The Siren’s Song of Another City

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seattleCall it wanderlust. Call it boredom. Call it fear of commitment. Call it what you will, but it's time to come clean. I've got a wandering eye for other cities. It's just time to move on. Or is it? I've been ruminating on this for quite awhile. Years in fact. It seemed like a road trip along the West Coast last year was the worst it could get. I was serially cheating on NYC on a daily basis. Sometimes two cities in one day. My lust was insatiable and I could give a fig as to what NYC thought about my transgressions. I was wooed by many a City-Siren; San Diego, LA, Santa Cruz, San Fran, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver. The trip showed me that I could still be an urbanite without being swallowed whole by urban trappings. Cities could actually be integrated into nature. Unlike New York, it's not all or nothing when it comes to mountains, streams, and forests. Shut up, Central Park Ramble, you ain't got shit on Mt. Hood.  However, my relocation libido subsided after a few months. NYC and I settled back into our old routine. However, those old passions were reignited when a megabus excursion to Philadelphia, The Sixth Borough as it's pretentiously spoken of around here, reawakened my desire to scoot on down the road.

Why do I want to leave New York City? Well, for the same reasons most sensible people don't come here in the first place. The crowds; try going one day without physically bumping into a complete stranger. Just try it. You can't do anything without a shitload of people being there. Have you ever tried going to the movies in New York City? If you don't buy your $14 tickets in advance and get there a half hour early, you can forget sitting with the people you came with. The inconveniences; you know how you (yes, you people who live everywhere else but in NYC) probably don't live more than 15 minutes away from all of your in-town friends? You might even live within walking distance, but you still drive over there. Well, folks like me are economically forced to the fringes of the 5 boroughs for residence. On a good day it takes me 55 minutes to get to Jeff's place. The same goes for Matt.  We usually try and meet somewhere halfway, but that involves paying for food and drinks wherever we go. The cost of living; this goes without saying. It is a common and boring story trying to explain to your out of town friends why you pay so much rent to live in such a small apartment. The competition; when you're here you are nobody special because everybody is somebody. I'm serious. Everyone you meet went to some great school or is doing something significantly more important than you. They either have the job you want or at least it sounds a lot cooler than yours. Their hobbies kick your hobbies' ass. It's exhausting. I joined a co-ed soccer team. About as random a sampling of people as you can get in this city other than the fact that we're all Pinko, Europhiles because we like playing soccer, but take a look at where these random folks went to school; UNC-Chapel Hill, Swarthmore, McGill, Northwestern and they all have awesome jobs. For a man with low self-esteem and an inferiority complex about his state school education, it can be a bit much.philly

But why did my trip to Philly reawaken my desire to get the heck out of here? And why don't I have the guts to move to the West Coast? As I walked through the streets of Philly without bumping into strangers and as I sat in Rittenhouse Square park without having to fight for a seat on a bench, I realized that living in a city doesn't have to be overwhelming but I don't have to move 3,000 miles to find that comfort. There's also the fear of starting all over with a move to the Left Coast. I tried to tell myself that's what I wanted, but now, when push comes to shove I don't want to start over. I made the mistake of actually allowing myself to get old here. You may scoff at the notion that 28 is old but New York is a place for young people. Every semester brings thousands of young, new eager faces to the island. Don't forget about all the schools here too. You can be outdated fast and it happens to everyone. I also made the mistake of forming business relationships and friendships. Why would I want to go through all of that again intentionally? Sorry Western Cities, you should have listened to your friends when they told you that men never leave their wives for their mistress. Sure, you're younger, hotter, and cheaper but my boo here has wisdom, experience, 24 hour services, endless job opportunities, and limitless diversions that are always reinventing themselves.

Moreover,  I like living on the East Coast. I have family and roots nearby. As much as I love the vastness and enormity of nature out West, I like the inexpensive short jaunts to my parent's house. I've already lived in Colorado and spent significant time abroad. I know what it's like to be far from home and it was great, but I don't think it's a necessity. So Philly seems like the perfect compromise right? Ah, but you forget one thing. I don't work full-time. I freelance in post-production and the only other city where I could possibly do that would be Los Angeles and we already ruled out that skank. Philly simply doesn't have the work for me. I'd have to get a full-time job if I moved there. Think how much that would cut into my Steve's Word time. Think about how many live would be ruined if that were the case. Also, the more I think about the fact that Philly is so very quiet in the middle of the day kind of scares me a little. Like the quiet kid in class who ends up bringing a machine gun to school one day. I also like being able to buy beer at bodegas and staying out after 1:30am. I'm an adult god dammit and I get to choose where I buy my alcohol and how long I get to stay out. Sorry, Philly, you know I'll always love you, right?

flyingSo what does this all mean? I'm moving to Brooklyn. Yes, I'd like to make the nation's 4th largest city if it were considered its own city my home. Every time I go to BK it's like going on a vacation for the price of a swipe of your metrocard. Williamsburg, Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights, Fort Green, Prospect Heights, Greenpoint, Cobble Hill, Carrol Gardens, Bed-Stuy, and even you Red Hook. You've charmed me. It took me a long time to warm up to the idea. When I first got here my attitude was, I moved to New York to live in the city, not Brooklyn. Brooklyn's for people who don't have what it takes to stick it out in NYC and for people with babies. Now I realize that Brooklyn has so much to offer. It's a more varied and exciting city than Philly yet still isn't overwhelming. I can ride my bike in warmer months, 85% of my New York friends live out there, and I can still freelance. It's win-win. Moreover, at some point you have to grow up and make a place your home and the longer I stay the harder it is to go. There will always be things about living in New York that will drive me bonkers, but like any mature relationship it is based on compromise and Brooklyn offers exactly that.

4 Comments

  • 1

    Tim, for what it's worth, I miss very little about Manhattan...you and S's nice apartment may be one of the few things.
    It's Brooklyn that keeps me coming back for sporadic NYC booty call visits.
    If you want some awesome Brooklyn porn to start your relationship off right, read "The Fortress of Solitude" by Johnathan Lethem. I actually cry like a break-up when I read it...

  • 2

    You son of a bitch. Just when I was psyched to have a friend in Yorkville.

    Carpetbagger.

  • 3

    For what it's worth, I very well might end up back in brooklyn next summer. So I don't blame you actually.

  • 4

    Yeah, we need to scram.

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