Monday, March 06, 2006

57 things about living in New York that are so great it's practically unbearable


The latest installment in an ongoing series. All references to "you" imply a person generally, not you personally.

  1. There are two baseball teams that everyone who grew up in other places can find equally hateable.
  2. There are also two minor league teams.
  3. New York is not a basketball town. [Except when it is. See comments. Depending on your tastes, this makes things even better -- as if that's possible.]
  4. Three airports. Hence, you can fly anywhere. So the next time you're bitching about having to get out to Newark, realize that not only do you get a direct flight to Grand Rapids -- you can also take direct flights to Warsaw, Buenos Aires, or Tel Aviv whenever the mood hits you. Frickin' awesome.
  5. The New York Times -- the New York Times! -- has an entire section about your city! Every day!
  6. The New Yorker is no slouch, either.
  7. Bohemian Beer Hall.
  8. The beer garden at dba.
  9. The beer garden at Loreley.
  10. Brooklyn Brewery.
  11. Last call is 4 a.m. 4 a.m.! Comparatively, everyplace else might as well be Utah, and frequently is.
  12. When you leave the bar at 4:15 a.m., there is always someplace open for food, and always someone to go with.
  13. If you smoke, every time you step outside for a cigarette, you have the chance to make new friends.
  14. You can't smoke inside, which means not only do you get to make new friends whenever you smoke, but you don't go home reeking.
  15. There's a huge cigarette tax. You shouldn't be smoking that much, anyway.
  16. You never, ever have to worry about driving home drunk.
  17. You never, ever have to worry about traffic unless you're taking a cab in rush hour. In which case, you only have yourself to blame.
  18. Going to brunch is kind of an institution. Hence, it's perfectly acceptable to be buzzed by noon on a Sunday.
  19. The Strand never ceases to amaze.
  20. The Strand Annex on Fulton Street. In any other city, it would be The Strand.
  21. 311. Holy shit. The bar downstairs is playing Another One Bites the Dust too loud at 3 a.m.? Just got shocked by a manhole cover? Need help quitting smoking? 311. That is some absolutely amazing municipal service.
  22. The city has elected four insane mayors in a row, each of whom is uniquely hateable, yet oddly endearing.
  23. Here's how crazy it is -- Staten Island is massive. It has actual farmland, and it's part of the City. It's only a short ferry ride away, but no one ever goes there. Plus, it has farmland. Blows my fucking mind whenever I think about it.
  24. The guy driving your cab and jabbering on his cell phone has lived more life than you or I have dreamt of, Horatio.
  25. Local troublemaker Al Sharpton -- one minute an insufferable demagogue, the next, he's hosting SNL.
  26. There are garbage cans on every street corner. Have a gum wrapper, an empty pack of Camels, and a Starbucks cup? Pow. Garbage can. Right there.
  27. Celebrity sightings. I'm too jaded to give a shit anymore, but if at age 19 you told me that I'd literally bump into an SNL star with his parents or obliviously walk through the middle of a Law & Order shoot, I would've been in clover.
  28. Congee Village. I will have the frog congee, please.
  29. Marco Polo Noodle Shop on Baxter Street. Never heard of it? It's better than anything you've ever eaten in your life, but you've never been there. This is such a kick-ass city.
  30. Wherever you are below 23rd Street, something amazing happened on that spot between 1750 and 1900. Compared to New York, Philly and Boston are historical midgets.
  31. I don't think that Park Slope is any great shakes. Still, on a nice summer night, Park Slope alone has as much going on as all of Boston. And that's just Park Slope.
  32. Prospect Park -- huge, uncrowded, racially and economically diverse -- may be the urban ideal. Whenever you think the country's gone to shit, think about Prospect Park and feel better.
  33. Central Park's not bad either.
  34. Music. Do you ever stop to realize that on any random Wednesday, you could drop $10-$20 bucks, roll the dice, and as often as not see something that will knock you on your ass? Often appreciate that any band you love in any genre you want will probably waltz through town sometime in the next 12 months? And you don't even have to drive home afterward? Life is so flippin' good.
  35. That small apartment that you pay too much for only means that you'll spend less time at home. That is good. Whoever wanted to spend a bunch of time just sitting around?
  36. Some of your best friends will eventually live here, and all the rest of them come through at least once a year.
  37. We have so much access to 24-hour pizza and hot dogs, my inner twelve-year-old can hardly contain himself. And yet I walk everywhere, so I never get fat.
  38. Vietnamese sandwiches. We take them for granted; in Tampa, they'd be mindblowing.
  39. Broadway plays. I don't go to them, but it's nice to know they're there.
  40. You can always find strangers who appreciate a snowball fight.
  41. If you're too stingy or dignified for a strip club, you can walk into Red Rocks West or Coyote Ugly, where a drunk girl from Iowa will most likely show her boobs before the night is through. In most other cities, that would prompt mass arrests.
  42. As a show of protest, on the last Friday of every month, several hundred bicyclists ride around en masse and get chased by cops. It's like a scene from junior high, only the teachers never win.
  43. Improv Everywhere.
  44. I don't know if you've noticed this, but the kids who live in this city are cool. Really cool. Cooler than I was when I was their age, and probably cooler than I am now. It almost makes me want to procreate, but for all of that responsibility, and the shitting infant part.
  45. The publishing industry ensures an almost endless supply of young, highly literate, smart people who make little money but are always up for fun.
  46. The legal industry means that there are always good people to argue with.
  47. The banking industry means that there are always people smoother and better dressed than you, so it's an easy excuse to slack off.
  48. An endless supply of people more interesting than you are.
  49. J&R. For us, it's just an electronics store. If it were in the Midwest, people who live four hours in any direction would know about it. They'd load up the kids in a station wagon on the weekends and drive four hours, just to go to J&R. Back in school on Monday, you'd brag about all the sweet stuff you got at J&R.
  50. While residential patterns are pretty segregated, it's never unnerving to be on the subway and realize that no one else on the train looks like you.
  51. The dearth of local college football means that ABC usually airs the games you want to see.
  52. The tap water here tastes better than bottled water from the store.
  53. Bodegas: It's 3 a.m. and you're looking for beer, Entenmann's, condoms, and batteries. If this is Lansing, you drive 20 minutes to Meijer's, if you're lucky, and spend the next 20 minutes wandering around the store. Here? Less than half a block. There and back in four minutes flat.
  54. It's almost as cheap to drop off your laundry as it is to do it yourself. When you come back, everything is folded neatly and tightly. If you lived in Houston, you'd spend all Sunday night folding your damp undershirts.
  55. If you're into fancy shit, there's a lot of that, too.
  56. If you're into cheap shit, it's easy to find, and the only thing that costs a lot is your apartment, which you don't really need that much anyway.
  57. Now that I think of it, when you factor in the car payments, car insurance, and house insurance that you'd need to live in Seattle, is it actually more expensive to live here in the first place?


double entendre said...

I actually like this list and agree with almost all of it. Not that you care. But, this is a basketball town; you just haven't lived here long enough. 1998-2000, the Knicks-Pacers rivalry was sicko and that is a distant second to John Starks kicking the Bulls' collective butt.

CrimeNotes said...

Wrong. It's a baseball town. Can't be both.

beast of burden said...

I must agree with Double Entendre here ... when the Knicks are hot (which might not happen again in our lifetimes) they get more support than any other team in the city.

Other than that, well done ...

CrimeNotes said...

I defer to anyone named after the greatest song of all time.

Basketball town, it is!

Maulleigh said...

Thank you for reminding me why I need to move back to New York City!! I loved it when I was there and in a moment of weakness, I moved back to SF. I'd have a difficult time coming up with two reasons San Francisco is great....

CrimeNotes said...

Thanks so much, maulleigh. I had a 60-minute period of thinking about how nice Chicago sounds, when, on the 50-foot walk home from picking up dinner, I had a series of revelations. So hurry back.

Flop said...

See, I have a total city crush on San Francisco. But I'm sure it's a grass-is-greener scenario. I don't even miss SF's weather today, because it's lik e 70 here.

CrimeNotes said...

Yeah, it's much too hot today.

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