Monday, January 3, 2011

BEST OF PBIHT: I Heart* New York, I Admit It

[Originally posted last spring]

i'm going lower case today, for speed, and lack of time, and cause i have somewhere to be. also, this is me more free, easier, flowier, CRAZIER me. woohoo. oh boy. can you keep up?

this is about new york, this post is. that famous city that still holds true as the centre of the planet. who cares and why should it really matter? but unfortunately it does and you go back, for a five day trip, and are reminded of all the things about the city that grab you. the obvious things. it's the energy, it's the size. the sheer squash of skyscraper upon skyscraper. it never gets old. it never ceases to astonish, not when so much of this larger than legoland urbanity, these old buildings of height and might are actually so many of them architectural marvel, ie. beautiful. and not just the skyscrapers. in fact, prettiest of all are the brownstones of brooklyn or in the lower west village.

new fucking york. it's that you can see a celebrity on a street corner. you think you don't give a shit. liar. course you do. it's exciting. ted danson came in the bar i was in. and really, what would i ever have to say to ted danson. and who cares? and still, it's exciting, to me and every patron and bartender, waiter and manager in that 17th street bar. all the cynicism in the world and still it's exciting. it's exciting to be in manhattan. everyone knows that. that you can't deny.

it's the walking. that from one section of manhattan to another is walking distance is only part of what makes it so good. (ever notice how not fat new yorkers are. every wonder why. answer: walking.) much better is that the walk from one place to another is itself so filled with life. the variety of people on the street. not nearly as varied as in its pre-guliani years to be sure, but still varied, still coloured still honking loud and with voices so much stronger than you ever hear in canada. and sure it can be rude, but it can also be so refreshing. energy given out, given forth, given up. you walk the streets and watch the people and feel the way that each and every one, from the ivory coast cab driver to the dean and deluca butcher, every one is striving, aiming higher, reaching.

and then precisely when you've had just about enough of all that ego and all the striving and traffic and honking and ambition you come to central park. oh central park. a paragraph of its own. what need be said for a park that north to south spans 50 city blocks. to fly over manhattan, as i once did, and see that forest of green, that big fat square of green taking up so much of that precious little island, it boggles the mind how much the land would be worth. this the secret of new york, me thinks. that the very centre of capitalism could also make the money sacrifice to have a park so big. that they didn't pave paradise and put up a parking lot.

central park is a good 40% of what makes new york one of the world's great cities. that you can play baseball or frisbee or walk your do or rollerblade your legs or jog or saunter, or bench laze all for no money, all in the priciest place i know. this is a major miracle. it's genius. i love love love central park.

for the lover of the arts, of course, new york is unbeatable. the museums, the choice of theatre, music, food. because you can have the best pizza or honestly the very best falafel. then you get the met, the moma, the guggenheim, the whitney and i'm just getting started. cause two of the best plays i've ever seen i've seen in new york. if you're reading this, and you live there, and you can, go see our town. now!

it's not that i don't like where i live, it's that i love new york.

fuck. now alls i need is a green card, a hell of a lot of money and a job.

*Every single thing in this post was seen and thus conveyed with a strong coating of on-a-vacation romanticism.


  1. Anonymous11:01 a.m.

    It has to intersect with particular periods of your life that are appropriate for the city. For instance, i lived out my 20's in the city. It was the perfect time for the perfect place. Yet, what you find out most is that its a place of polar opposites. You have a ton of incredible, and then a ton of crap you have to put up with. Quality of life is not really a phrase that applies (where as it does quite a bit in a place like T Dot). New Yorkers are really not rude at all. The people are as nice as you'd find anywhere...but yes, there probably is a slightly different concept of personal space (what with everyone being essentially on top of one another). Plus the girls there are kind of different then you'd find anywhere, but again, we'll take that as an example of a polarizing factor. I love NY. Its my home forever. Its like no place in the world. I'll always cherish every moment of my youth that was spent needling through its veins. And i'll always remember the most insane day of my life (9/11) as a testament to the strength and love that city has at its core. But as i age, i am coming to appreciate the unique splendor of every city outside the core, and that quality of life can sometimes trump splendor. Loved the write up though. Peace Jon.


  2. "woohoo. oh boy. can you keep up?" -- hardly!

    I loved this post, especially the lower case and the 'fucking' and 'fuck'!

    I have never been to New York. But I have just got a ten-year USA visa. I may visit there one day!

  3. Love it, Yair. That's exactly what I need to hear (no silly rhyme intended). I know that there is so much underbelly, disappointment, sadness, darkness, poverty that I of course don't seek out in my wee excursions to NYC. Never mind the health care issue, one that boggles the mind of this "socialist" Canadian to no end.

    Also, when I mentioned your 'quality of life' comment to a friend who lived in NYC for part of his 20s and then returned to Canada, he said, "Quality of life. What quality of life. It's shit. I'd never go back there." Said friend has never been one to pull punches, or Canadianize his language. He has his share of complaints about "T-Dot" as well, as I do too.

    So to my ying a little yang, or maybe it's a little sour to my hot soup, but all to the better.

    And thanks, Tammy. note to self: more lower case, more expletives. got it!


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