Thursday, July 4, 2013

5 Things New York Settlers Miss About Their Hometowns

I think I have shown enough love for the great city of New York on this blog for everyone to realize that I am absolutely thrilled with my choice to move here (if you don't believe me, feel free to read thisthis, or this). The bustling pedestrians, the tiny hole-in-the-wall restaurants, the thick smell of hotdogs that lurk around most intersections -- I. LOVE. IT. ALL.

This GIF is more comforting to me than watching a sunrise.

Despite being the city of my dreams, I can't help but recognize that it is infinitely harder to live here than most other places in America. I sometimes think of the ease of my life before moving to New York and, depending on the number of times I have been stepped on that day, I will either feel vaguely nostalgic or fantastically forlorn.

No matter where you are from in this great nation, these are the following things you will miss once you move to New York City.

1. Buying groceries like a normal person

This picture is a lie. You don't love your cart. You despise it with every stair you have to push it down or every tiny aisle you have to squeeze it through. This cart is your enemy, and if you didn't need it to survive in this town, you would have a really detailed ceremonial sacrifice of it in your living room.

In New York, you have a few options for groceries and all of them will make you feel like garbage. 

1) You go to a grocery store that charges double what your grocery store back home would charge, you buy only what you can carry/put in your stupid granny cart, and you hate yourself the whole way home. 
2) You go to a bunch of tiny bodegas where a Coke in July still has a picture of Santa on it. 
3) You go to an organic store, and again, you hate yourself because everything is so damn expensive, but at least you know it's good for you.
4) You order expensive groceries on Fresh Direct and have them delivered to your apartment because you are Donald Trump.

Remember how you could just drive to your local grocery store, park your car, grab a shopping cart, pay for your groceries, leave the cart there, and go about your merry way? That's not a thing here.

2. Walking down the street without that one crazy guy screaming at you


You're having a good day, nay, a great day. Your hair is finally at peace with the summer humidity and you are wearing a sundress that makes 5th Avenue feel like your own personal runway. Everything takes a turn, however, when you walk past that one guy who it seems is strategically placed in different parts of the city to yell obscenities at you for absolutely no reason. He accuses you of bringing about the apocalypse and claims to be a descendent of Jennifer Love Hewitt. You walk by knowing that he's harmless but still feeling like you wish you hadn't seen that.

Hey, remember back in your hometown when you'd walk down the street and almost no one would yell crazy things at you?

3. Not being judged when you want to go to a restaurant franchise

First off, I think we can all agree that nothing on this planet tastes as painfully delicious as a cheese biscuit from Red Lobster. Are we all square on that? Good. 

In the town where you are from, I'm assuming Red Lobster is actually a legitimate dinner option as are many other chains. Oh, it's Valentine's Day? Let's get some calamari from Olive Garden. Oh, you passed your bar exam? Sounds like the perfect occasion for some spinach artichoke dip from TGI Fridays. Oh, it's Saturday night and you want to get a little crazy? I can think of no better way to blow off some steam than a Presidente Margarita from Chili's. 

In New York City, going to a chain restaurant is a cardinal sin. It's as bad as blocking the sidewalk and taking pictures with the naked cowboy. If you eat at Red Lobster, you have Times Square Tourist written all over you and everyone in the East Village will throw you dirty looks.

And hey, of course you should not spend your life going to chain restaurants. Authentic, local cuisine is something to be celebrated. But good GOD, HOW GOOD ARE CHEESE BISCUITS?!

4. Having private breakdowns in your car

There was a time when you realized that nothing in your world was quite right and you were probably never going to be a concert flautist or whatever it was that you wanted to be, and you left wherever it was that you realized this tough truth and walked to your car, closed the door, and proceeded to melt down like Claire Danes at the end of Romeo + Juliet. Remember that time? It was a terrible moment, but it needed to happen, and your car was there for you as a soundproof box of emotional freedom. 

In New York, no such thing exists. Whenever you experience rejection or profound heartache, you've got to have your little moment on public transit. 

Of course, this is also a totally respectable NYC alternative:

But seriously, as much as you hated sitting in traffic before, there comes a time in your New York City adventure where you would give anything to have a car again. You miss singing as loud as you want, eating pungent meals, and seeing the sun or moon as you travel. You also miss the days when traveling five miles didn't take an hour out of your day. 

And if you happen to be one of the few New Yorkers with a car, you miss the days of turning right on red and not feeling like death is always eminent. 

5. Living like a KING

Just look at this listing from Pflugerville, Texas! $745 a month for a TWO BEDROOM apartment with walk-in closets and access to a swimming pool, fitness center, basketball & volleyball courts, and something called a clubhouse. Do you know what $745 a month gets you in New York? You could probably sleep in some murderer's trundle bed for about $800 in Queens, but that's about it. 

That might be dramatic, but still, when I think back on where I lived in Austin, I can't believe how spoiled I was. Vaulted ceiling, wrap-around patio, pool, DISHWASHER (the rarest of amenities in NYC), laundry downstairs, fireplace, central air, giant closets, room for a kitchen table, and absolutely no cockroaches. I lived like a celebrity for HALF of what I'm paying now.

What would my life be like in Austin if I paid my current rent? Like, certainly that apartment would come with a speed boat and a live-in masseuse, right? I would still be broke as all hell, but man, the amenities!

Anyone who has moved to New York City has come to the realization that we are all idiots. All of us. This thing we are doing -- living here and paying for apartments we can barely afford -- it just makes no sense. We should probably move and live sensibly in a somewhat less interesting city, but damnit, we love it here, and if paying through the nose is how we keep on being New Yorkers then so be it.

Obviously, I have so many other things that I miss about living outside of New York City, but I'll save that for another time. In the meantime, I will just curl into the fetal position, rock back and forth, and remind myself that I live in the best city in the world.

And guys, I really do.

Hey New York City Settlers, what are the things you miss about the place you moved from? I'd love to commiserate! 


  1. I have an eerie feeling #3 may be aimed directly at me, the food-snob East Villager. But FYI, my dear friend, I love Olive Garden Bread Sticks. UNLIMITED. I simply choose not to wait 3 hours for them in Times Square (because that is how long the wait is)when I could go to The Spotted Pig in the Village and wait one hour for a Michelin Star.

    The Village Food Snob.

    1. Oh man, BREAD STICKS! While #3 was not about you necessarily, it does help me greatly to know that Olive Garden bread sticks are still a treasure in your life. You are my East Village Food Delegate, and I thank you for the role that plays in my life.


Popular Posts