Quote of the Week:
"You don't regularly see things in New York that make you go, 'Wow, that's awesome.' You don't see humans interacting in a way that takes you off guard and makes you smile. You see a guy taking a shit on the sidewalk." - Charlie Todd, founder of Improv Everywhere
Since I moved to New York, I've learned a few things about New Yorkers. One is that they have an uncanny ability to take things in stride and be unfazed by pretty much anything. Another is that there's a sort of camaraderie among New Yorkers in embracing the glaring flaws and shortcomings of their city, and sometimes even turning them into endearments. Both of these attitudes I think can be applied to the above quote.
In the past eight months, I've also discovered that the reaction from people who don't live here to the fact that I do generally falls into one of two categories.
The first are the people whose concept of New York living was formed as the result of repeat "Sex and the City" viewings, who believe I spend my nights (and days) drinking expensive martinis with friends, meeting eligible, handsome, rich bachelors on a nightly basis, and not really working ... at all. (Only one of the above occurs in my life with any regularity). I would refer them to the Charlie Todd quote.
The second are the people who can't fathom why anyone would want to pay out the nose for a tiny apartment, brave public transportation for a commute that's longer than most people's lunch breaks, and live in a city with a high crime rate, low air and water quality, and a noise factor that could at times probably make Marlee Matlin wince.
For those people ... there's really no point in trying to respond, because the fact of the matter is that most New Yorkers have probably wondered the very same things themselves.
A friend of mine, whom I met while we were both students in Boston, was recently profiled in a New York Times interactive feature about 20-somethings struggling to get by in New York City. While it would be dishonest of me to portray myself as "struggling," the story really resonated with me. I definitely don't count every penny I spend, but let's just say I'm not going to be owning any property ... or nice shoes, for that matter ... anytime soon either.
But it's worth it. And this is why.
I recently commented to a (different) friend that I've been having all of these what I dubbed "'I Love New York' moments" throughout this summer ... probably owing a lot to the weather. Some of my favorite memories include afternoons spent at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, rooftop barbecues, brunches in Brooklyn, and picnics/concerts in Central Park.
What spurred me to publish this post (which I originally composed back in June), was this article in today's New York Times. It says more eloquently than I can what I'm trying to convey here.
Which is ...
When I read Charlie Todd's quote in New York Magazine, my first thought was, "Wow, that's so true." But as I thought about it more, I realized that although it may have some veracity on the surface, I've been finding plenty to smile about here in the Big Apple ... even if it is sometimes just a guy taking a shit on the sidewalk.