New York Shitty, Ctd

A reader sends an ominous view from his East Village window yesterday morning: 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 … Continue reading New York Shitty, Ctd

New York Shitty Update, Ctd

cc: @sullydish — Nick Martin (@nickmartin) May 28, 2014 @sullydish Go suck on a tail pipe from whatever shitstain suburban sprawl mall prefab pileodirt u crawled out of u goofy looking twat. #NyFu — mitch cumstien (@MkUltra44) May 28, 2014 Best tweet ever, Mr Cumstien. I read this, by the way, in a coffee … Continue reading New York Shitty Update, Ctd

New York Shitty

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 … Continue reading New York Shitty

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.

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:

New York Shitty, Ctd

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!


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 Shitty, Ctd

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: