This past April, I wrote an article called "Ten Reasons New York Isn't As Great As You Think It Is" and the response was overwhelming. Many thought to write rebuttal pieces, or took to Facebook to comment on what an asshole I was, while others chose death threats as their means to defend their beloved city, not once bothering to question the fact that it was a piece written for a comedy website. The truth is, all major cities have their flaws and much like ordering a hooker and realizing the picture they gave you was from 10 years ago once they arrive at your doorstep, the excitement of New York can quickly wear thin. It's a city of hard workers, innovators and people who believe that promoting parties at nightclubs is actually a serious vocation. It's a city that isn't always as great as you think it is and here are 10 more reasons why:
1. Real Estate
Looking to buy an apartment in New York City? One million dollars will buy you a lovely two-bedroom/one-bathroom pad (all the way on 11th Avenue and not close to any subway) with a living room and spacious kitchen. However, if you were looking to spend $1 million on real estate in say, California, you could buy a friggin' house. Instead of your children playing in an alley that smells like crack and piss, they could play in a yard with a pool. New York real estate is so absurd that many of us pay in rent what our parents or friends in other cities pay in mortgages. And they own their homes. In reality, it's the biggest waste of money in the world. But what the hell are you going to do? Live in Secaucus?
2. "Know-It-All" New Yorkers
New York is home to arguably some of the most intelligent and enlightened people in the world. It is also home to every know-it-all on the East Coast. You know the people I am talking about: the guy who "knows everything about theater" but thinks Les Miserables is still playing on Broadway. Or the woman who knows all of the hottest restaurants in town but is shocked to find that, upon arrival, a yogurt shop is now in the "hottest restaurant in town's" place. The worst part about these people is that once they realize they're wrong, they will continue to argue in some irritating fashion that they are actually right. Even though Les Miserables hasn't been playing on Broadway for years and the restaurants that were hot in 1991 have long since closed, they will stand by the fact that they know everything, even if everything they know is wrong or outdated.
3. The Fashion and Fashionistas
New York City is the fashion capital of the world and some the wonderful people who inhabit our city are responsible for many of today's latest fashion crazes. However, they are also the people who design something that looks like a Garbage Pail Kid would wear and slap a $4,000 price tag on it. Turbans and headdresses were never in, so please stop trying to shove them down our throats. What's worse are the fashionistas: the unique brand of go-getter who live and breathe fashion. It's all they know and in their eyes, it's all the matters in the world. Listen, we appreciate your wonderful designs, but you're not saving lives or creating world peace -- you're designing a goddamn dress. Lighten up a bit. And please stop saying that everything is "everything." That dress is everything. That turban is everything. That scarf is everything. If everything is "everything," then isn't everything essentially nothing? Food for thought.
4. Citi Bikes
Everyone loves trying to save the environment that we have so badly taken advantage of but nothing is right with Citi Bikes. This bike-share system allows you (with an annual membership) to pick up and drop off rented bikes and use them at your leisure. The only problem is: You have a bunch of people using bikes who normally don't cycle so no one is wearing helmets, most people don't obey the city's bike rules (seriously, stay the fuck off the sidewalk and ride your bike on the right side of the street for God's sake), and because they are so insanely popular, good luck trying to find one because every time I pass a bike stand it's completely empty of bikes. Here's a tip: If you like riding bikes so much, buy a fucking bike. After the annual cost and rental fees, it comes to about the same and you don't have to share it with a sweaty foreign tourist.
5. The Subway
New York has been the most populated American city for more than a century and that's about how old our subway system is. It's awesome during rush hour and nine times out of 10, it gets you to work on time with little to no issues during the week. However, once the workweek ends, the real nightmare of how bad New York public transportation can get becomes almost mind-boggling. It's not uncommon to have to go three stops uptown and turn around to go two stops downtown from where you started. You'll wait 20 minutes for an A train only to crawl to each stop (which is always puzzling seeing as you've waiting 20 minutes for it to get there, so there can't possibly be anything in front of the train that's slowing it down) and if you're trying to get below 14th Street or to Long Island City: good luck to you. It's like the MTA thinks we have nowhere to go on Saturdays or Sundays. These problems occur because of subway delays and changes that are clearly posted in itty bitty type on pieces of computer paper at the subway's entrance. Because it's 2013 and this is how we continue to pass along important information to each other.
6. The Theater
Book of Mormon, Kinky Boots and The Lion King are some of Broadway's hottest shows. But if you want to see them, you are going to have to shell out nearly half a month's rent to get an orchestra seat. Broadway show prices are so outrageous that many decide to buy discounted tickets to the theater. But, on a Saturday night, tickets for Once are still going to cost $120 at a reduced price and this is for a show that has no sets, no orchestra because they cast plays its own instruments and costumes that look like the clothes that you are wearing right now. If you don't fall asleep, I'm sure you'll appreciate the story arc and wonderful music because it's all very artsy. Afterwards, you realize that you could have spent a day at Disneyland for less money and cry, not because of the beautiful storytelling but because you could have done something that didn't bore you to death.
7. Grocery Stores
A deli in which a mangled cat who sleeps on the "fresh" produce every day does not a grocery store make. Cramped aisles that consist of food you wouldn't serve to your worse enemy that's been there since late '70s is unappetizing. Sure, you can go to Whole Foods or Trader Joes, but you will literally need to block off an entire day to do so because there's a line going in and a line just as long, if not longer, to get out.
8. Patience Is a Virtue
But if you live in New York, patience is not a word in your vocabulary. We are so used to getting things so quickly and efficiently that if there is a line for coffee at Starbucks we will tap our feet and look at our iPhones to check the time no less than 75 times in four minutes. If we can't have Chinese food in less than 20 minutes at 4 a.m., panic ensues because we deserve it now. We are so used to getting what we want when we want it that we have no problem body-slamming an elderly woman to make sure we get through a closing subway door. It's not like she had anywhere that important to get to in the first place.
9. We Love New York
We are also so used to getting what we want that we don't even know what we want anymore and we all love New York so much that we forget that occasionally New York lacks certain things. If one more person tells me that the best Italian restaurants in the world are in New York, I'm going to punch them in the face. While I have never been to Italy and can't speak for the food there, I am relatively sure Italy has the best Italian food in the world. We're like the opposite of Ariel in The Little Mermaid. We know there's another world out there, we just don't care to know about it or explore it because it's probably not nearly as exciting anyway. Let's face it, the only reason you're reading this article in the first place is because it has the words "New York" in. You just love it that much.
10. It's Too Expensive to Leave
Moving is expensive, but moving in New York costs a small fortune and I believe that is part of the reason why no one ever leaves. It's like you're trapped. But vacations are a luxury very few New Yorkers can take part in. Picture it: You sit in your office cube every day looking at your out-of-town friend's pictures on Facebook of their fun vacations and think to yourself: "Wow, I'd love a vacation." Then reality sets in and you realize that the $80 cab ride to the airport alone is going to mean that you won't be able to pay your electric bill this month and it puts your right back in your place. The outside world is too dangerous for us anyway. You might see things like open fields, beaches and yards and that would simply be too crazy for your mind to comprehend.
Yeah, New York may have its faults -- but all cities do. Try living in Washington, D.C., for a week and you'll come crawling back in no time. Of course I complain about it, but New York is like crystal meth. Once you get a taste of it, you'll never want to do without.
Check out Mark's new book, Eating My Feelings, available wherever books are sold.