Thoughts on New York

I just returned from a week in New York. New York is a silly place. Some observations:

-Manhattan is infested with humans. They’re everywhere. Every coffee shop, restaurant, store, street corner and subway station is crawling with them. I always bug out a little bit when I’m in a place with a ton of humans because each and every one of them has an entire life story to tell—each one with his or her own fears, hopes, insecurities, grudges, loves, secrets, tragedies, triumphs, regrets, plans, talents and deficiencies—and each one is deeply important to several other people out there. Nowhere is this fact crazier than New York.

-The logistics of life are absurdly easy in New York. Anything you want or need, at any hour of the week, is quickly and easily attainable. You can do seven errands in under an hour and usually within a three-block radius. If you ranked every place in the world on a scale of logistical ease, New York would come in first by a mile. Among the bottom five would be Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Western China.

-How does anyone live in New York and have under six pieces of pizza a week? The pizza in LA is bad and the good places are miles away from each other. In New York, heavenly pizza is always within 22 steps from wherever you are standing. How am I supposed to walk by a corner pizza place at 3:30pm, not especially hungry but not especially full either, and not grab a slice?

-I walked more miles in one week in New York than I have in the past three months in LA.

-In LA, if you want to go out on a Friday or Saturday night, you have five options, and all of them are bad:

1) Drink and drive
2) Drink and take $40 of taxis
3) Drink and sleep on someone’s couch
4) Stay sober
5) Force one of your friends to stay sober and drive

#5 is ideal but rarely occurs. At some point I just accepted that a couple thousand dollars of cab money was going to have to be a part of my budget every year, and #2 became my go-to option. But it’s a terrible set of options, and a lot of people end up driving regularly when they’re kind of drunk. This isn’t a problem in New York. Nothing is easier than getting around and meeting up with people on nights out.

-It’s not that everything is that much more expensive in New York than other places—it’s just that I always end up spending way more there than anywhere else. It’s hard to exactly pinpoint where all the money goes. But it goes.

-My friend Ryan took me to the ballet one night. That’s right—my male friend and I went on a special night out to the ballet. I had never been to a ballet before and realized that I had always just assumed that ballet was only something that 10-year-old girls did. But it was this big whole thing—the theater was packed (with humans) and the show was really interesting, if a bit weird. I, of course, was completely out of my element and I appalled a lot of people. First, I was way under-dressed. Then, I brought a sandwich to my seat, which was not received well. Then, at the end of intermission, I came back to my seat late and had to step over everyone and stepped on an old lady’s foot. Still, I enjoyed myself.

-My friend Jesse and I spent an afternoon in Coney Island. We had a plan to hang out and basically looked at the subway map and decided to head somewhere weird. It was pretty interesting, slightly uncomfortable, very Coney, and we capped off the afternoon by having dinner at Wally’s, a local restaurant. I ordered buffalo wings and onion rings and rice and had trouble walking in straight line for the next three hours.

Some other notes:
  • I had a 9:30 appointment this morning and showed up at 10:30. Because the damn clocks changed and no one told me. Or actually, everyone else’s clocks changed and mine stayed the same. How the hell was I supposed to know that I had entered a different time zone while I was sleeping last night? I said it and I’ll say it again—this is archaic and it needs to stop.
  • A couple nights ago, Andrew “The Body” Finn and I participated in a charity fundraiser thing and Scrabble was the gimmick. So Andrew and I were a team against these two women. After dropping QUAGMIRE on them to start the game for 76 points (we passed, hoping they’d play an “I” and they did), they got all the good letters and beat us by 10. Yes, I’m being a sore loser and no, I’m not gonna get over this for a long time. The other highlight of the night was our table getting yelled at for talking during one of the children’s speeches. It brought back wonderful memories of my youth as a class clown.
  • I went to a bar last night and had multiple “11% alcohol” beers. Let me just say, beware of 11% beers.
  • A friend pointed me to mint.com. You enter all your bank and credit card info and it tracks and categorizes all of your spending automatically. It’s also an aesthetically delicious and incredibly user-friendly site. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
  • According to the people, it is officially better to be a guy. Good to know.
  • Finally, this is intensely interesting-- each state is labeled with a country whose GDP is approximately the same as that state's (you might want to click on the photo to see it larger):

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love the map! Just some random thought. You should make a comparison trip to Wyoming/Uzbekistan; Texas = Canada is probably a little ironic; Georgia = the new Switzerland? Surprising; no Germany? How did that happen? Nothing compares to Germany? (I agree); The Carolinas are doing pretty well!

Emperor Paolo said...

Fun to read, great post, good work. Keep posting!

Bel said...

Thanks a lot for the recaps blog. You just did me a huge favour. How immensely ironic is it that Brazil is New York on the map ?

Love the world said...

I guess you are really a big map fan,Tim.Me,I'm a kind of person who has no sense of direction,even when I got a map at hand(so usually I'd like to ask the locals for help when I got lost).
Sally

Anonymous said...

Tim, you'll love this NYT map.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/03/10/us/20090310-immigration-explorer.html?exampleSessionId=1236776841869&exampleUserLabel=nytimes

Newman said...

Where did you find that map, or did you create it yourself?

Aditi said...

Haha.."Manhattan is infested with humans"..I'm from India. I know exactly how that feels! :)

Anonymous said...

What's so great about New York pizza?