Why New York is Over
Yesterday, I wrote about my recent vacation to New York and what I got up to and made a passing mention about this trip feeling somewhat different for me. I couldn’t put my finger on what it was, this weird feeling of something not being quite right, pretty much until the end of the trip. Only then did I realise…New York is over.
Yup, I said it. And it pains me to do so. I moved to New York when I was 22 and lived there for a year and a half. It was a city of dreams. I’d never been before I moved there and every day was like an adventure. I had no money to my name, but I had the time of my life. The city had this indescribable energy and buzz about it. I felt it truly was like nowhere else on earth (or nowhere I’d been at least). If you could make it there, you could make it anywhere. This time around, it seems the city has been stripped of that essence. Where’s its soul gone? That excitement and buzz is no longer there. It just seemed bland.
Shopping wise, not that I ever really found it that great a shopping city to begin with (its ‘fashion capital’ status has always been way overstated in my opinion), but now, it’s just all so homogenised. I didn’t see anything there that I couldn’t have found in London (or found in London five years ago for that matter). Independent boutiques provided little in the way of inspired design and if you can find a dress for under $300, consider that a good day.
Which brings me to the expense. New York is RIDONKULOUSLY expensive. I never remember it being this bad, but one day during this vacation when I went out for lunch on my own, had a chicken wrap, a diet coke and a hot chocolate and it cost me $30. I nearly fell off my seat. Why in the hell am I paying $30 for lunch? I’d never pay £30 here for such simple food. Then factor in, of course, that you have to tip every two bit, crappy service giving nobody and it’s enough to send you over the edge. I find the expectation that I must tip to be really offensive. The whole point of a tip is that it’s given for exceptional service and while yes, for the most part the service is better than it is in England, it doesn’t always warrant a gratuity.
I guess there’s been a big crack down on begging on the trains, which yes is beneficial in some ways, but now every train has a mariachi band busking for money. Can I get a little variety? What happened to the young kids who’d get on selling sweets claiming they were selling them to raise money for their basketball team? Did they all make it to the NBA? Didn’t think so. In the meantime, what do I gotta do to get some peanut M&M’s up in here?!
Overall, what it boils down to is that New York hasn’t progressed. There’s a cockiness about the city that it doesn’t need to try, purely because it’s New York, a world famous city that supposedly everybody wants to be in. But where’s the innovation? Where’s the newness? Where’s the vibe? It’s been lazy and lost its crown. Creatively and in pretty much every other way, London is crapping all over New York right now.
I never thought I’d see the day I’d fall out of love with the Big Apple, but right now, I’m happy to be in a city that gives me butterflies as I navigate its streets. It’s all about London and other European cities, oozing creativity and coolness from every pore. Sometimes you have to go away to realise what you love is right here at home.