More often than I’d care to admit, I get people telling me, “You seem like you’re from New York.” I don’t really see where they get that idea. I grew up in California and had never been to New York until this year. Perhaps it’s because I feel socially awkward, can’t stand the beaches in Los Angeles, come off as neurotic, and really love bagels. Regardless of what it is, I clearly must exude a stereotypical New York attitude to be getting this response so often.
I’m currently in New York for a week, and came here hoping that I could finally find my natural habitat, that I would instantly want to move here, as so many have claimed. I was optimistic that all of the problems I have in Los Angeles would magically disappear and I’d be my truest self at last. So far, I’ve been pretty disappointed. Every single thing that I was told I’d love about New York has been just as frustrating as it is in Los Angeles.
Ah, yes, the mythical New York subway system. It’s so convenient! It takes you everywhere you want to go! True, and also true, but did anyone tell you that there’s no air conditioning on the subway platforms? If it’s 90 degrees and humid outside, it’s 98 degrees underground. I’m really happy that everyone in New York can tolerate being boiled to death inside a concrete tomb, but that’s not my idea of great vacation. Maybe just, like, get an oscillating fan, or a big dude to blow on me?
As I mentioned above, I love bagels. Bagels afford you all the important food groups: the bread group, the cheese group, and the smelly, pink fish group. You’re pretty much covered. Whereas in Los Angeles, the cream cheese-to-bagel ratio leans heavily on the bagel side, in New York, they put a whole tub of cream cheese between two crackers and call that a “meal.” Next time I’m here, I’m just going to direct that they give me a tub of the stuff and a spoon, and call it a day.
New York is supposed to be the fashion capital of America. New York Fashion Week is a huge event in the industry, and trends are purported to start here first. Of course, there are also dudes walking around here in flip-flops and cargo shorts. You might think flip-flops are a practical decision in a city that gets so hot and humid in the summer, but have you seen the sidewalks in New York? There’s a random puddle of what appears to be human fluid every 50 feet. The people who wear flip-flops here are just begging to get some sort of communicable skin disease.
Art! Music! Theater! New York has that shit in spades, baby. I was ready to get educated. I was ready to learn about what’s really going on in the world today. I foolishly went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see the Punk: From Chaos to Couture exhibit. Ignoring the vitriol emanating from the local press, I ventured into the exhibit with an open mind. I was rewarded with a bunch of dresses made out of garbage bags and a cursory glance at actual punk music history. After skipping out on the “anarchist fashion show,” I went to the Guggenheim Museum, where I was positive that I’d get some real New York culture.
It was closed. The Guggenheim is closed on Thursdays. Now, let me clarify that I admit that in both cases, I was to blame for my failure to be satisfied. I chose the Punk exhibit. I was too lazy to research the hours of operation for the Guggenheim. I’m the bad guy here, for sure. Still…what museum is randomly closed on Thursday?
I was told everyone would be surly, self-absorbed, and cynical. So far, everyone has been beyond nice to me. The guy who served me the cream cheese and crackers masquerading as a bagel acted like I was a regular in his establishment. Everyone else who showed up to the Guggenheim on Thursday had a hearty laugh with me when we collectively realized our mistake. A women actually offered to take my picture from atop the Met without even being prompted.
I feel like I’ve been had. New York is not what everyone says it is. It’s not the “Greatest City in the World” and I didn’t immediately want to move here. I didn’t change my perspective on life like I was supposed to. New York is a marvel to look at, full of interesting destinations and people, but…it’s just a city like any other one. It has its pros and cons, and just like a long-term relationship with a mate, you have to appreciate it for its flaws.