Ode to New York



I have been living in New York City long enough now that most of the negatives have faded into the background of my quotidian routine, becoming “facts of life.” Assholes on the subway, like the high sales and income taxes, are now unnoticeable and expected. I now know enough to avoid Times Square at all costs — but especially in the mornings, as the stench is a most disturbing way to start the day; how to reroute myself when trains and buses don’t run; how to dress for the elements (ladies, don’t even think about wearing that above-the-knee, empire-waisted frock on a breezy day unless you have shorts on underneath); how to remain unaffected (most of the time) in the face of over-sized egos, bad attitudes, and airs of entitlement; and how to pound on my wall in such a way that my neighbor fully understands that I need him to lower the volume on his television immediately. I suppose I had to grow into New York a little; but in the meantime, New York has grown on me. So, I thought now is as good a time as any to post a list of my New York favorites. Aside from the obvious (art, culture, food, diversity, opportunities), here are a few things that I like about life in the big apple:

1) If you’re looking for it, you can often find a moment of Zen on the subway. As I generally look in the morning, I refer to it as my “morning Zen.” Whereas random acts of violence are more sensational, displays of love and kindness are far more frequent. Someone will give up their seat on the subway, and the gesture will be returned with an expression of genuine gratitude. Two siblings will have a good laugh. People will surprise and inspire you.

2) The buses. If there is not a subway, there’s a bus. Even if there is a subway, there is probably a bus. And nine times out of ten, the bus provides a much quieter and more comfortable alternative to the subway. The cherry on top: it’s a nice way to see the city.

3) The 79th street boat basin. It’s like you’re not even in the U.S. anymore. Have a drink and casual fare in the cavernous old-world space on the water. I wasn’t paid to write that (but if you want to pay me, I can write lots of stuff just like it — or even better!).

4) The abundance of dry cleaners. One on every side of every block. As a dear friend once said, “If I moved a block away, I’d probably change dry cleaners.” Dry cleaning is one aspect of life in this city that will never be inconvenient.

5) The variety of delivery services. Breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, late night snacks, liquor, groceries, household goods, drugs, clothing … anything from vegan, kosher Indian food to torchiere lamps to the clothes you shouldn’t have just bought; from a case of beer and a bottle of vodka to the dankest bud you can find(not that i’d know). If you can think of it, there is a good chance that someone will deliver it. An added bonus: many of the restaurants that deliver are also associated with Seamlessweb, so you don’t have to talk to anyone AND you can get 5-20% off your order!

6) The street fairs. I am sure motorists hate them, but it’s always fun to stumble upon one as you’re going about your daily routine.

7) The waterfronts. There is always a promenade. And they rarely smell as bad as you’d think.

8) Celeb run-ins. What better way to spice up the the purchase of yet another crappy Starbucks beverage than with a Derek Jeter sighting (Seriously, what was he doing in MY Starbucks?? 75th and First — can you believe it?!?)?

9) Movies currently playing in theaters are available in DVD for $5 at major underground transit hubs

10) LIRR: 40 mins to the beach, no traffic.

11) Le Pain Quotidian. If you want to find one of these bad boys outside of New York, you’re going to have to go to L.A. or D.C.

I’m spent. I will be the first to admit that New York is far from perfect. The coffee options, for instance, are wholly inadequate (although Le Pain definitely helps). That was a joke, although true. Regardless, I am happy to call it home. For now.

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