Monday, May 5, 2014

An Emotional Downward Spiral: Living in New York

I moved away from the sweetest city in America to live with and emotionally support my fiance in New York as he furthered his career. Film incentives in Los Angeles have dropped 10% while they've risen 14% here. They slowed way down in New Orleans, too. New York City is booming in film and advertising productions, so this is definitely the place to move if you're in the business. So we did the best we could do on almost no budget; we packed a couple of suitcases, cleaned out the apartment back in New Orleans, and hopped a plane to the big apple. (That's just the quick & easy explanation..)

In truth, our transition to the North was much more gut wrenching. He thought he was coming up here for a week to look for work, and he ended up getting gigs every day he was here. Soon I got the phone call that forced us to make a quick decision and pack our bags. I would clear out the home down south, put everything we could keep in storage, and sell the rest, while he kept going to work and making the money that would get us an apartment. July passed.. then August, September.. it was almost time for me to meet him in the city.

I got to the airport 4 months after he left the first time for New York. The time apart had been unbearable, and I had three heavy bags with absolute necessities in them and nothing more. Tears streamed from my eyes as I watched New Orleans fade out of sight from my window. He'd been couch surfing for months out of a duffel bag, and he was working when I hit town. I walked into the last place he'd been staying. It was supposedly some million dollar apartment in an upscale hipster neighborhood in Brooklyn. The apartment was sterile and empty when I walked in. There was an airbed under some back windows where he'd been sleeping, and a letter I'd written to him months back was taped to the wall. Some clothes strewn around on the floor.. a couple of beers in the fridge.. the place was more like a barely touched hotel room. It even smelled like a hotel room. It felt.. sad. And lonely.

When he wrapped that night and finally met me, it was magic. We spent the next 4 days scrambling like two overexcited teenagers. We were looking desperately for a place to live together. We found a sublet on Craigslist and stayed there for four more months. We were then forced to find another apartment, and we found out quickly how ridiculously difficult it is to find a place to live in New York City. Over the next four more.. (everything has occurred in quarters since the beginning) we'd be beaten down emotionally and financially while trying to survive. Thank god I wasn't trying to build a career & reputation as well.. at least one of us had to be a full time emotional supporter in this godforsaken place.

Today, we've come a long way. It's been almost a year since this change started. We have an apartment, he's made extremely good contacts and is getting the work he wanted, and we're slowly starting to build our safety net (slowly.. operative word, there). But is living in New York as a person who's not interested in a big career and money.. worth it? While I absolutely love and support my fiance to no end, I can honestly say that New York City is not my cup of tea.

I have not personally experienced anything that would make me love, or even like, this city. It's a place of filth and illness (I've stayed sick more often up here than I have anywhere else), I've experienced so much more racial tension up here than anywhere else I've lived, and the quality of life seems to be terrible. Nobody's ever happy. And if anyone is happy, someone is annoyed with their happiness and speaks their mind about it. It's a madhouse. You're forced to be in a hurry (all the time.. no breaks), the cost of living is not worth what you make on the job, and community is non-existent unless you've lived here all your life and in one spot. I feel more uncomfortable walking around up here alone during the day than I ever did in New Orleans after 4 am in the ghetto. Seriously. And New Orleans suffers way more of a murder rate than New York.

I've just figured out what others think is awesome about New York, and the list is as follows:

* Go out with friends and experience the "New York Life"
* Eat
* Shop
* Experience Broadway shows and/or other tourist attractions
* Art museums... ?

Really??? You must be joking.

First of all, what the hell do you mean when you say "experience the New York life"? Is that just hanging out while using NYC as a backdrop of skyscrapers and dim lit restaurants? If you're just going for a look, Okay.. I guess. To be honest, Manhattan got old to me about two days after I was in it. It's too noisy, crowded, expensive, and just plain annoying. There's no space. There's no way to breathe. You can't look at anything or you'll bump into someone and piss them off. Not worth the hype. I've had much better times with friends in New Orleans. Sorry. This town has nothing on the greatest adult playland in America.

Eating. Okay, I'll give New York that one. It is very hard to find bad food here. That's because there are so many restaurants, they can't be bad or they'll go out of business within a week. So yes, you do have fantastic food choices. But tell me this.. are you going to go out to eat every night? When you're spending 3 thousand or more in rent per month on a crate sized apartment, you're not going to get to go out and eat that often.

Shopping. Oh. My. God. This is the most annoying and depressing hobby out there. I have never liked shopping, so this one goes to the birds. I can actually say that I cry when I go shopping, I get so upset and annoyed. It's a godawful experience. I'd rather sit at home in my pajamas and find my necessities online, have them delivered to my house, and never set foot outside. I can't stand sales reps, I don't like selections in physical stores, and I loathe the sizing designers use in the U.S. for clothing. It doesn't make any sense. Oh.. did I mention I hate crowds?

Broadway shows and tourist traps. One broadway show in my lifetime is enough. I've seen two. They're overpriced. They're plays. Whatever. Statue of Liberty? Nice historic figure... that I can see from a boat. I don't need to go there and look up at it. What's it gonna do? Smile at me? Maybe seeing it on acid would be fun. Empire State Building? Just a building. It's windy up there. My dress flew over my face when I went up, revealing the only underwear I had left that was clean for the week.. a stretched out pair of granny panties. The lesson I took away from it was to never wear granny panties again. And art museums are great.. once. Then you've seen them. And guess what? They're all over the world! There are art museums everywhere! What about that?

So in the end, what can you do in New York that makes it so fucking special? You can work. That's all you can do. You go to New York City to make money, and you hope it will be enough to pay your rent and boost your career reputation. That's really all NYC is good for. So come to New York and make your money. Then take that money and move away to a nicer place.

***************PART TWO

Yeah, there's a part two.. it's coming soon. 

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