Dec 14, 2020
Stuff That Makes Ex-New Yorkers Miss NYC
New York City is the city that never sleeps, and it’s full of magic and mayhem and memories. After doing a stint in the city, you’ll feel like some kind of champion who fought in a strange, sooty yet somehow glamorous dream war and survived. But you also may find yourself feeling nostalgic at unexpected things.
There is something so New York about watching people break up in public. The sobbing; the screaming; the throwing of cell phones; the tearing of hair; all done right in the middle of a busy street on a weekday (what are these people doing breaking up at 11 a.m. on a Tuesday? Don’t they have places to be?) I recently saw a very dignified, tear-free public breakup in Silverlake, the hippest neighborhood in Los Angeles, and I felt two things: a.) sympathy for the folks involved and b.) a wistful longing for my former home, NYC, where the private becomes public very quickly.
Total strangers commenting on all aspects of your life
Speaking of public breakups, have you ever seen a public breakup that prompts strangers to stop in their tracks, converse among themselves EVEN WHEN THEY DON’T KNOW EACH OTHER, and offer opinions and advice? I have. Multiple times. New Yorkers will see two people arguing in public, pause, fold their arms, listen carefully, and say things like, “You know, he’s got a good point” and “Girl, you don’t have to take that shit from no man!” People offer unsolicited parenting advice, hair and makeup tips, dog training hints, and everything else under the sun. Is it horribly obnoxious? YES. And it is so beautifully loving and giving, even when it is profane.
That subway smell
Something about the stale, poorly-circulated air of the subway makes me feel at home every single time I’m in New York. I’m basically inhaling the exhalations of millions of daily travelers, mixed with exhaust and food smells and SOME fresh oxygen. It’s disgusting. But it’s home.
In most places in America, walking is something one only does at great length on a treadmill, or in one’s sleep. This lack of exercise is one reason we suffer from lifestyle-related diseases, along with our terrible Standard American Diet. New Yorkers walk everywhere — in the snow, in the rain, in the sleet, in the hail, in the disgusting swamp ass heat of August. They eat fried street foods, sure, but they walk it off (while watching public breakups, giving unsolicited advice to strangers, and inhaling that subway stench.)
New York City newspapers
New York is a city that still loves its newspapers. Yes, they’re declining along with the papers in other big cities, but New Yorkers will read the paper while walking from the newsstand to the subway, while on the subway, and while walking from the subway to work. It is wonderful and sometimes they walk into other people and things, AND THEN THEY BLAME THE OTHER PEOPLE AND THINGS, because hello, this is newspaper time.
What are your favorite things about NYC? Share in the comments, you scampity scamps! I will be meditating on the beauty of a dirty water dog slathered in mustard, sauerkraut, and the soot from a nearby construction project.