Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Fuck You, New York

Increasingly, people are saying “Fuck you!” to New York.
Fuck the high prices, fuck the noise, fuck the crowds, fuck the rude behavior, fuck the subway. In short, “Fuck this shit, I’m outta here!”
As summer draws to a close and post-Labor Day reality sets in, you can practically feel the stress level in this city rising.
That’s because the population seems to double after Labor Day, as thousands of college students descend upon the city and all the rich assholes who make our lives hell the rest of the year return from their temporary haunts in the Hamptons and Fire Island.
No less a New York institution than the New York Times recently published an article about how people—particularly young people—are moving to second-tier cities in the Midwest, or what was formerly known as “flyover country.” The main thing driving this exodus, according to the story, is the high cost of housing in cities like New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
I also think the economy may have something to do with it. Sure, there may be more jobs here, but there’s also more competition for those jobs. Now you not only have to deal with the in-person interview, but also the phone interview, and sometimes even the screening interview. I’ve read stories about people who’ve endured as many as seven in-person interviews for the same job!
At a certain point you have to ask yourself, Is this really worth it?
I mean, what even makes New York so special anymore? I think many people, especially tourists and newcomers to the city, are coming here for some idealized version of New York that hasn’t existed in at least 40 years. They think they’re getting Taxi Driver and Mean Streets, but what they’re really getting is some watered-down version of Sex and the City: Sex and the City Lite.
Besides, don’t you have the same chain stores in your own city? So why even bother coming here?
We’re living in an era of empty bragging rights, where having a T-shirt with the words “New York” on it is supposed to signify something special, like a designer label or a selfie taken in front of some tourist attraction. It’s doesn’t. You don’t see New Yorkers walking around with “I Love New York” T-shirts. That’s because we live here. We know better!
I often find myself asking if there’s some other place where I could find a better quality of life. But I’m afraid of abandoning the limited advantages I do have: my friends, my network of job contacts, my rent-stabilized apartment. Besides, I can’t afford to move.
But what’s the point of living here—or doing anything for that matter—if it’s no longer enjoyable? So I can say, “I survived New York” (as if that’s something to brag about)?
Sure there are those rare only-in-New York moments where, say, you might see a celebrity on the street, but is that really worth mortgaging your life?
If anyone has the answer to this question, you’ll find me holed-up in my rent-stabilized apartment (because I can’t afford to go out) watching The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (because I can’t afford to move).