Saturday, December 30, 2006

Reasons to Leave New York Right Now


This week's New York Magazine gives us a media slam-book of reasons to leave New York right now. At least I think that's what they're doing.

The highlights:

Reason Number Seven: Because of the Lack of Privacy (So says the magazine: "We live in the voyeurism capital of the world where we can catch our neighbors in the act practically any time we want.")

Reason Number Eight: Trump (Apparently, his vulgarity and predictability make him the most entertaining entertainer outside of entertainment, and who doesn't adore the proliferation of sterile-looking, behemoth Trump buildings along the Hudson River in the 60's?)

Reason Number 12: "Because, Well, Just Get Up Tomorrow at Dawn and Walk Around." (I did that, and I saw garbage under pink smoggy skies. On the other hand, there was AMPLE parking, just like in South Park!)

Other reasons:

Because We Love to eat PORK! (Now, that's a reason if I ever heard one, although it strikes a particularly tasteless note in the month Charlotte's Web comes out.)

Because Our Water Tastes Terrible And We Think People Believe Us When We Tell Them It's Yummy. (I really can't respond to this, not having the stomach to even think about drinking out of my building's pipes).

Because of the Socialites. (Because who doesn't love to be constantly reminded of the fact that even in a supposedly high-minded, intellectual place like NYC, you can still make it on wealth and the ability to throw it around, alone).

Maggie Gyllenhaal. (It seems that some feel that we should be happy that some people who are famous for actually doing something live here too.)

Because Your Doorman Notices When You've Had Your Hair and Makeup Done and SAYS SO!(What woman doesn't love being surveyed and critiqued by uniformed men standing between her and her front door?)

Because the Mob is FUNNY! (Actually, ALL crime is funny.)

Because of all the Pretty But Unemployed Actresses Slinging Hash. (The magazine points out that it's really great to be served food by beautiful waiters. Because it sure never makes me think about the broken dreams of a generation of kids who came here seeking, well, not to be waiters.)

Because We Give Good Alienation. (When NOT having to say hello to your neighbor in the elevator or the deli down the street is a special treat and when avoiding eye contact with the throngs who are invading your personal space is your gift to humanity, you know that you've made it in Manhattan)

Because The Emotional Fallout From 9/11 Feels SOOO Good. (Every time I look at that big gaping hole, I think not about the loss but of our strength! Of our will to go on! And I also think about when the next attack will be, and whether this time, I will be in the wrong place at the wrong time).

Not to be a whiner, even as I whine, not to be down on a city that I am sure that plenty of you love, not to do a total about face on a city that I used to love, let me just add a dousing of my own fuel to the fire:

The other day I saw a guy walking down East 80th Street drop a razor blade out of his shirt pocket. A razor blade. My kids just walked on by like nothing strange had happened at all.

Last week, I came out of a deli and found am older woman in dirty clothing standing beside Lewis, whom I had tied up to a parking meter. In a voice gravelly with cigarette smoke and liquor, she said to me "You know, a lady walked by here and was going to steal your dog. To teach you a lesson about leaving your dog like that. But I stopped her." I felt afraid. But not so afraid that I didn't feel my rage. "Was that lady...perhaps YOU?" I asked indignantly. The older woman started yelling at me about dog thieves and leaving dogs tied up and blah blah blah.

"Mind your own business," I said, turning my back and walking away.

"Merry Christmas!" she yelled after me.

"Happy Hanukah" I yelled back.

"I don't celebrate Hanukah" she actually replied.

I shook my head and walked on.

And finally, I give you this: Recently, there have been murmurings in New York City of a privatization deal that would grant exclusive use of the prime playing fields in Randall's Island to a consortium of elite private schools. Actually, it's more than murmuring. This really could happen, and it really embarasses me to think that this could be permitted in this city or any city in this century.

I guess it really is time for me to ship out. All of that which I loved about living here in the past (first, the convenience to partying, then the convenience to work, then the convenience of popping out of the elevator with a baby buggy and walking wherever; the promise of Broadway shows, taxi rides to Lincoln Center, the exciting mix of people, the feeling of never being alone and loving it) have become either inapplicable to me in my life as it is now, or worse: reasons to leave. It's like all those cute things you adore in your new lover slowly becoming annoying and eventually despicable as time goes on until you just. can't. take. it. anymore.

My New Year's Resolution is to move to a place with lots of space to move about - both indoors and outdoors, to force myself into a situation where human interaction is a treat and not devalued by virtue of its excessive supply, to walk on streets where people don't throw their chicken bones and pizza crusts on the ground when no one's looking, or worse, shamelessly while someone IS looking. I know there are crazy people everywhere (and who knows...maybe to some, I am one of them). But do they have to be in my face all the time?

YC

1 comment:

B. Ferguson said...

Rationalization. I suppose 2 years ago you would have written this from the opposite point of view - i.e., why living in NYC is the greatest.

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Northern Westchester, New York, United States
I live by a duck pond. I used to live by the East River. I don't work. I used to work a lot. Now, not so much. I used to teach a lot of yoga. Now not so much. I still practice a lot of yoga though. A LOT. I love my kids, being outdoors, taking photos, reading magazines, writing and stirring the pot. Enjoy responsibly.

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