drove back with a friend. I needed to be back. I needed to be among New Yorkers. People thought I was crazy. Why would anyone want to go back there? It’s an inexplicable feeling of oneness with a place. You may find your temperament is better suited to D.C. If you are lucky you will become one of us.

Another quotes me:

“Just to walk a few blocks requires barging your way through a melee of noise and rudeness and madness.” Are you sure you’re in New York, and not some other city? Manhattanites are in, my experience, the friendliest, funniest people in the world. They are unfailingly helpful in a pinch, and it’s almost impossible not to have a conversation with at least one total stranger each day.

As for the rest of it, what can I say? You’re having a bad run of luck, but it cannot be called typical. I live in Greenwich Village, and I often say that our neighborhood is the most convenient in the world. Everything you want or need is within a few blocks, and we have easy access to the best museums, theatres, cinemas, and clubs. (Saw you at the Metropolitan Room, by the way; my husband and I both adored Sharon Clark.)

Another:

Those people bumping into you on the sidewalk or shouting at each other in the street … are they being rude? No! This is the kind of forced intimacy that comes from living in such a densely-packed mass of humanity. It makes New Yorkers more open, more honest; they wear their hearts on their sleeves. It actually makes me think of the way you write – no minced words.

One day several years back, my wife was jogging across the street and a car bumped into her – the car was barely moving, so it was nothing serious, but it was enough to knock her down. Before she had even brushed herself off there were two New Yorkers helping her out and screaming at the driver about what an idiot he was. So go into this with an open mind.

Another:

I love New York, because everyone is from somewhere, and differences are accepted here. My wife said her quintessential New York moment was in the hospital after the birth of our child. Her breastfeeding class consisted of herself – a Caucasian woman with an half-Asian child, an Orthodox Jewish woman, a South Asian woman, a Latina mom, and the instructor, a male to female transgender nurse. None of the women batted an eyelash – everyone was focused on trying to learn what to do with their babies.

One more:

Here was my week last week: Tuesday, I saw Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder in 3D at Film Forum, and had Texas-style breakfast tacos and scotch in a bar with no sign on Houston Street. Wednesday I blundered into a tap-dancing jazz jam session at Small’s that was actually killer. At it I met an old man, a gallery owner who started writing poetry again after meeting a woman. He showed me his poems – dirty good stuff – which I ended up buying off of him. Then I spent the rest of the night at the Village Vanguard watching John Coltrane’s son tear the place up, under a big photo of his father. On Thursday I went to a book launch of Charles Portis’ new one, featuring Roy Blount Jr., Calvin Trillin and Ian Frazier, the proceeds of which went towards providing housing for homeless AIDS victims. Friday was spent at a comedy club.

And so on and so on. There’s simply no place like it. Greatest city on earth!


Tue Oct 16, 2012 – 11:10am:

New York Shitty: Survival Tips

Scores of kind readers are offering advice:

NYC is, in fact, the easiest place to live once you’re settled. Cabs are plentiful (except between 4-7pm), the subway never closes, and there’s a bodega or Duane Reade within a two-block radius wherever you are.  You simply don’t have to move around much to survive.  And have you seen the variety of food delivery options on SeamlessWeb? The last time I was in DC, the website offered me maybe 20 options, but almost anywhere in NYC seamless will offer 50-60!

I love that cabs are plentiful – except when you most need them. I’ve spent up to half an hour finding a cab with its light on as available – as opposed to off-duty – between 4 pm and 7 pm. Even as a visitor, I simply walk. I cycle everywhere in DC but the traffic aggression in NYC would keep me on the river cycle paths. Using one to get around would be more scary than I’m used to. Another:

Cost can be mitigated if you don’t have a car.  Zipcar can be very useful for weekend shopping runs. Don’t shop at the local bodega unless you must, avoid the local supermarket if you can.  Trader Joe’s or Fairway are the places to go – and you should to avoid the very tempting option of ordering amazing delivery every night.  Try to avoid cabs if you can.  Get a good pair of shoes and a metrocard.

We don’t have a car. God knows what people do who have one. The kitchen is so tiny there’s also a limit on food storage. Another:

Stay away from Times Square. Just. Stay. Away. Watching tourists eat at Olive Garden or Sbarros is flat out depressing.

No worries in that department. Trust me. That “intricate rented world” does not excite. It bores and depresses. So much light for so much getting. Another:

It sounds like you have AT&T on your cellphone. My advice is drop them. Pay whatever it takes to get out of your contract. AT&T does not work in NYC. I had them for four years and I swear every other call would get dropped and my data service would randomly cut out for hours at a time. Go to Verizon. It’s the most reliable service in NYC.

Working on it. Again, more money. To do even the slightest thing, you get fleeced. More technical advice:

Some flavors of WiFi share spectrum with other devices and appliances. Older versions would see temporary dropouts or slow-downs whenever someone microwaved popcorn because the frequencies were similar. Even with the newer models, you can see interference with other devices in the area. Also, of someone is BitTorrenting in your area, they may be sucking up all the bandwidth for everyone in your area. Another possibility is that someone has jumped on your WiFi and is piggybacking on your account. You do have a good password set up, don’t you? Here’s an article that might can help: “Six Wi-Fi problems and how to fix them”

Another:

Time Warner is the devil. If you can get Verizon FiOS where you live, go with that. It’s apparently a million times better. If you’re stuck with Time Warner then you just have to deal. If you’re having some technical problems with their service (and who isn’t; I currently am) then try tweeting at them. You have enough followers that they’ll get back to you pretty quick. Their Twitter customer service can be pretty decent and if you’re persistent, you’ll get through to their T3 support. The T3 support guys are actually super helpful and competent and should be able to resolve your problems as well as they possibly can.

Another:

Forget Best Buy. Instead, go to J&R Music, B&H Photo, Adorama, Tekserve, or your closest Apple Store. Also, if you have a doorman or package service, definitely buy an Amazon Prime membership and use it as much as possible.  You’ll get much better prices and better service on almost anything.

Also, FreshDirect is mighty convenient – but Trader Joe’s and Fairway Uptown and Costco (115th and FDR) are cheaper.

Another:

If you’re trying to navigate NYC and your Google Maps (or, heaven forbid, Apple Maps) aren’t working, try picking up the Not For Tourist guide to NYC. It’s great. Detailed maps, restaurant and bar listings, and a bunch other stuff. Pardon the cliche, but i never leave home without it. You can find it here.

Another:

Never do laundry again. Someone will do it for you, fold it and bring it back to your apt. Dress shirts get dropped off and unlike DC, someone brings them back to your apt.

Yet another:

Don’t be in a rush. Stuck on the train? There’s nothing you can do about it, so why feel guilty or responsible for it? Think about how lucky you are to be reading a book on the train rather than stuck in traffic in a car, where you can’t read while waiting to start moving again.

Another:

Mooch or splurge, but find a place to go on the weekends. The Catskills, the Berkshires, Bucks County, there are plenty of low-fi options. A couple of quiet days away (i.e. NOT the Hamptons, Fire Island, or the Jersey Shore) are a necessary yin to the constant yang.

Experience something that is “the best” in NYC. Subscribe to the Met Opera, join MoMA, become a foodie or a theater queen. Do something that makes being in NYC a demonstrable advantage to the rest of the world.

Finally, and simply, walk. Walk everywhere. Walk all the time. Walk it off.

One more reader:

My advice to you?  The best part of living in the city is how easy it is to leave it.  Take weekend trips via MTA North and visit Tarrytown, Ossining, and Dobbs Ferry.  The Fall also happens to be the nicest time of year to soak in the foliage of the Hudson Valley.  I trust it will also provide some relief from the stress of election season …


Thu Oct 18, 2012 – 3:02pm:

New York Shitty, Ctd

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.

Another:

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!


Mon Oct 29, 2012 – 9.05pm:

The View From My Window

Window

West Village, New York City, 8.55 pm


Wed, Oct 31, 2012 – 2.41pm:

Sandy Hits The Dish

The hurricane has screwed up email service to the Dish account (andrew@thedailybeast.com), so we haven’t been receiving most of the emails sent by Dish readers this week.  If you sent us an email since Monday night, please resend it using the following makeshift address: andrew@dishemail.com.

On a personal level, my wonderful introduction to New York City continues. We’ve had no power since Sunday night, and no idea when that might end. Even charged cell-phones south of 29th Street get no service at all (which is a tiny deterioration from AT&T’s usual service). There is no hot water. Even better, the front door to our building works on an electric FOB system, which, of course, has failed. So for a while, only one of us could leave the building at any one time. This made life a little difficult. Eventually we found a master key, which allowed me to escape today to get some work done.

I’m blogging today from a midtown Starbucks, where every available electrical outlet is being used by displaced downtowners. The atmosphere around me is probably like rush-hour in Calcutta. I want to thank my colleagues, all of whom have electric power, for doing such an amazing job yesterday and today. And my love to New York City, which has instantly plunged me from the developed world into a pitch black and increasingly cold Halloween. I keep saying to myself: It Gets Better.

Well, it cannot get any worse, can it? Can it?


Thu Nov 1, 2012 – 12.21pm:

New York Not So Shitty

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A reader writes:

You’re in a Starbucks, connected to the Internet. You have a bed to sleep in and your husband and pets are with you. You’re doing pretty well. Think of it this way: You could have moved to Breezy Point.

That much I don’t dispute. We’re fine, and I’m now blogging at Patrick’s way uptown. My only real issue is my CPAP machine, which is trivial compared with goodness knows how many old folks trapped in high-rises, with more vital medical needs. This time I’m not complaining. Last night, the moon came out and the deserted dark streets of the Village were lit just from the sky. It was surreal and serene. At this point, I think of my initiation into New York has a kind of baptism, where they’ve kept me below the surface long enough for me to be extra-grateful when we get, say, electricity. Another:

You said: “Well, it cannot get any worse, can it? Can it?” I grew up in Manhattan and lived there for 25 years of my life.  I never experienced anything close to what New Yorkers are going through now.  There have been blackouts, but nothing sustained like this.  Even 9/11 wasn’t this bad – quality of living-wise. That was obviously deeply, mortally traumatic, but it didn’t involve a lengthy period living in what are essentially third-world conditions. What I’m saying is, this is the worst it has ever been in this city.  I’d love to say that it can’t get any worse, but I didn’t even think it could get this bad!

Another:

I’ve still got a friend in Queens I can’t contact. I hope she’s okay and I don’t really have reason to think otherwise, but worry isn’t always rational. You may already recognize that for many New Yorkers seeing Manhattan hobbled and emergency workers endangering themselves rekindles a collective 9/11 PTSD. But one of the things that makes NY great (I’m from the West Coast but moved here 15 years ago) is the way New Yorkers, for all of their faults and divisions, relate to each other in the midst of disaster.

I know how trite this will sound but I must: This great and flawed city is not the problem, Andrew, and the more we confront adversity together the stronger we’ll be. Yeah, sometimes it sucks – a lot – but being able to see the imperfect beauty in each other amidst the filth and rubble is part of what makes life worth living.

Indeed. Several friends have offered us an air mattress uptown, a hot shower, and the little neighborhood restaurant, Moustache, even served dinner by candlelight, since their ovens are all gas-based. The soup was gratis. Outside on a usually busy street, a young man was throwing a lacrosse ball against the walls of a construction site. To wit:

We’re all used to the Hollywood idea of post-apocalyptic America–men in fatigues roaming around with guns, looting and killing. What happened when my little village of Pelham was struck by the worst storm in its history–trees down everywhere, a dozen homes destroyed, vast damage–no power or phones. Although we sit on the water of Long Island Sound, the surge was pretty modest, so no flooding–that was the blessing. So what happened?

As soon as the storm subsided, neighbors were coming by: are you okay? was anyone injured? do you need batteries, milk, eggs? Tom down the street has a generator and anybody who needs to recharge phones or laptops can hook up. (Tom set up a charging station for neighbors in front of his garage.) On day two, when a few houses got power back, those who had it were advertising their services to neighbors–come by and take a hot shower! We’ll hold your freezer things. You’re welcome to sit in our living room and read–no flashlight required!

That afternoon, the local pharmacy and grocery reopened–handing out bags to customers–put your freezer things in this bag with your name, and we’ll freeze it for you! Phone company, fire, police crews out at once, working hard. People stopping by giving them a thermos of coffee or some fresh baked muffins. Spirits very upbeat. People extraordinarily kind and friendly. Now that’s the America I want to think about. In times of disaster, people share and come together. And that much maligned government? It works, and it’s there for you when you need it.

Another:

Maybe you should go back to D.C. or P-Town.

After weathering the storm here in Harlem with my family (where we, despite some sketchy moments, retained electricity and hot water throughout), I set out downtown to check on my below-ground storefront business, located in the East Village. I was worried about flooding, even though I had prepared. I knew I did not have electricity. I didn’t know what to expect. Before I even left my building, I was greeted by neighbors, asking if I needed anything.

I got into my car and turned on the radio, but sick of NPR and news radio I decided to switch over to Hot 97, the urban/hip-hop station. A tribute to Run-DMC’s slain DJ, Jam Master Jay, was playing (this at about 9am). DJ Enuff, a NYC mainstay since the ’90s, had been DJing for 21 straight hours – none of the other DJs could make it in.

As I drove slowly through Spanish Harlem, the Upper East Side, and down into Midtown, I rolled down my windows and turned the volume all the way up as “Hard Times” blared through the speakers. I nearly wept. This, I felt, was the New York I fell in love with. The DJs, so long a cornerstone of our culture, were still at work. The radio was still on. And as confused tourists wandered the streets, New Yorkers got down to the work of putting their lives back together.

At 39th Street the traffic lights turned dark. I got downtown and parked my car in an illegal spot with a policeman’s blessing. The streets were flooded with people. Everyone was caring and obliging. I checked on a friend in the neighborhood, who I hadn’t heard from since the day before. We had a smoke and decided to walk around. He told me that the night before had been a blast. It seemed like the party was rolling on.

We’ve done this through 9/11, The Blackout, and countless blizzards. This city is at its best in crisis. When life gives us lemons, we make lemonade and spike that bitch.

The fact that you are crouching in your apartment, put upon by events and wed to a Starbucks (of all places!) says to me that you are not cut out to be here. And we do not want you if you do not want us. Love the blog and read it multiple times a day. Just calling as I see it, as my fellow NYers are wont to do.

Another:

I love that you’re blogging from a Starbucks in Midtown. I love how you’re suffering the storm right alongside all the folks who don’t have a world famous blog, even if it’s not a choice. New York is an intense, hyper-competitive, loud, dirty, and difficult place, and the best thing about it is that the guy with the turban, the drag queen, the stockbroker, and the big fat black lady all make it through the daily difficulty alongside each other.  At this moment, my Brooklyn neighbors are handing out Tilapia to trick-or-treaters. So there’s that too. Rich, poor, or in-between, everyone here is crazy.

All of us will bitch every day about the difficulties of the city, but we’ll all end up helping each other at one time or another too.  And helping here is different than helping in other places around the world, because the variety and chaos makes it harder here. It’s harder to help because so much angst and resistance builds inside of us, as New Yorkers. It’s harder to help because we’re often ‘other’ to each other, in a different class or ethnic group, etc. So when the shit hits and it’s everyone in, and you help, there’s no place on earth you’ll feel more connected.  The money, race, lifestyle boundaries come down, the seething hostility is overcome, and god mutherfuckin’ dammit, we are one!

By the way, all your complaining about New York is essentially turning you into a New Yorker. You are not alone, brother. We all hate it and that’s why we all love it.

I think I’m beginning to get it now.

(Photo: East Village residents enjoy a bonfire on October 31, 2012 in New York City. Superstorm Sandy has claimed several dozen lives in the United States and has caused massive flooding across much of the Atlantic seaboard. By Allison Joyce/Getty Images)


Fri Nov 2, 2012 – 1:17pm:

The Glamorous Life Of A New York Blogger

So here I am, perched in a Dunkin Donuts, just north of the Dark Zone in NYC, blogging for as long as my mifi hangs in, with 53 minutes left on my laptop.

Last night was pretty chilly: one of the hounds crawled under the bed covers, the other buried herself under a blanket on the sofa. Still total darkness at night; punctuated by the occasional flash of police car lights. I cannot imagine how the elderly or those in high rises are managing.

It remains astounding to me that the power can go out for the lower half of New York City for five whole days. We’re now told that we will have power by tomorrow night at 11 pm. I believe that the way I believe Mitt Romney. But almost as astounding as the developing world infrastructure here is the way in which New Yorkers – so rude and oblivious most of the time – have rallied, helped each other, smiled, and carried on. What a welcome. The best of New York and the worst – hidden in unfathomable darkness from dusk onward.


Mon Nov 26, 2012 – 1.13pm:

New York Not So Shitty, Ctd

You were probably waiting for this post. But here was my Thanksgiving Day. Aaron was away in Rio promoting his new movie, “Bear City 2”. I was planning on a good day of sleep and a dinner with one old and one new friend. But our older dog, Dusty, has been getting a little incontinent lately (she’s 15) and we try and take her outside as soon as we get up to avoid messes in the apartment. 107076611Usually, in DC or Ptown, this is pretty easy. I stumble to the front door, open it, wait for her to wander a little bit, pee and come back for a treat. If it’s early, I meander wearily back to bed.

But this is New York City and I hadn’t even had any coffee yet. So I left the leash behind, wandered downstairs in my boxers and t-shirt, and let Dusty out as I held the building door. Suddenly a cop car came screaming down the street and for a split second I could envisage Dusty meandering into its path. I just ran, grabbed her and scrambled back toward the front door as it slammed shut. I had no keys, no FOB, no clothes, no shoes, and a leash-less dog. I tried every other apartment in the building. No one was in – it was Thanksgiving after all.

My next thought was the fire-escape. Somehow I managed to get the ladder unhitched from below, and began my way up. Two neighbors appeared out of nowhere, one with a cell-phone, then a sweatshirt, then another turned up with some socks. One brought a hammer to allow me to break into my own place. It was pretty chilly out.

So wielding a hammer, with my boxers doing a Marilyn Monroe in the brisk wind, I am climbing up toward the window when a voice appears out of the blue: “Andrew!” I look down, don’t recognize the guy, suddenly fear I’m on Gawker tomorrow, and carry on. Maybe a Dishhead – I’ve been staggered how many there are of you in NYC (I can’t seem to walk a block without meeting one). But no, he says he’s Robert, a friend of Aaron’s, whom Aaron had persuaded to dog-sit a month ago when I was in LA. “I have your keys! And your fob, if you need it.”

And so, around the corner of the street, an angel arrived. An amazing coincidence? Balancing karma for all those times in life when nothing seems to go right? Divine intervention? You be the judge. But I had reason to be thankful last Thursday. And not only for a warm home for sockless and slightly blue bare feet, and a free country, but for New York City and its inhabitants.

Thanks. The ice is melting.

(Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty.)


New York Shitty: Survival Tips

Andrew Sullivan —  Oct 16 2012 @ 11:10am

Scores of kind readers are offering advice:

NYC is, in fact, the easiest place to live once you're settled. Cabs are plentiful (except between 4-7pm), the subway never closes, and there's a bodega or Duane Reade within a two-block radius wherever you are.  You simply don't have to move around much to survive.  And have you seen the variety of food delivery options on SeamlessWeb? The last time I was in DC, the website offered me maybe 20 options, but almost anywhere in NYC seamless will offer 50-60!

I love that cabs are plentiful – except when you most need them. I've spent up to half an hour finding a cab with its light on as available – as opposed to off-duty – between 4 pm and 7 pm. Even as a visitor, I simply walk. I cycle everywhere in DC but the traffic aggression in NYC would keep me on the river cycle paths. Using one to get around would be more scary than I'm used to. Another:

Cost can be mitigated if you don't have a car.  Zipcar can be very useful for weekend shopping runs. Don't shop at the local bodega unless you must, avoid the local supermarket if you can.  Trader Joe's or Fairway are the places to go – and you should to avoid the very tempting option of ordering amazing delivery every night.  Try to avoid cabs if you can.  Get a good pair of shoes and a metrocard.

We don't have a car. God knows what people do who have one. The kitchen is so tiny there's also a limit on food storage. Another:

Stay away from Times Square. Just. Stay. Away. Watching tourists eat at Olive Garden or Sbarros is flat out depressing.

No worries in that department. Trust me. That "intricate rented world" does not excite. It bores and depresses. So much light for so much getting. Another:

It sounds like you have AT&T on your cellphone. My advice is drop them. Pay whatever it takes to get out of your contract. AT&T does not work in NYC. I had them for four years and I swear every other call would get dropped and my data service would randomly cut out for hours at a time. Go to Verizon. It's the most reliable service in NYC.

Working on it. Again, more money. To do even the slightest thing, you get fleeced. More technical advice:

Some flavors of WiFi share spectrum with other devices and appliances. Older versions would see temporary dropouts or slow-downs whenever someone microwaved popcorn because the frequencies were similar. Even with the newer models, you can see interference with other devices in the area. Also, of someone is BitTorrenting in your area, they may be sucking up all the bandwidth for everyone in your area. Another possibility is that someone has jumped on your WiFi and is piggybacking on your account. You do have a good password set up, don't you? Here's an article that might can help: "Six Wi-Fi problems and how to fix them"

Another:

Time Warner is the devil. If you can get Verizon FiOS where you live, go with that. It's apparently a million times better. If you're stuck with Time Warner then you just have to deal. If you're having some technical problems with their service (and who isn't; I currently am) then try tweeting at them. You have enough followers that they'll get back to you pretty quick. Their Twitter customer service can be pretty decent and if you're persistent, you'll get through to their T3 support. The T3 support guys are actually super helpful and competent and should be able to resolve your problems as well as they possibly can.

Another:

Forget Best Buy. Instead, go to J&R Music, B&H Photo, Adorama, Tekserve, or your closest Apple Store. Also, if you have a doorman or package service, definitely buy an Amazon Prime membership and use it as much as possible.  You'll get much better prices and better service on almost anything.

Also, FreshDirect is mighty convenient – but Trader Joe's and Fairway Uptown and Costco (115th and FDR) are cheaper.

Another:

If you're trying to navigate NYC and your Google Maps (or, heaven forbid, Apple Maps) aren't working, try picking up the Not For Tourist guide to NYC. It's great. Detailed maps, restaurant and bar listings, and a bunch other stuff. Pardon the cliche, but i never leave home without it. You can find it here.

Another:

Never do laundry again. Someone will do it for you, fold it and bring it back to your apt. Dress shirts get dropped off and unlike DC, someone brings them back to your apt.

Yet another:

Don't be in a rush. Stuck on the train? There's nothing you can do about it, so why feel guilty or responsible for it? Think about how lucky you are to be reading a book on the train rather than stuck in traffic in a car, where you can't read while waiting to start moving again.

Another:

Mooch or splurge, but find a place to go on the weekends. The Catskills, the Berkshires, Bucks County, there are plenty of low-fi options. A couple of quiet days away (i.e. NOT the Hamptons, Fire Island, or the Jersey Shore) are a necessary yin to the constant yang.

Experience something that is "the best" in NYC. Subscribe to the Met Opera, join MoMA, become a foodie or a theater queen. Do something that makes being in NYC a demonstrable advantage to the rest of the world.

Finally, and simply, walk. Walk everywhere. Walk all the time. Walk it off.

One more reader:

My advice to you?  The best part of living in the city is how easy it is to leave it.  Take weekend trips via MTA North and visit Tarrytown, Ossining, and Dobbs Ferry.  The Fall also happens to be the nicest time of year to soak in the foliage of the Hudson Valley.  I trust it will also provide some relief from the stress of election season … 

New York Shitty, Ctd

Andrew Sullivan —  Oct 15 2012 @ 11:30am

A reader pushes back against the Brooklyn boosters:

For the love of God, do NOT move to Brooklyn! I moved to Manhattan 26 years ago and I have twice been lured into leaving the island by the promise of cheaper rents and tree-lined streets in Brooklyn. Big mistake. That touted "25-minute subway commute" is realistically more like 45-plus-minutes, standing in sardine-can comfort all the way. And that's after walking a good ten minutes to reach the station, then waiting another ten minutes or so on an overcrowded platform. But learn to love that subway. Because the city you moved here for is miles away, and there are no cruising yellow cabs on those leafy brownstone streets (also fewer 24-hour Korean delis, bank branches, Greek diners, visible human life, etc.). And if you hail a cab in Manhattan to take you home at night, there's a 50-50 chance the driver will simply refuse the fare.

I have returned home to Manhattan. There's a reason we pay more to live here. And there's a reason Brooklyn requires "boosters."

Hundreds of readers are offering their varied perspectives on the city. One writes:

Everything you describe about your move to NYC reminds me of my move there a decade ago.  The pervasive crowdedness, the smell, the herculean efforts necessary to accomplish even minor chores.  It is draining.  But it does get better. At some point, you start to realize that NYC has changed you, that your rhythm is in sync with the city's, that you are full of energy, and that nothing can get in your way, because you are a New Yorker.  I fell in love with NYC.  But after six years, it started to wear on me again – the constant struggle for scarce resources (like a table at a favorite restaurant), the bridge and tunnel traffic, the pedestrian rage at tourists walking too slowly.  I ultimately escaped to San Francisco, where life truly is better, but I cherish the time I spent in NYC and know that I am stronger and more resilient for it.  Hang in there!

Another:

I say this as someone whose entire family grew up in NYC, who has lived in NYC for three years, but who grew up in South Philadelphia and lived for seven years in New Orleans: It doesn't get better.

New York, and by that I mean Manhattan, is incredibly overrated. The inconveniences multiply; they don't diminish. People get more self-righteous and myopic, not less. What happens is that you adjust yourself to find camaraderie with neighbors with regard to these annoyances. And then you force yourself to take advantage of things like museums and art galleries and early movie openings to develop a layer of smug that also helps you find camaraderie with fellow NYers.

Then what happens is that you get meta-smug about New York, where you talk about how you love Brooklyn so much more than Manhattan and then you get meta-meta smug where you think Brooklyn was so 2003 and Astoria and Jackson Heights are really where it's at. And that's how you find camaraderie at a layer deeper.

But mostly New York isn't all it's cracked up to be and there are lots of other cooler, more down to earth, places in America – like Philadelphia and New Orleans!

Another:

I lived in NYC for a bit more than 15 years, and I can tell you: Yes, it does get better. But not any time soon. Learning to live in NYC means learning that you are not, in fact, the boss of yourself. You are dependent on and surrounded by so many others, the massive aging infrastructure, the constant roiling disorder. Once you give up your grasping for control, it becomes much much easier. Just know this: the subway will make you late when you most need it to be on time. The taxis will be all full when it's raining, and they will sometimes splash you as they pass. The store will be on the other side of town when you need that certain thing. The restaurant will be booked when you're out for a special dinner.

But you must also know this: you will never really understand the full range of human expression without living in New York. You will see confrontations and moments of tenderness on the subway that will make you marvel. You'll come to really appreciate just how hard immigrants work to provide for their families, especially if you are on the platform at 6 am, seeing working-class folks going to work and coming home. You will eat the most delicious food and be able to access any kind of art that suits you.

Yes, it sucks setting up house, dealing with those companies that have a stranglehold. But to fall in love with NYC, get out of the house, walk 30 blocks, ride the subway home. It'll do you good.

Another:

Oh where to start. Nowhere else in the world will the love/hate relationship with a city be as lively as our New York. I have been here for 12 years. I can't imagine living anywhere else. It will be maddening every single day of the year. It will be filthy. It will be rude. It will be expensive. It will drive you insane. You will also fall in love with it.

One day you will wake up and something will happen that will change your view of it forever. It may be Washington Square park, with its chess playing hustlers plying their ways next to a guy playing Chopin on a grand piano. Or perhaps the upcoming Halloween parade in Greenwich village, with an assortment of freaks only New York can produce. You may find yourself on the subway watching Wall St. guys beat-box with a couple of kids from Bed-Stuy (I saw this last week).

The day after the 9/11 attack I was hundreds of miles away. I was told by my office to stay in Chicago. I drove back with a friend. I needed to be back. I needed to be among New Yorkers. People thought I was crazy. Why would anyone want to go back there? It's an inexplicable feeling of oneness with a place. You may find your temperament is better suited to D.C. If you are lucky you will become one of us.

Another quotes me:

"Just to walk a few blocks requires barging your way through a melee of noise and rudeness and madness." Are you sure you’re in New York, and not some other city? Manhattanites are in, my experience, the friendliest, funniest people in the world. They are unfailingly helpful in a pinch, and it’s almost impossible not to have a conversation with at least one total stranger each day.

As for the rest of it, what can I say? You’re having a bad run of luck, but it cannot be called typical. I live in Greenwich Village, and I often say that our neighborhood is the most convenient in the world. Everything you want or need is within a few blocks, and we have easy access to the best museums, theatres, cinemas, and clubs. (Saw you at the Metropolitan Room, by the way; my husband and I both adored Sharon Clark.)

Another:

Those people bumping into you on the sidewalk or shouting at each other in the street … are they being rude? No! This is the kind of forced intimacy that comes from living in such a densely-packed mass of humanity. It makes New Yorkers more open, more honest; they wear their hearts on their sleeves. It actually makes me think of the way you write – no minced words.

One day several years back, my wife was jogging across the street and a car bumped into her – the car was barely moving, so it was nothing serious, but it was enough to knock her down. Before she had even brushed herself off there were two New Yorkers helping her out and screaming at the driver about what an idiot he was. So go into this with an open mind.

Another:

I love New York, because everyone is from somewhere, and differences are accepted here. My wife said her quintessential New York moment was in the hospital after the birth of our child. Her breastfeeding class consisted of herself – a Caucasian woman with an half-Asian child, an Orthodox Jewish woman, a South Asian woman, a Latina mom, and the instructor, a male to female transgender nurse. None of the women batted an eyelash – everyone was focused on trying to learn what to do with their babies.

One more:

Here was my week last week: Tuesday, I saw Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder in 3D at Film Forum, and had Texas-style breakfast tacos and scotch in a bar with no sign on Houston Street. Wednesday I blundered into a tap-dancing jazz jam session at Small’s that was actually killer. At it I met an old man, a gallery owner who started writing poetry again after meeting a woman. He showed me his poems – dirty good stuff – which I ended up buying off of him. Then I spent the rest of the night at the Village Vanguard watching John Coltrane’s son tear the place up, under a big photo of his father. On Thursday I went to a book launch of Charles Portis’ new one, featuring Roy Blount Jr., Calvin Trillin and Ian Frazier, the proceeds of which went towards providing housing for homeless AIDS victims. Friday was spent at a comedy club.

And so on and so on. There’s simply no place like it. Greatest city on earth!

New York Shitty, Ctd

Andrew Sullivan —  Oct 11 2012 @ 11:12am

A reader writes:

I stopped you Sunday to say hi while you and your husband were walking the dogs. You had the "fuck this shit" look on your face, so I was hesitant to bother you. But your face changed and you were gracious and kind regardless of how terrible it must be walking dogs in the streets of New York. My wife and I have been here for almost a year and it does get better. You'll get into a rhythm soon enough. You should have moved to Brooklyn though. Manhattan is a hellish nightmare.

Another is on the same page:

It does gets better. Moving sucks, yes, but New York is the most vibrant, energetic, diverse city on the planet. (And I say this from experience, as a fellow Brit who's travelled all over the world and previously lived in DC, London, Paris and Moscow.) I hope you had the good sense to move to Brooklyn instead of Manhattan. Brooklyn feels a lot like London to me. Much more livable than the craziness of Manhattan, but still only a short subway ride from that craziness when you do want to immerse yourself in it.

Why do I get the feeling that Brooklyn-living Bodenner edited these emails? Another:

Please don't tell me you moved to Manhattan. Why? Did you ever consider that the cost of living and the (relative) lack of stress would make Brooklyn or Queens so much more attractive a place to live? I've been living in Brooklyn for over 9 years now, and for all the hype and counter-hype that comes with it, there's a reason I'm still there. I've lived in DC for a short while as well, and if you wanted to replicate the Dupont Circle or Adams Morgan life, you'd have done better to go to Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, or (my new neighborhood) Fort Greene.

Another Brooklyn booster:

I assume you made the mistake of moving into Manhattan.  Most out-of-towners who move here think, "Well of course I have to be in Manhattan! That's where all the action is!" You'll quickly learn how much and how often Manhattan residents look down on their poor friends who "suffer" in the Burroughs.  Those of us who have made the wise choice of moving to Brooklyn have managed to find a much better balance between the chaos of the city and the desired solitude of home, and we just chuckle at the fools in Manhattan who are under the illusion that they've got it so good.

I have a dog, and I work in SoHo, but I live in Prospect Heights in Brooklyn.  Rent is MUCH CHEAPER.  There are trees.  There are less cars, taxis, people.  I take a 25 minute ride on the best subway system in the country to get to work.  When I arrive in SoHo the energy can sometimes be exhilarating and sometimes annoying, especially the sheer volume of tourists.  But after a long day, I hop back on the subway, veg out, come up to the quietude of Brooklyn, and reclaim the bit of my soul that may have been ground down to a pulp during the day.  I can take my dog for a walk that involves negotiating dozens of trees and bushes, choosing from a number of small or large parks, and so forth.

If I were forced to live in Manhattan in order to work here, I would have moved away years ago! Brooklyn is the best of both worlds.

Another:

If you enjoyed your DC lifestyle, and are now dreading the NYC thing, I can only assume that you screwed up and signed a lease in Manhattan. Don’t worry.  It’s a common mistake for people moving here to sign a lease in the city.  Do yourself a favor when you get back to New York.  Pick a beautiful fall day and jump on the subway and go meet one of your friends at the Brooklyn Flea.  Or take a stroll through the north side of Prospect Park (there are much better areas of the park, but that’s a good starter journey).  Take the F train to York St. and walk through DUMBO.  Walk through the brownstone neighborhoods of Fort Greene, Prospect Heights, Park Slope or Brooklyn Heights.  You BELONG here.  You will love it.  I can tell you: It is the best of both worlds.  You are in the city, but you have space.  You have trees.  You have vibrant neighborhoods that feel interconnected.  Trust me on this!

Another:

Come visit Brooklyn!  If you want a reprieve from the madness that is Manhattan (where it sounds you have moved), come check out Brooklyn Heights, Boerum Hill, Park Slope, and the surrounding area.  The food is incredible and varied (Mile End, Bark Hot Dogs, Ample Hills Creamery, the General Greene, Beast restaurant, Salt, Brooklyn Fare, etc etc), the pace is a bit slower (it's where the yuppies and hipsters move to have their babies so more strollers but less people), the brownstone environs are beautiful, everyone has dogs, and there are a thousand things to see and do.  Your beagles would love Prospect Park or Fort Greene (off-leash before 9AM, where we bring our pup), the brand-new Brooklyn Bridge promenade is a lovely walk with an incredible view of Manhattan, you can spend a day browsing the great crafts at the Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene, the bar scene is much more friendly, less crowded and mostly meathead free, and there is music and events everywhere you turn.

A final selling point:

There are more beards in Brooklyn.