Being raised middle-class, New York has little to offer in the kind of lowbrow attractions we enjoy. Townies do not make enough money to live in the neighborhoods their parents did, to drink or shop where their relatives once did, they’re not catered to, despite all upscale establishments trying to recreate that old middle-class flavor: the speakeasies, the butcher classes, the PBR, the lumberjack fashion, the intermittently-working Buck Hunter. The middle-class transplants that have thrived here are gross exaggerations of their townie brethren, their ambition in tow with all of the off-color flavor of their upbringing. Long Island, Westchester, New Jersey folk bring all of the willful ignorance of the middle class with none of the work ethic and camaraderie to support it, making their legitimate grievances easy to ignore and caricature (well, easier). I like going to other cities and meeting hot waitresses, bus drivers (female), and busty teachers who can afford to live in the neighborhood they work in and interact with.If you’d like to buy a brownstone in one of the prior-working class meccas such as Carroll Gardens or Fort Green, you’re looking at $2.3 million dollars, which is $10k a month in mortgage payments for 30 years, which means you must clear bare-minimum $400k a year if my calculations are correct, which don’t take any kind of taxes or interest into account because I’m not that passionate about making that number any more depressing than it already is. How many heiresses of Mayonnaise empires could there be?
The subway is an amazing way to get around however. I used to take the F home from 34th st to deep Brooklyn at 3:45 in the morning on a Saturday night without a complaint, and now I will whine to literally who will listen that I am now 5 minutes further away from Atlantic than I used to be, which has a one-shot express train to Canal St over the Manhattan Bridge. You don’t really have to pay attention which is why it’s leaps and bounds above any reason I would ever move to Los Angeles, which it is a 20 minute auto-adventure to get a soda, and you can’t read or sleep while you’re doing that. Plus, I’ve only felt myself to be in physical harm’s way twice in this city, once when I was stoned and a bunch of youths stormed up and down the subway train and I braced myself for certain death, and another time when some don threatened to sic the Columbian mafia on me outside notorious gangster bar Fat Black PussyCat, who ended his threatening monologue with “God Bless You”, to which I replied “Bless you back”, which almost resulted in fisticuffs, which is actually way less altercations than even elementary school. Mean streets, indeed.
I could write a book about all the ways New York has disappointed, of all the wasted talent, resources, and money, of all the ways it gets pushed around by global interests, cow-towing locals and NIMBYs, how the lack of cultural vibrancy isn’t perfectly making up for the unworldliness of the first phases of my life, how the Williamsburg/Bushwick scene is the elitist artist scene it’s always been since high school, how no one warned me of how much class affects career, relationships, and ambition (especially looking up), of the way people transform once the glimmer of success seems in grasp, their insecurities exaggerated and allegiances optioned, of how people toss all sorts of themselves out the window to ensure the money is being made, of how race relations have simmered down to a point of polite conversation, of how this metropolis attracts the only the most extreme worst kind of people with the best intentions, of the constant battle between you’re-going-out-too-much-you’re-not-getting-anything-done and why-are-you-sitting-in-your-apartment-you-loser-why-do-you-even-live-here, and the constant time-constraints that force you to realize what it is you really want to do because there’s no time to do it any other way. But it’s these very disappointments that you don’t think about anywhere else.