This is an open letter for all my favorite New Yorkers.
Come to Boston.
We get it, we know. New York is the greatest city in the world, is the dream with a capital “D” and is a symbol of everything you want to very, very much. Right?
Grow up. New York is a junkyard city, a town spiraling to madness on ambition that will drain your spirit and wallet. Every train ride you can feel the aggression and tension that becomes palpable when you need to squeeze in on an L train.
New York is overstuffed, over aggressive, and, quite simply, it’s over.
You’re an artist? Great! Fine! What kind of self-respecting struggling artist pays a thousand dollars a month to rent a room with strangers in a far-flung part of Bushwick? You can write from any coffee shop in the world, my man- why pay the premium for the privilege of competing harder, of stressing more, of simply maximizing every aesthetic distraction from your art?
If you were really an artist, you’d care about your art and seek to minimize distractions. Does New York sound minimally distracting to you? Come to Boston. You can visit New York when you need to, be in a real city, and not be miserable and distracted by the burden of proving what an artist you are.
In that leftover time, space, and energy, feel free to actual pursue that art you love.
Are you ambitious about an artistic field that isn’t quite art, New York sounds like a good fit. And it is! For later. Build yourself, your career and your sanity in a city that doesn’t break you, that doesn’t leave you eating Bodega sandwiches for eight meals a week, that doesn’t make you feel alternatively like the world’s biggest failure and a hero who needs transcendent success this instant while competing with one-sided rivals.
Come to Boston. Make your bones in a sane, balanced city and see if you still need New York to validate you. Grow into New York, don’t jump into it for a lack of creative approaches.
Finance bros, you can stay in New York. You are garbage people from the sewer, and you are worthless, empty souls. If you mentally countered “worthless” with your six-figure salary, know that there are other currencies in life.
I am from Boston (okay, fine: the “greater Boston area,” you soul-sucking bastards) and have that bias in my favor. But here is why you will love Boston.
So here is my pitch. Boston is getting better every day, month and year. The trains are staying late, the restaurants are getting better, and the city is getting cooler, more fun, better dressed and better. In ten years it will be as insufferable as New York, and as over-priced as San Francisco. In the meantime, though, you can get in at the right time in a city that feels right and that you can handle.
Boston is small, but it has everything you want and need. It has areas and museums and stand-up spots and beautiful hipsters and Fenway Park and the North End. It has the restaurants and the bars and people, actual people who are as smart as New York but less pretentious. Boston doesn’t need pretension, because Boston does not to feed a rumor of its own greatness like New York does. Boston just needs to be a city; you know, like a place where people can live, can grow, can be.
In comparison, whenever I see a baby in New York, I feel like it should be illegal. All I remember is that Bane monologue about being raised in darkness, because New York is not a city for humans: it is a haunted carnival with everything you want and nothing you need, and that combination rubs the soul raw. When you are young and ambitious, you don’t think about your soul. But it’s there.
So come to Boston. Or maybe Austin. Or Seattle. D.C. is nice. Just, for the love of God, leave New York.