Friday, February 20, 2009

10 Things I Hate About New York

So I've lived in this city since 1984. I think I have some good examples here that most of you can relate to. If you're a recently baptized New Yorker (transplant), many of these will not apply to you. If I've left anything out, please bring it to my attention. If you don't agree with me for whatever reason, go cluck yourself.

In no particular Order:

1. Potholes

Granted, freeze/thaw cycles are mostly to blame, but the fact is that the city could invest in better asphalt/concrete mixtures and formulas that are more resilient and last longer. They won't do it because it costs more and the infrastructure is not in place. The upside: We're still better than Detroit. If you've ever driven through the motor city, its like freekin' Armageddon. And I'm not just talking about city streets. I'm talking major interstate highways, folks. With craters so big, you have to swerve every 8 seconds on average. Kinda makes you wonder why its called "The Motor City" when its not safe to take your car out of your driveway.

2. Michael Bloomberg

I was completely neutral about our mayor of the last 7 years until a couple months ago when he swindled the system and basically said "Fuck you" to all New Yorkers. His extension of the term limits bill, allowing himself to run for a third term stinks of hidden agendas and an administration that wants to keep all their current jobs. A televised public hearing on the matter did nothing to combat the ongoing propaganda depicting Bloomberg as the "only" man fit for the job in this "troubled economy" and "hard times"..... Huh? You mean to tell me that out of ELEVEN MILLION New Yorkers, NO ONE else is qualified to perform mayoral duties? Riiiiiiiiiiight. So, say he wins the election and stays mayor for another four years. If the city is in worse shape than it is today (which is entirely possible), would he go down in history as the worst mayor New York has ever seen, despite all the accomplishments of his first two terms? Let's wait and see.

3. Banks, EZ-Pass, and the DMV

Why are all three in the same category? Long lines? Check. Retarded fees? Check. Personnel with a sub G.E.D education? Check. But that's not why they're all on this item. The reason I loathe these (and other) institutions is for a very simple reason: The build 10 teller windows and at any given time, only two to three are operational. But its not their fault. The architects are to blame. The architects, who are presumably also from New York should have foreseen this phenomenon and redesigned accordingly. Why build ten windows when you're only gonna use three? If I walked into a bank with only two windows and two tellers were working, I would feel better about my overall transaction experience. It would let me know that they're working at their full capacity for me. Hell, I might even fill out one of those "How did we serve you?" cards sincerely. Its the little things that make you spend your money in these places. The subconscious intangibles. Think about it, Atlantic Bank of New York.

4. The Brooklyn Queens Expressway

See number one.

5. The 59th Street Subway Station: 4 and 5 Express Platforms

I don't know if it's the sheer depth of these platforms (I've estimated roughly 100,000 feet below Street Level), and their potential adjacency to whatever decaying life forms from the Mesozoic era that lie that close to China, but the stench down there is worse than the stench "down there". Attention, MTA: Glade makes air fresheners with timers now. Ask them to fabricate an industrial sized model and place one at each end of the platform. In the summer months, it should be set to the smallest time interval to account for the heat funk factor.

6. Cabbies

Excuse me, Taxi operators. These people are right up (err.. down) there with protozoa in my book. Its no secret that most New York City cabbies are recent immigrants from another continent. And yes, most of them make an honest living supporting their families (many of which are still back in the motherland), but let's remember that they got their licenses from the DMV (we all know how I feel about them) and probably didn't really read the permit manual, and probably hate Americans, and probably have a "I already know how to drive" attitude. All these ingredients are a recipe for road rage. Not for the cabbies, for us civilians who abide by all the traffic laws and who care about maintaining the structural and aesthetic integrity of our cars. I don't think I've ever seen a cabbie stay in his lane for more than ten seconds, let alone signal for a turn. True story: I once saw a cabbie pee in a Snapple bottle while at a red light. How is a hands-free law gonna stop that?

7. Times Square

But why? It's so bright and pretty, and there's a happy treasure troll on every corner handing out rainbow cookies!.... Exactly. Give me Times Square circa 1987. There were peep shows, prostitutes, pimps, porn shops, pawn shops, pedophiles, the constant fear for your valuables and/or life and arcades! All at the epicenter of the world. New York was bad-ass back then and Times Square was its Talent Agent. It secretly made us all proud to be New Yorkers. Especially when out-of-towners would recite those statistics about it being the most dangerous city in America. It made me feel all fuzzy inside. Yea I was 7, so what? I'd still rob you for your chain, fool.... But no. Not anymore. New York is now the "safest big city". What fun is that? That's gay. New York is pussy now. As docile as a castrated, colorblind bull. What should we brag about now? The new Yankee Stadium? Central Park? The Circle Line boat tours? BooooooRiiinngg.

8. People Who Ask You For Money...

...without performing a service. Listen, I dig it. When times are rough, they're fuckin' rough. My father and I slept in subway trains when we first came to this country in '84. I know what its like to not have any money or hope. The bottom line is, you need to keep a positive attitude in order to better your situation. Simply giving up and asking people for money in order to merely stay alive is a miserable existence. While you beg for money, your posture, physiognomy, and voice spread that misery to others. I don't believe that most people refuse to give change to beggars because they cant afford it. After all "every little bit helps" is the motto. No, I think that deep down, we refuse because we want to distance ourselves from that misery. We don't want to feel it. We don't want to form an emotional connection with that person, however short, because it puts us in a bad place, and makes us feel guilt for having a roof over our heads. No one likes that.

However, aren't we all more inclined to donate to a needy person in the subway or on the street when they've put a smile on our face? When you've had a shitty day and your boss told one-too-many inappropriate jokes, isn't it kinda nice when someone whips out their guitar on the train and plays a great song all while singing and keeping their balance? Or how about the charming black guy with 2 fingers on each hand who's only request is to see you smile? Or the blind Eastern European man who plays the accordion? All these people have gotten my money on more than one occasion. And not that metal stuff, we're talking paper here, folks. Washingtons. Yes, Plural in some cases. Suddenly your boss doesn't matter so much, right? If these people are living life and smiling, why am I bitching about insignificant bullshit? You feel me?

9. The Proximity to New Jersey and Nassau County

They may as well be called "Wannabe New York" because they're always among us infiltrating our lives. New Jersey is the armpit of America and New York is the unfortunate passenger that sat next to it on this 235 year flight. We've had to endure its smell, it talking to us with its halitosis, its people making right turns at our red lights. Same goes for you, Nassau. Can someone please get the flight attendant? This button seems to be broken. Thank goodness we have an aisle seat.

10. Traffic Cops

We won't even get into full-blown cops right now. That's for another time. Why do they call them "Traffic Cops" when all they police is parked cars? It's like calling a janitor a "master of the custodial arts" (as Dave Chapelle puts it). If an alien landed on earth and learned english, and learned how to drive, and you told him/her to watch out for traffic cops, he/she would assume you meant law enforcement figures who patrol all moving vehicles. Mr. or Mrs. Alien would laugh when you told them that traffic cops only check meters for quarters.

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