Thursday, November 8, 2012

Living in NYC kind of sucks

New York City can render you insignificant in a matter of days.

It's not that I don't love the idea of being here, because I do. But it bears zero resemblance to the Sex and the City dreaminess that I fantasized about. Those chicks never took the train, never ended up in a rat-infested apartment with crazy roommates and had no concept of a budget pb&j-for-lunch lifestyle.

I did start out starry-eyed and looking up at buildings like they tell you not to do if you want to blend in. But as the schlepping ensued and I began throwing elbows to get in trains and watching businessmen pick their noses and wipe the findings on the New York Daily News, the charm waned. And I have yet to see a flash mob in Grand Central Station.

Or, maybe Grand Central lives in a perpetual state of flashmob-ness. It is a mass gathering and everyone does move in time--all scurrying to trains about to leave them and all appearing somewhat uniform.

Here's what all the women look like:

Trench coat. Scarf. Standard I-work-in-NYC Longchamp Le Pliage tote poised where the arm folds so they can hold their coffee. Face? Pinched. Gait? Stomping fiercely toward jobs they probably don't care much about.

Here's what all the men look like:

Suit. Tie. Maybe a tie clip if they've gotten bored enough. Face? Sapped. Gait? Strolling confidently because they are probably used to being important.

To be fair, I work very close to Wall St. so perhaps the midtown men and women look different and so do the ones from downtown and so do the ones from Brooklyn. I look forward to seeing them. To be further fair, I am commuting from Scarsdale, better known as you-do-not-live-in-NYC-at-all-not-even-close. I imagine when I find my place and I'm sitting on a stoop somewhere and have just affirmed that "yes, this train stops at Seventh Ave," and am officially referring to Bowery as "the Bowery," I'll feel a little more at home.

For now, I'm off to see two apartments in Brooklyn and they are not off the L, which I have been told is the only acceptable place to live in BK, so we'll see. 


Shanen said...

I loved this description of adjusting to the realities of NYC, especially as I'm moving back this month. The starry eyed, strolling through the streets, gawking at the skyscrapers lasts for about 5 minutes before you get swept up in the foot traffic and start walking elbows out!

Hadiza said...

Tara Oy,

Loved your note-perfect piece on Carnival on HuffPo. Are you Trini? Yes, well, thought you might enjoy a well-meaning memo on the geography of best-loved-Brooklyn:

Prospect heights is boss and very close to good roti (more on that later). Williamsburg where your L train people are sending you, is chuck full of that phenomenon known as 'the hipster'. On the plus side you cannot spit without hitting a decent restaurant, that is probably wicked cheap (bonus). However, if something like Sandy happens, goodluck with train service- and don't bother with the G train or Greenspoint either. Upon rethinking, I am not sure those people really like you if they sending you that side. Food for thought.

Like Prospect Heights, Clinton Hill is boss. As is my favourite, Fort Greene. These are close to one another if you don't wheeze walking a few steps. All 3 have that Cosby Show tree lined, brownstone and safe (mostly) stoop vibe. Also, in these Best 3, you are never more than a few steps from Culture with a capital c. There's an opera hall, a theatre where bigtime people like Captain Picard do Shakespeare, phenomenal landscaped parks, a big museum, a garden with cherry blossoms like Kyoto and FOOD girl. Re'l good food. And the food really shows you the diversity that makes Brooklyn more special than Manhattan in a non-special-ed way. There are SouthAfrican, Caribbean, Pakistani, plenty Italian and French, Pan-African, Senegalese and Mediterranean restaurants of mention--- you get the picture. Also, there is that stadium with the Nets that just opened...still deciding if that is advantageous or neighbourhood nuisance, but for now, minus Jay-Z, I think we like it.

Also, don't bother with Park Slope unless you newly married and birthing soon because ParkSlope is run by the ToddlerMafia and like babies, is hella expensive. Brooklyn Heights is probably too posh for you, but pretty. Cobble Hill too. DUMBO is just, no. Except for visits and outdoor cinema (free) also, (sidenote: remember kaydonna?). Crown Heights and Bedstuy are not really contenders because we don't want to scare a new New Yorker away, and up Flatbush is a little too Georgetown-Kingston_PortofSpain for well-travelled West Indians who don't need to live in the WestIndies, whilst living in NYC.
And why Boerum Hill when you can do best-loved-Brooklyn?
That is All.
P.S. Did I mention the BIG 3 are sensible commutable distance from Manhattan?

Laters, H.

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