1 they put their garbage on the street. this is my friend candace pretending to jump into one of the many piles of garbage lining new york's otherwise gorgeous tree-lined streets. it's just so disconcerting to me, these mountains of shiny black plastic bulging with tampons and old food and baby diapers. i'm not hating, i just didn't expect to walk through a cloud of flies buzzing over some maggot-infested refuse into a bar that charges seventeen goddamned dollars for a shot of laphroaig. dark scary alleys > bright sidewalk full of trash.
2 jay-z isn't just, like, walking around in a yankee cap rapping about how much he loves it and shit. QUEL FUCKING SURPRISE, MY DUDE. you know that's how we get down in chicago, right? oprah, michael jordan, and kanye west just marching up and down michigan ave all goddamned day shouting about how we make a good polish. not even kidding. it broke my heart that i didn't get to say "jigga what" to him in person. :(
3 my version of the american dream is impossible there. here is what i want for my real adult life, which will probably start five minutes before i drop dead at age 42: 1 a moderately-sized apartment with hardwood floors, high speed internet, and central air conditioning with large windows in a nice part of town that i can afford to live in with one cat and the box of sark books i keep moving from place to place; 2 a reasonably priced, mid-size sedan with decent gas mileage and a safe, well-lit place to park it every night; 3 several pairs of custom-fit orthotic inserts; 4 a kitchen aid stand mixer and a really good slow cooker; 5 ALL OF THE TELEVISION CHANNELS. to afford anything even resembling this in new york i would have to be a hedge fund manager or carmelo anthony. and it's too late to start over. my only career prospect at this grizzled old age is hard won middle management, achieved only after clawing my way up from janitorial. and i already have that in chicago. now all i need is a chevy.
4 every side street is like the cutest fucking thing you've ever goddamned seen. naomi and i stayed in a $3100/month 1br (HOW DO YOU EAT, NYC FRIENDS? how the fuck do you have shoes?!) on the bowery, in this sun-lit apartment which, from the outside, looked like a burned down methodone clinic but was quite charming once we climbed the four fucking flights of fucking stairs within. my heart almost exploded. maybe i really should relocate, i'd be 37 pounds by the end of the first fucking week. that said, the bowery was terrifying. there was a crackhead sleeping on the steps at three in the afternoon! but turn the corner and it was like being in a woody allen movie or some shit. look at the plants on every porch! how delightful is this tiny tea shop! remind me when i go back to keep my eyes closed until we get to the adorable shit.
5 WHAT THE F IS A BOROUGH. wiki: "the term borough was adopted to describe a unique form of governmental administration for each of the five fundamental constituent parts of the newly consolidated city." i still don't understand them. or, like, how they work. or how you move between them. or what distinguishes one from another. you can get to some on the subway? and others require a boat?! okay, so brooklyn is a borough. and the bookstore where i did my reading was in greenpoint, which is also in brooklyn. but my friend marie lives in williamsburg, which is also somehow a place in brooklyn. what i really need to know though is how the fuck you return address an envelope.
6 everyone says "how are you?" automatically without even thinking about it. it's the fucking greatest. way down in my deepest heart of hearts i am a sheltered blonde virgin from rural kansas, and i was terrified that everyone in new york was going to be aggressive and mean. but they were so nice! and downright helpful! no one spit on me or called me a bitch or stabbed me with a hypodermic needle covered in disease the way i imagined they would! the best part is that so many people aren't even aware at how polite they're being because it happens without thinking. "HIHOWAREYOU" is how i was greeted 99.8% of the time by every single person i met. or "HEYHOWYOUDOING." even if they didn't really want to know, as evidenced by the blank stares i received when i responded, "well, my left knee is a little swollen and i'm nervous that the tuckpointing in my apartment is going to leak while i'm away" they totally didn't give a shit? but, either way, it felt really good to be asked.
7 models are everywhere. i had to sign some books at the barnes and noble in union square (whose life is this?) tuesday afternoon, and afterward we had some time to kill before getting on the L train (i think?) to take the G train maybe? (this is why chicago uses colors, it's just fucking easier) into brooklyn. there were so many people everywhere; every place we went into in a vain attempt to find one lousy outlet into which we could all take turns desperately charging our phones (i swear to god smartphone culture has rendered us little more than modern day hobos huddled around an electrical fire) was already teeming with jerks charging their laptops/ipads/kindles/flashlights while pretending to still be drinking the latte they bought three hours before. finally we ended up at the coffee shop, employer of the most beautiful off duty models i have ever seen. yes, it took an hour and a half for me to get the one thing i ordered from three different women the size of my forearm, but once i had my smooth coconut (sounds so exotic!) in hand it was totally worth it. BECAUSE OOH SO PRETTY.
8 new yorkers are terrified of chicago cold. "BUT IT'S SO COLD THERE" is the counter-argument i received to every single observation i made about new york city. no matter compliment, question, or criticism, every word out of my mouth was met with but chicago is so fucking cold. what, you dudes don't have motherfucking winter? buy a warm jacket and be easy, my dude.
me: "you guys really go apeshit over cronuts."
them: "YOU GUYS IN CHICAGO ARE TOO COLD TO GO APESHIT OVER ANYTHING."
me: "hey, did you vote for that de blasio guy or what?"
them: "HEY, DID EVERYONE IN CHICAGO VOTE FOR HOW COLD IT IS THERE?"
me: "wow, look at that rat king!"
them: "AT LEAST THAT RAT KING ISN'T FROZEN BY THE COLD CHICAGO WIND."
okay okay, i get it, it's cold. fuck outta here, b.
9 59th and lex. i'm handicapped and tired, and it is the dream of my life to be in a place that has so many motherfucking cabs just waiting for you to dump all of the shit you carry around with you all the time into their empty backseats. they're everywhere! all the time! and they will go wherever you want them to! the best part of jetting around manhattan like i didn't have an overdue directv bill waiting for me at home was telling them all of the hilarious intersections we needed to get to. my favorite was 59th and lexington, because NO ONE SAYS 59th and LEXINGTON. they say 59th and lex, which sounds like 59th and sex (HOT), and is also smack in the middle of a bunch of amazing places to spend your entire paycheck. we got makeovers at illamasqua in bloomingdales. we ate lunch at this adorable underground place called patsy's full of overpriced pastas. we bought so many cantaloupe flavored jelly bellies at dylan's. then i got elbowed in the face 150 times as we walked all the way to 79th. THERE WERE SO MANY CABS WE COULD HAVE TAKEN, welp. then i was all, "fuck new york i hate it here."
10 they love the shit out of bed bath and beyond. first thing i asked after we booked our tickets is, "where can i take a dump in new york city?" i wanted to get the drop on all of the friendly toilets i could hover precariously over in case i got stress diarrhea after being on an airplane. every single native i asked responded, "if you're in public? BED BATH AND BEYOND. duh." not even kidding. like, four unrelated people told me that if i have to poop in a public toilet then that toilet better be at the end of the fitted shit aisle. wednesday morning hilary returned to the sublet apartment she'd lent us for the night, nearly tipping over from the arm full of curtain rods she was carrying, to walk us to breakfast. "what is all that?" i asked her. "i just came from bed bath and beyond!" she said excitedly. "and i totally took a shit there!"
don't worry, my bruva. it's all goodie. still got mad love for your city, even though your giant floppy pizza looks like blood-spattered loose skin.
i heart ny.