Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Taking Chances

What is life without risk?

I moved to New York approximately two years ago on a whim. I wanted to go to film school, and I wanted to be in the city. Since I have moved here, I have discovered that New York City is nothing like you see on Law & Order, it's not anything like you read about in memoirs, and it certainly is not like anything you have seen on MTV. As much as I want to admit that I am in love with this city, it is easier to admit that I fell in love with the New York that has already died.

I wanted to move to the city that never sleeps, I wanted to party all night at places like Limelight, and the Tunnel. I wanted to be a regular at a coffee shop on Avenue A. I wanted to live in a West Village dump that overlooked the river, and grow plants on my fire escape. I wanted to have a roommate that was addicted to something. I wanted to feel in danger. I wanted to be mugged. I wanted to live paycheck to paycheck and not care, I wanted to live a grungy fabulous existence that so many people before me have managed to do in the city.

However, in a post-Giuliani New York, the truth is this:
1. The city does sleep. It sleeps between the hours of 9pm and 7am, and nothing happens in between.
2. Places like Limelight and the Tunnel don't exist anymore, unless you're invited. Things that made clubs fabulous are now illegal, and everywhere is a residential "no noise" zone.
3. Coffee shops on Avenue A are now owned by corporate monsters, and people that work in them aren't friendly. Anyways, who wants to go to an authentic coffee shop when Starbucks has forced their reasonable prices through the roof?
4. "Dumps" don't happen in the West Village anymore. A 300 square foot closet overlooking the river with no running water and electricity during the day would probably run you about $7,000 a month nowadays.
5. The only place that you can find an authentic New York dump is so far away from the city that it's not worth the travel time.
6. No one is addicted to anything anymore. It's too expensive.
7. I have never felt in danger in the city. Tourists pour into every square inch of the city by the millions every day, there isn't enough room to mug someone. Places that used to be dangerous are being taken over by kids whose parents pay their rent, they have become "hip" and "trendy".
8. Paycheck to paycheck? It would be more fabulous if there were something worthwhile to spend it on.

New York is dead. Although there are a bunch of reasons why I still love the city (of which I won't list here), I feel resentful for being forced to love a clean and safe New York when all I wanted was to be rejected and raped by the old one.

1 comment:

aahschlee said...

I freaking loved this post. Even though it is kind of sad. Oh well, I'm still coming to visit you.