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Monday, March 10, 2008

Worst of New York

New York Magazine currently has its 'Best of New York' issue on newstands. Fair enough. I, however, am printing a 'Worst of New York' issue, which may be of interest to people. Here are some highlights (with a newly expanded list, thanks to 'Joe Dude')...


1) When you have to go to the bathroom and there are no public restrooms in the vicinity. As a word of caution, I recommend that all New Yorkers memorize the location of all accessible facilities. This would include committing to memory every Starbucks and Barnes and Noble location, but also less obvious places such as Yup Yup Dry Cleaner on 53rd and 9th, which has a lovely bathroom, complete with current tabloids and/or Starbursts.

2) Old people and children who get in your way. I didn't think it was possible to feel so much hate for the outliers of our population, but every day I want to kill a child or senior citizen who gets in my way while walking down the street or through a subway station.

3) Walking in the same path as someone coming in the opposing direction. This can be a problem no matter where you live, but in New York, where there are so many people, you often find that you're walking straight into people. It becomes like a game of chicken. Also, there's the horribly awkward situation where you move to the side but the other person does also, ad infinitum.

4) Someone walking behind you steps on the back of your foot. This is horrible because it's like, hi, I know you stepped on me, but I'm just going to keep walking and pretend like it didn't happen. The double foot-knock is disastrously awkward, and once I just made a quick turn and ran to the closest bench so I could recover. I'm not sure which is worse, though: getting stepped on or stepping on someone else. I think stepping on someone else is better, because if the person does turn around you can be like, hi, I'm sorry and give a funny smile.

5) Gristedes Grocery Stories. These places are simply awful. Overpriced. Horrible produce. Just all around bad. Embarassingly, I go to one at least a couple of times a week because it's so close to where I live.

6) When your Metrocard isn't swiping correctly. It makes you seem like a tourist. There is no greater satisfaction than sleekly whipping out one's metrocard and quickly and tastefully sliding it through the reader, with an immediate beeping sound letting you know that it is ok to proceed. Now, what is scary is that the same beeping sound goes off when it's not working, meaning you might infer that it's ok to proceed and walk right into the turnstile. I have done this a number of times and once I walked in so hard that I had the wind knocked out of me.

6) Emergency Rooms. The ER is often really busy. There are lots of people with genuine emergencies, and there are lots of people without health insurance who are there for routine matters. Then there are people like me who have health insurance, don't have an actual emergency, but just want an MRI because we're having head aches. Or a bone marrow biopsy because we have some unexplained bruises. Sadly, people like myself are usually just pushed along and told to visit our primary care physicians, which means we have to wait for an appointment, then wait for an appointment with a specialist, then wait for the MRI appointment, etc.

In conclusion, as you can see, there are many terrible aspects of living in New York. I really don't even know why I live here.