Sunday, June 8, 2008

Wait, not everyone wants to live in NYC?

In college, when I told people I wanted to live in New York City after school I typically got one of three responses:

1 - Awesome. I'm crashing on your sofabed.
2 - Good for you, but I'll keep my Colorado or move to California thankyouverymuch.
3 - NYC sucks.

Most of the people who gave me the third response had never even been to the city (and in some cases had never even left Colorado). So I usually dismissed it as the typical midwestern anti-East Coast bias. Then once I arrived here some of my friends told me how much they hate the's expensive, people are rude, etc....but they were usually from Boston so I dismissed it as typical Boston anti-New York sentiment.

But now there's been a new type of person that I can't lump into a broad generalization category: the person who just plain doesn't like New York. These people have actually been to New York. They aren't from one of our rivalry towns. Some came here with a positive view and had their minds changed. Some just like the suburbs or country better.

I was at a dinner party a couple of weeks ago telling some new acquaintances about my experiences living here so far. Everyone seemed pretty interested but one of the couples revealed they didn't particularly like the city and rattled off several reasons why. Turns out they were from Boston. But then my friend B admitted he also hated the city. He hated it when his girlfriend dragged him there, he hated it when his friends wanted to party there, he hated getting anywhere within 15 miles of the place.

I was so shocked that I gasped audibly. I have known B for about 5 years and this was the first time I was hearing this. "But...but...we party in the city all the time," I said. "I know, and I do it because that's what everyone else wants to do, but I hate it," he replied. "You're down here practically every weekend though!" I insisted. "Because [my girlfriend] makes me come down," he retorted. "The things you do for love." My eyes glazed over and I tuned out of the conversation. I was trying to process this...there are people who actually don't like New York City?

I went outside for some air and a little while later T came out to find me. You okay? he asked me. I stammered on for a few minutes about how people from all over the world come to New York City because it's the place to be and how could anyone possibly hate? T, an NYC ex-patriot now living up in CT, laughed and reminded me that not everyone loves the sound of parties and ambulances at 2 AM, apartments smaller than most people's closets and food prices that put designer clothing to shame.

"Besides," he said. "Isn't the city already crowded enough? If everyone loved it you'd be priced out."

Okay, you win T. Good point. But my god. I have this whole new perspective I have to incorporate into my worldview now. Not everyone loves New York...not everyone loves it. I keep thinking that if I say it to myself enough I will realize it's true.

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