Tuesday, April 3, 2012

What April 3rd Means To Me: Top Ten Things I Don't Like About New York

I'll be going back to New York this week for Passover for like the first time in 150 years.  Going back home always provides a strange feeling, as the inertia of Los Angeles generally tugs me westward after only a few days.  Regardless of my mostly love/sometimes hate relationship with New York, there are tons of things I miss about it.  The people, the city, all the obvious bullshit that people say when they wax poetically about the city that never sleeps.  I'll leave that to DeNiro, but it's all true, New York is a fantastic place.  Even the picture above has me nostalgic for it. 

BUT...it's certainly not perfect. And for the purpose of this post, let's discuss the top ten things I DON'T miss about New York.  And, of course, I do say this all with love...or something like that.

Here we go (in no particular order):

"Im Real.  New Yorkers are real.":  You hear this a lot from New Yorkers, especially when they compare themselves to Angelenos, even though many have either never stepped foot inside LA, or have only been here on a quick vacation.  New Yorkers pride themselves on "being real," but if this means being overly opinionated and "honest" in an effort to look "tough," then you're not being real, you're just being an asshole. 

"I can handle this, I'm from New York": Another thing you often hear from native New Yorkers.  When put in tough situations, they spout this out as reason for being able to handle anything.  Hell, I may have even done it myself, but what the hell does it even mean?  It's not like a morning commute in New York involves dodging bullets and endless chasms.  Sure, New York has a fast paced environment, but it's also probably one of the only places in the world where you could live a very comfortable/cultured life without leaving a 4 block radius.  It's comments like these that makes the rest of America roll their eyes at New Yorkers.  Sure, New York might not be for everyone, but either is Cheyenne, Wyoming.  There's nothing inherently hard about living in New York.  It's a great place to live, but I assume living in Uganda is probably more difficult...and I have a feeling native Ugandans don't come to Manhattan and say "I'm from Uganda, I can handle this shit..you know, Joseph Kony and all. I know you saw that shit on Youtube in the comfort of your 88 million dollar apartment"  They should. 

The Weather:  It sucks.  It's cold and dreary in the winter, hot and muggy in the summer.  New Yorkers will often have a conversation about which is worse, and I have to say walking through that bowl of soup otherwise known as a humid summer day is pretty disgusting.  Your skin is sticky, clothes sweat stained, and there's really no escape from it.  At least, in the winter, you can find refuge in warm clothes (though these can be cumbersome).  There's about a month in the autumn when it's beautiful, and another month in the spring that's a warm hug.  And, it's true, Central Park in the fall is a fantastic place to be.  But I'll gladly have my 70 degree January and skip the whole season thing.  (though I know New Yorkers enjoyed similar weather this winter too...well, for a day or two.)

Construction On The FDR:  I grew up in the suburbs of Manhattan, but would often spend evenings in the city, only to drive home sometime after midnight.  And every so often there would be construction near the GW bridge that would create a parking lot out of the FDR.  There was little more annoying than being ass tired only to sit in two hours of traffic while an entire highway's worth of automobiles are funnelled into one stop light somewhere in Washington Heights.  I suppose there's no way around this, construction needs to get done, but I do not miss it.  I suppose it could be worse; I could have shot my friends in the face during target practice for the Ugandan youth army.

The Smell Of The Subway In The Summer:  While the smell of hot, rancid garbage mixed with homeless pee might be appealing to some...

The New York/New Jersey Rivalry:  This is easily one of the stupidest things period, mostly because there isn't much of a difference between the two aside from slight inflection of an accent.  Plus, if a New Yorker and Jersey guy ran into each other in Moscow, there would be immediate kinship.  But if a New Yorker takes up a parking space somewhere on the Jersey Shore (the actual place, not the show), this is apparently cause for outrage.  I guess people need to fight about something.

Dunkin Donuts :  Just kidding, I miss you.  Though apparently you will be gracing the west coast with your fine coffee soon. 

Pizza and Bagels:  OK, I know this will be sacrilegious, but the idea that pizza and bagels are infinitely better in NYC is questionable to me.  Listen, I've had some epically shitty pizza in LA, but arguably my favorite slice is from a place on Melrose.  Similarly, I've had sublime pizza in New York City, but some of the worst slices I've ever tasted have come from Manhattan street corners.  I know, I know...BROOOKLYNNNN...I NEEED TO EAT PIZZA IN BROOOOOKLYN...whatever, enough.  I'm sure in a blind taste test, the best New York pizza wouldn't really stand out.  This just seems like something people grasp on to in an effort to show hometown pride.  Or maybe I'm just not that picky of an eater.

Canyon Winds:  My God are these cold in the winter.  Walking five feet only to duck into a warm store just to avoid the arctic chill of a canyon wind is no fun.  Maybe this is what natives mean when they point to reasons New Yorkers are tough.  Hell, even Ugandans don't have to deal with this.  Uganda 65- New York 1.

Really Fast Elevators:  Because Manhattan has some incredibly tall buildings, they also have elevators that reach the high floors at the speed of light.  I've never liked roller coasters, and I don't like these supersonic elevators that leave me feeling a bit sick.  Call me a pussy, fine. I probably am. But hey, I'm a native New Yorker.  You know, where only the strong survive.

***Honorable mention:  LONG ISLAND PRIDE:  Long Islanders are an entire group of people seconded only by Texans in hometown pride.  I'm surprised there are no Long Island flags.  You have a couple of airports and gave us Billy Joel.  Relax.  There's nothing all that special about it. 


  1. We've given so much more to the world than just Biily Joel! Long Island was also home to fellow A-listers Steve Buscemi and Alec Baldwin (who more than makes up for his brothers). Then there's Brian Setzer, Eddie Money, Rodney Dangerfield, and original Karate Kid Ralph Maccio! Those are some pretty impressive E-Listers!

    1. oh shit, Eddie Money is from there? I take it all back!

  2. the "i can handle anything" thing is funny to me, because it mainly means "i will put up with a LOT of bullshit to live in nyc."

    the ny/nj rivalry is ridiculous because nj is a terrible place.

    i think the weather is pretty nice in nyc.

    1. That's funny, I never thought of that. But you're right. If living in NY helps you prepare for anything, that would imply that you have to deal with a lot of unnecessary BS in your everyday life.

      Good call!