I realize right off the bat that the task is impossible. I come to the table as someone who grew up hating the Yankees, the Rangers, every New York City sports organization, really. I lived in Portland, Oregon for three years, which pretty much disqualifies me from everything. I lived in Montreal for four — when Arcade Fire was getting big and people were like, “Whoa, Montreal is super cool now, but unfortunately I don’t speak French so I’m actually not going to ruin it this time.” Same deal as Portland, that Montreal. Minus the ruining.
So to give New York a review is kind of daunting. Intimidating. They say you can’t be a true New Yorker until you’ve lived here ten years. I was four years three days ago. I got a lot of time before I can claim that title.
But this isn’t a review of a city; it’s a review of a hotel. And if New York will allow it, since I’m not entitled to call myself a New Yorker, I’ll review it as such. I put my head to rest here for the better part of four years. I think I know the basics.
Fantastic. I stopped in Staten Island once for gas and it was there. I don’t really think about the Bronx much, but I’m sure they have bodegas and I think there’s a zoo. My sister lives in Astoria, Queens, which must mean gyros and there’s also airports. Manhattan is, of course, the borough we all hate. Our jobs are there, but, pssh, who cares about that because I live in:
Brooklyn is filled with wonderful people. There’s a big park and rent is really expensive. But lots of people don’t have cars so it’s a trade-off. You can get a nice meal out for ten bucks. There’s laundromats where they fold your clothes and that’s like ten bucks, too. Everything is kinda ten bucks here, except a bacon, egg, and cheese, which is $3.50 max.
The weather is pretty much like everywhere. You’ll grow to love three or four months out of the year and spend the rest of your time complaining about it to your friends, whose choices will pretty much mirror yours, and if they don’t you need new friends but that’s another story.
New York is not as expensive as most people make it out to be. While the cost of living is high by national standards, in terms of home ownership and rental units, simple measures like these don’t take into account the comparatively higher salaries many people earn in New York. As mentioned earlier, you likely won’t have to pay for an oil change for several years if you live here — never mind $4.00/gallon gas. You compromise.
The appropriate unit of currency is the U.S. Dollar (USD).
Health and Well Being
Healthcare is generally quite good in the United States. New York City, in particular, has several world-renowned hospitals. The availability of quality healthcare services to the general public has been greatly increased in the past several years due to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. As a visitor, you may want to consult with your healthcare provider to determine if you may need any additional coverage.
Well being is a more complicated topic. New York City may be the loneliest in the Western Hemisphere. The people here are very happy to help in most situations, because they’re so lonely, but they might pretend it’s a burden at first, to prove that New York is hard. But really we’re all quite nice. I’ve only been punched in the face once in four years. And I’m an asshole.
Lodging and Hotels
Try your best to stay somewhere that exudes charm. Like, Midtown is gonna be very “Ooh, this is so New York,” but everyone who has to work there every day hates it, and their arguments and opinions are rather unassailable. I’m not saying that Olive Garden doesn’t have charm, or that Chipotle doesn’t have fantastic guacamole, but you can get that at home.
So, as I said, just stay in my neighborhood. I live in Brooklyn! We can eat locally and you can probably AirBnB my buddy’s spot for a couple of nights!
Public Transit and Taxis
This is probably the best part of New York and also the worst. But really the best. Take a screengrab of the MTA map on your phone and you won’t have to be one of those people hovering over other passengers while you try to figure out where your transfer is. Another tip: spend $20 on a Metrocard and learn how to swipe it properly before you go to Grand Central at rush hour.
With respect to taxis, never let a cabbie ask you where you’re going before you get into the cab. With respect to black cars, negotiate as soon as you sit down. They aren’t legally allowed to pick you up if you wave them down, so don’t be afraid to get an honest price. (You won’t get one because you’re new here, but maybe after three years or so… Maybe. It could happen.)
Sights to See
I’ve never been to the Statue of Liberty or 9/11. This is probably the part where you’d be better off looking at a legitimate Hotel by Tom site.
New York City has been my favorite city to hate. Moving here was a stupid decision fueled by hormones and romanticized notions of what love actually is. It turned out okay because I met interesting people. There are a lot of those here. And they’re all being interesting with one another doing that timeless duty of not dying.
I’m starting to gain a semblance of self-awareness. For that, and everything mentioned above, I give New York a four out of five. Or, to put it in bold:
It’s been real. And, thanks.