It’s just not the same anywhere else. And I’ve been places. I miss you, New York pizza. No lie, I have feverish dreams about you. It’s a little unnerving, actually. Am I going through pizza withdrawal?
I’m sorry Einstein’s, I love you, but you just don’t compare to the authentic Jewish bagel shops littered everywhere on the streets of New York. To all the current New York residents, don’t take them for granted. Live up every carb-enriched day that your diet allows. For me.
It took me FOREVER to get used to the fact that New York is quite literally one of the only cities that stays up 24/7. I didn’t realize that ordering sushi online at 3AM wasn’t common among all American cities… It should be, though. It really should be.
4. Street Performers.
There are street performers everywhere, but not like New York. Whether it’s a spray paint artist that can spray the city skyline in under 10 minutes, the break dancers down in the subway stations, or the musicians on every corner, there’s a certain magic all of them have that isn’t duplicated anywhere else. Keep performing, guys. You keep the city alive.
5. Street Meat.
I’m realizing a lot of my list is already dedicated to food, but hey, the food’s good up north. I cannot tell you how much I miss those nasty, stinky, musky-watered hot dogs. I swear you could eat one of those and burp it up for the next 4 days… which is probably not natural in any way, but I don’t care. I miss those indigestive mystery franks.
6. White Castle.
Actually, this is kind of jumping over to New Jersey, but still. I know there are White Castles in other states, but something about the ornery, angry people that work in the ones where I’m from, it adds to the overall experience. The gamble you take when there’s a possibility that the person behind the counter sabotaged your food makes for a night of White Castle exciting and dangerous. You just don’t get that anywhere else…
7. Jones Beach.
So. This one’s kind of funny, actually, because I lived in Hawaii as a kid for a few years before moving to New York. Having been exposed to the beauty of Hawaiian beaches, the first time I set foot on Jones Beach, I was appalled. However, the memories I have heading out that way on the weekend with friends and getting blitzed out of our minds (don’t judge me) is a treasure I’ll always keep very near and dear to my heart.
8. Coney Island.
I mean, what do I even need to say about this place? The history, the landmark, the sheer beauty… the freakin’ hot dogs… I have to admit, I didn’t get a chance to go there as often as I would’ve liked when I did live there. But the times I did get to go, I remembered to cherish because I knew it was a special place.
9. Central Park.
Down to the homeless people that are overly possessive about their self-designated park benches. I’ve been to plenty of parks since then and nothing is more beautiful than Central Park on a fall day. Granted, it’s cold as f*ck and you get solicited 32 times before turning the corner, but still. If you haven’t been to Central Park, go. Just make the street vendor happy, buy his $4 pretzel and take a stroll. I promise it’s worth it to do at least once.
Shopping anywhere else is just depressing. Malls are where clothes go to die. Being able to haggle your way down for a knock-off Chanel bag with an old Chinese lady isn’t just the way shopping should be done, it’s a way of life. And yeah, all the boutiques and actual shops are good, too. Although, with as much as online shopping has taken off in these past few years, I’m not sure if that neighborhood’s changed at all. I guess my fellow New Yorker friends will have to fill me in on that.
Yeah, it was only a matter of time before I jumped back to food, but man I miss this place. I’m honestly not even that big of a cheesecake fan, but lordie, the desserts they have in that enchanted place are the sweet treats of the gods. Their red velvet? Carrot cake cheesecake? It’s like sin in your mouth. However, I can say I’ve only been to this place a few times— after one sitting, you don’t want sugar for the next month.
12. Diners, diners and more diners.
Since I’ve left New York, I have yet to find a decent family-owned diner. It’s hard enough for me to find a diner that’s 24/7 other than your traditional Denny’s. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Denny’s, but I miss the old-fashioned Greek-owned diners back home. You know— the ones that don’t judge you for slurring your breakfast order to the owner’s 17-year old daughter at 2AM when you’ve had too much to drink. It was cool because they never got your order right anyway, so it was like an even trade.
13. Shameless advertisements on the subway trains.
Plastic surgery ads, “We Buy Gold” flyers, criminal lawyer’s phone numbers… I commend people who push their business by any means necessary. It’s only a matter of time before we’ll start seeing ads that read, “Need a Prescription for Medical Marijuana? We Can Help! Contact Us At: 1-800-MEDWEED.” Yup. I’m calling it now. To my friends up north, let me know when you see that ad. I’m predicting it to happen sooner than later.
Trust me, I never thought I’d say it myself, but watching people who’ve never had the “New York Experience” amble through the city aimlessly was one of the most amusing/frustrating things when I lived there. I think it’s seeing someone’s eyes widen when they see Times Square for the first time that I miss. I mean, at the same time, I was that hasty bitch that cussed at the Ohio High School Marching Band for clogging up the sidewalk to move out of the way so I could get through, but those little saplings were just adorable when they looked up at all the lights for the first time. Sigh. Memories.
15. The People.
You can’t argue. New York harbors some of the rudest, most obnoxious, cold-hearted, matter-of-fact, self-centered and entitled assholes to ever grace this country, but I love them. All of them. Nowhere else will you find people that will tell you exactly how it is, how they feel, what they like, what they don’t like and not give a shit how you feel about it. They’re catty, competitive, manipulative and will throw you under the bus quicker than you can say “loft apartment” if it means they can get a leg up in life. But these same people—if you can keep up and you’re tough enough to take their unwarranted tongue-lashing—are also the most loyal, passionate, driven and charismatic people you’ll ever meet. I love my New York family and I will return someday.
There’s no place like home.