After last week’s article, 10 Things Awesome About NYC, here’s a little counterbalance.
1. The Insanely High Rents
NYC has the highest rents in the US—and ranks 4th highest in the world. As of January 2015, the average rent in Manhattan was a whopping $3,928. The cheapest room in Harlem or Buttfuck, Brooklyn will still cost you $700-800 a month. Finding a place when I first came here almost broke my soul.
2. Freezing Winters & Stifling Summers
Last week, it hit 3°F (-18°C). That’s bloody cold. At one stage this winter the mayor even banned cars off the road. And as for summer, temperatures frequently creep up to the 90s (mid-30°C) with uncomfortable humidity of around 80%. You sweat like a mo-fo.
(All that said, it’s still nice to experience actual seasons. In Ireland, it feels like the one season all year long—shit.)
The only thing more extreme than the weather. In the Western world, I can think of few places where the divide between certain nationalities/ethnic groups is so stark. Much like South Indians in Dubai or Oman, Mexican workers here are treated like sub-human worker ants by employers. Furthermore, because the inescapable link between class and race in the US, racial prejudice abounds. (Although NYC apparently fares better than other US cities.)
4. Crazy Homeless People
Speaking of poor people, the only thing worse than homeless people are crazy homeless people. I’ve encountered plenty of vagrants through Africa and Asia, but NYC has more nut-jobs than anywhere. I blame drug use. You’ll notice these kooks pretty quick—talking to themselves while people slowly back away from the smell of urine. Not sexy.
5. Beggars on the Train
Another unavoidable breed. You’re sitting on the subway enjoying a nice book , then suddenly—
“Excuse me, ladies and gentlemen! Can I have your attention please!”
God dammit, not another one. I don’t mind musicians or dancers, but the ones with the sob stories get tiring. They bellow a tale of woe, play on your emotions, and mope around with their hands out. The worst is when you get two on the same train journey. It’s sad, yes, but it’s still annoying. You just don’t have to deal with that kind of thing in Europe.
6. Trash Galore
In most civilized cities, you put your rubbish is these things called trash cans. Not in NYC. They just leave their bags stacked in trash mountains right on the sidewalk. Gross, lads. Cop on, will ya? Which leads us to our next problem…
7. Rats, mice and cockroaches
I haven’t dealt with so many rodents and insects since my last trip to Somalia. For rizzle. At my first apartment, every morning there was a crew of cockroaches waiting by the sink. We also had several mice. Aside from what’s indoors, you can’t call yourself a New Yorker until you’ve had a giant rat scurry over your feet on a midnight stroll.
8. The L train
The only thing worst than beggars on the train, is waiting for the train. And the L train is the worst. Anybody who’s ever come home from Williamsburg at 4am knows what I’m talking about. You have to wait forever for that slow piece of junk.
9. Entitled White Women
“Your salmon isn’t farm-raised, is it?”
“Is your lime juice freshly squeezed?”
“Does your bottomless brunch have a time limit?”
…all asked with a nasally, valley-girl inflection that can’t help but ignite your inner Chris Brown—POW! I’ve also never wanted to punch more women in the face. I’ve met some cool chicks in NYC, but so many are of them are spoiled, uncultured idiots with think the sun shines out of their arse.
10. Pretentious Nightlife
I’ve played the high-end game. The red velvet ropes, VIP guest lists, promoters, models, bottle service, etc. It’s all a load of bollocks, overblown and unbearably pompous. Guys pay top dollar just to be in the same room as girls who bothered to put on a cocktail dress. I can understand if you have money to burn or if you know a promoter (that’s how I did it), but otherwise, don’t waste your time and money. For the same price, you can grab a flight to the Caribbean.
All that said, I still fucking love this city.