#27 New York is Hell... and I Love It
Keep New York's name out of your mouth
This could be a love letter of some sort, but it’s a hate letter to everyone who has put New york on a high pedestal, those that have set very high and unrealistic expectations of the city. Who has romanticized it or reduced it to a “ party city” you all should know by now that my point of view and critique of our culture and America, is heavily influenced by being from New York So in anything you’ve ever read by me ( thank you for reading it), it is the perspective of an insufferable New Yorker. It is the perspective of a unique experience, it is the perspective of someone who will always choose New York.
Recently I’ve heard from non-new yorkers, friends, ex-friends, acquaintances drunk strangers at a party who desperately need to tell me about their myopic action-packed blockbuster view of New York that they hate. I never truly understood the disdain nor the fixation of outsiders when it comes to the big apple. It’s either they love New York or they hate it but their reasons for hating it have never made any sense to me.
Be wary of folks who speak poorly of New York
If you don’t like New York you’re the problem, not us. Listen, I get it, it’s a city not for the soft. I know I’ve heard you all say— “I can get a mansion with the rent you pay.” And I say to those people that no one is living here for the housing. No one comes here looking for a mansion. They come here looking for an opportunity. Well, that’s what my parents would say. Hey, suit yourself if you don’t want to go to the corner store, get a sandwich an apple, or chips buy a lotto ticket, pet the manager ( a cat) leave the store and see a guy playing Africa by Toto on the steel drum all in 6 minutes, your loss.
“You guys don’t have backyards I need a backyard.” Will you just stop already? Do you think having a square piece of grass outside in Minnesota equates to living in New York? There is no comparison. Not liking New York is the worst personality trait you can have.
When I discuss and critique the changing culture of the city, I’m critiquing the person that comes here with entitlement and the assumption that you can survive here without pouring into a city and its people and still demanding community in return.
My dad would say if you hate new york it’s because you’re afraid of becoming a fresher version of yourself that requires one to be a team player.
New York is diverse, not anti-racist
Tourist, oh tourists… if you’re new here you will know that I loathe tourists. everyone has been a tourist in their life but the difference between tourists that visit New York is they look at the excitement they’ve never seen anything like it they see the fashion and the friends and they say— “ Oh I can make it here.” and in 2 months they’ve arrived and now they’re on the subway, calling the police on the Black guy selling candy bars.
With Gentrifiers and fame seekers there is this utopian idea of a non-violent northern part of the country, where everyone gets along and we’re all living in high rises. We forget to mention in the welcome packet maybe its fine print I doubt it, but that New York held one of the most grotesque institutions of slavery in America. That poverty in New York is devastatingly high. And like the rest of North America, we use a white supremacy campaign to police and eliminate Blackness.
Not being aware of this or being surprised by the anti-blackness here is a showing of an incomprehension of not just American history but the history of a struggle Black people, and people of color have to fight every day to continue making this a livable city. There is anti-blackness anywhere you go. A big misconception of this part of America is that there is less racism, either due to the colorful people, or an immigrant culture that influences art music, and food. But I find that people forget, that where there is an abundance of Black, Latino, and immigrant communities there will always be heavy policing. Like the rest of the world, New York’s continued wealth is due to those former generations and their descendants that bleed for New York.
Don’t move to New York if you want to be famous
Hey sometimes it works, there is always going to be someone from Willacoochee Georgia that has an exceptional resume because their college tuition was 50 dollars a year and then they come to New York and make it big.
And most of the time it doesn't work, and the New Yorkers that have made it here, know it takes more than talent, it takes forming relationships and fostering genuine community with others. It takes faking it, it takes flexing so you don’t shrink. That is something that isn’t always an attribute one can exhibit.
I will say there were vastly more opportunities here back in the day, but the dreams of the people still exist, hope is the motivation to hustle.
The expectation to arrive at a place where generations of families have cultivated community respect, and love and think you out of everyone else wouldn’t be affected based on proximity to fame, whiteness, or wealth, is a disappointment you could’ve avoided if your need to be here was actually a genuine goal towards success.
Some people use fame as a disguise when they’re actually looking for power and they think this is a city that can grant them that because there was no power they could obtain in their obscure town.
Why New York is Magical
New York is like everywhere else but it is the only place where no other city can compare to uniqueness, the fun and coming out of your apartment every day and seeing the chaos, the serendipity that is Blackness that is Spanish Harlem that is Chinatown. Nowhere else can you experience a culture where every day we’re all individually the main character and somehow the stories that we end up telling later tonight over dinner, could intersect and overlap with the day that a million other people had. We’re all in each other’s stories we’re all a part of someone else’s perspective, and that is a rare experience.
So your inability to navigate the community here doesn’t mean the people in the city are out of service, or that the people here are less human than in another state. It’s that some of us lack the ability to be passionate about a city of people that are ungovernable. We’re a tough crowd. Listen, who am I to bring you down, you may have better luck controlling folks elsewhere I don’t want to come in between a tourist and their dreams.
How are people surviving in New York?
It’s a secret.
And the only people that know are 8 million of us, to be exact.
Some of you never got the recipe on how to exist here, because, at the end of the day, you were just a tourist who got bored of sightseeing and found out New York is a real place with real people.
New York, I choose you always.
cue Africa by Toto
Thank you for reading, I can’t believe so many of you have bad taste. Thanks for sticking around!
really bad taste is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.