Thursday, March 18, 2010

Q 4 a Bl-Fly: New York State of Mind

Q: Would you recommend NYC as a good place to live? I've been idly toying with the idea of picking up my roots and planting them in the big apple. I probably won't(the cold weather es no bueno)but still I want your opinion. ~ Lexycon

A: Dear Lexycon,

As I contemplate picking up my roots and planting them a little farther down 95 South, this couldn’t come at a better time.

Simply put, I LOVE NEW YORK. Yeah that sounds like some cheesy tourism slogan but seriously, I love my city and I love the fact that I was born and raised right here. I think that’s why I came back after college and why it has taken me so long to give serious thought to moving out. Many people who aren’t from here can’t imagine growing up on a concrete playground. I can’t imagine life without it.

I could go on and on and on and….( and that's my BIG Tribute (RIP)…can you guess what song I stole that from?). Instead I’ll give you a pros and cons list of New York.

Cons (yes I’m starting with the Cons. Lets just get all the unpleasantries out the way, shall we???)

1. Crowded. If you’re obsessed with the parameters of personal space, then this city is not for you. With 8 million people who live here, coupled with the millions of tourist who visit DAILY, personal space goes out the window, especially on public transportation when strangers get closer to the cookies than dudes on a first (or second) date.

2. This dump costs how much? The cost of living is high here, especially when it comes to your humble abode (and many apartments in NY are humbling to say the least). I have friends elsewhere who pay less in mortgage for a modest 3 bedroom house than what some New Yorkers pay for rent on a box they call 'home'. Mortgage/maintenance/rent will eat a lot of your budget. Anything with convenience or amenities will have you paying out the arse. Unless you got a hook-up. Then all is irrelevant. But you may have to pack and move in the middle of the night. LOL

3. Nature. If nature is your thing, then this may not be your place. In some neighborhoods, you may have to take the subway to see grass. (I really don’t see this as a con since I’m allergic to grass but some will see it as such).

4. Winter. As you mentioned, cold weather is no bueno here. There are days when that winter wind whips you like you stole something from their momma. This social butterfly is not all that social when I have to bundle up in 10 layers and then have to take off most (not all) of these layers when I arrive somewhere to then turn around to put all 10 layers back on to go back out into the bitter cold. Sure I’m exaggerating as people from sub-Arctic climates like to point out whenever they hear New Yorkers complain about the cold temps (which I loathe by the way. I choose not to live in your sub-Arctic world so let me complain about freezing my ass off because this is about as cold as I care to know, okay. wooosah). However, a pro to this con? I haven't shoveled snow in YEARS!!!!! That's what groundspeople, maintenance workers, and sanitation are for. I must admit though I live on a major street in Manhattan. Its not the same on side streets in outer boroughs.


1. Calendar Overload. There is ALWAYS something to do in this here city. ALWAYS. So much so, that there are stretches of time where I just find myself going and going and going and going. Between new restaurants and gallery openings and museums and Broadway and off Broadway and way off Broadway and TV show tapings and clubs and lounges and bars and events and fundraisers and meetups and organization obligations and brunches and lunches and happy hours and dinners you will always have something to do. And often times many of these things are free (did I mention I saw Corrinne Bailey Rae in Concert back in December, heard her entire new album, and some crowd favorites from her last CD? All for F-R-E-E). And if not free, then low-cost.

2. Shopping Mecca. Yeah, I said it. And I mean it. New York is the Holy Grail of shopping. Whatever your style, whatever your price point, you will find it here. Of course now a days, you get anything on the Internets but it doesn't beat strolling into a store with no expectations and strolling out with a bag full of wardrobe goodies. What I love best is that not everything is a chain store. Sure I spend a shitload of money in Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, Marshalls, etc. but occasionally I score key pieces in my wardrobe from some lil shop in Soho or a street vendor on the Upper West Side (I actually tried on and purchased a dress in the street. Gotta love this place. hahahahaaaa)

3. 24/7 convenience. While the saying the "city that never sleeps" is not quite true, New York is definitely a night owl/early bird hybrid - sleep is involved somehow, maybe in shifts. This weekend while I was in DC (later blog), I wanted a cup of Starbucks Saturday night. Every Starbucks was closed, like lights out, n*gga (what song is that from..hahahaha). It was only 9:30!!! Seriously, Starbucks here closes at 11 and there are a few that close at midnight. Why was everything closed at 9:30??!! Like could I really live in a place where I can't get a cup of Starbucks at 9:30 at night. And don't judge me (or ask me why) I needed a cup of Starcrack at 9:30. Just know that I'm used to the convenience of my life here. If I want a sammich at 2 in the morning and I have no bread or meat in my apartment, I know I can walk to the corner store and ask the man to make me one through the class partition. Or I can get to a great 24 hour diner in less that 20 minutes. Our public transportation system (while sometimes a piece of shit) runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (the weekends are hell, hence my previous assessment. you'll get to where you have to go but on the weekends, its always a process). Then there is also our lovely system of yellow taxis. Trust you will master the art of hailing a taxi in a matter of days. It comes in handy when you are PLASTERED at 4 am when you're leaving a party and you need to get home (look ma, no drunk driving!! hahahhaa)

4.United Colors of Benetton. Remember those old school ads from Benetton? The ones with the darkest black person on the planet juxtaposed against the lightest white person on the planet and both embraced by an asian or pacific islander?? Well, I don't know for sure but someone had to have gotten the idea for that campaign while walking the streets of New York City. Every corner of the world is represented here, whether its through a restaurant or just walking down the street. New York has to be the only city in the world where a billionaire will sit down next to someone on welfare on public transportation. Yes many of our neighborhoods are segregated but I think of it as authentic cultural enclaves throughout the city. Chinatown just wouldn't be the same if an influx of Mexicans took over. (and I don't mean this in a racist way. I'm just trying to make a point. I don't want to end up on slyfoxnews defending my words. hahahahaha)

5.Summer Summer Summertime. Yeah I know a man from Philly penned this song but damn if New York is not theeee place to be in the summer - the rooftop parties with views of of any iconic facet of the New York Skyline, the streets are happier and so are the people when the weather is nice. There is a barbecue in Brooklyn every summer that makes me fall in love with black people all over again. A sea of beautiful, educated, non confrontational, unghetto (yes I made that up)multi hued, stylishly dressed black folk gathered in the name of sun and eye candy. I don't care where I live in the future, I must be back here for this barbecue (and a few other summer rituals). Oh and the street fairs!!! Seriously there is a street fair EVERY WEEKEND in this city. Of course some are better than other but with delish foods, delectable treats and bargains all under concrete street anchored tents with sunny blue skies overhead - what more can you ask for??

6. Tough Skin. Sure there are a plethora of songs devoted to this city but Old Blue Eyes said it Best: "If I can make it there/I'll make it anywhere". This city has a nurturing toughness about it. Its not easy to live here but after living here, I guarantee you can live almost anywhere else in the world (war zones and third world countries excluded) and feel like you're gonna make it after all (cue Mary Tyler Moore and throw hat in the air). Instead of filming all of those Survivor episodes in remote deserted locations, there needs to be a Survivor: New York Edition. I can respect the winner of that one. New York gives you that liquid courage that most people only find in a liquor store. There is this air of invincibility like there really is nothing you can't do, these streets do inspire you (cue A. Keys and Jay Z; grab your Yankee fitted) and you can in fact leave here knowing that you will indeed make it anywhere.

I could go on and on and on but I think you get the point. I hope I've given you some food for thought. Writing this has definitely given me something to think about.

Any New Yorker feel free to add your pros and cons in the comment section. Lex, if you move here you will find New Yorkers are indeed quite helpful (contrary to Hollywood belief) - another pro. ;)


I know I've been slacking on these Q 4 a B-fly questions like George Bush at Yale, but please keep them coming. I truly enjoy answering them. To make up for my slackitude(yes I made it up), I'm going to answer another question tomorrow. Ask away at or click in that little white box to your right. xoxo


MackDiva said...

As a transplanted New Yorker who now lives in California, I can honestly attest to what TRB speaks of. For me, NYC is kind of place that gets under your skin like a bad rash, but you love to scratch it because it's so much fun.

I was there for seven years, and I can honestly say that I'd move back in a heartbeat. If the weather wasn't so cold, I probably wouldn't have left. ;)

Redbonegirl97 said...

I too love NY, but I only visit the spot. My friend graduated fromgrad school and the next week was living in a shelter because he couldn't afford anything else after graduation. Thank God a friend allowed him to stay with her till he got backon his feet. I am making my journey there in the next month or two. This girls got shopping to do. (cute that rhymed, lol)


makeba said...

Could not described the Pros/Cons any better.

£ said...

I love it! :-)

your pros and cons list is excellent and gave me something to think about. I do love the shopping, the abundance of different cultures(read: FOOD), amazing shows and museums, the energy that NYC has. Basically everything you outlined as a pro is what I enjoy about the big apple.

LOL @ mackdiva's new york as a rash analogy.

The cons are what get me stuck (people people everywhere, cold, cost of living) but I'm thinking that when I clear my first billion i'll buy a penthouse at central park west or one of those gorgeous brownstones, and spend my summers in the city that never sleeps. (with occasional trips to the hamptons. lol). :-)

Thank you Janelle!