Adventures of a Midwest Transplant

On Becoming Even More Of A New Yorker

In some ways, I am feeling like such a New Yorker these days. I’ve talked before about embracing the city, but I’ve gone even a step farther. There are things I would never do before as a Chicagoan that are totally second nature now as a New Yorker.

The first example is that we finally bit the bullet and we now pay someone to wash our clothes. I’ve written before about how I can’t seem to wash clothes with any regularity, but now the problem is solved. Easy takes our clothes to the laundromat once a week or so. They weigh the clothes, then they wash them for us and we pick them up the next day.

When I told my mom how we’re doing this now, she told me that laudromats in Chicago used to offer the same service. It must’ve been way back in the day because I’ve never seen it advertised on any laudromat except in rich neighborhoods. When I first moved here and people talked about sending their clothes out to the laundry, I thought it was crazy. Such a wasted expense, and also, really, you can’t wash your own damn clothes? Is that really something one should outsource?

But every freaking laundromat here offers it. When I would go to the laundromat to wash my clothes, I would see the woman who works there washing other people’s clothes. She took such good care of the clothes and she was so quick. It takes me hours to wash my clothes, but she was on it! Has those clothes washed, dried, and folded in the time it would take me to run the dryer a second time.

And the cost is much lower than I expected. It comes out to the same price of what we paid to wash our own clothes plus around $2/hour to pay the lady for her labor. Because of the convenience, I’ve made peace with what feels like an unecessary indulgence. It’s totally worth it.

The second example is my increased use of taxis. I used to think it was such a waste of money unless I had someone visiting from out of town. I still don’t use them all the time. But if I’m in Midtown and I need to get to the Lower East Side, I’ll just hop in a cab. There’s a perfectly good bus and/or subway route that will get me to my destination, but I still take the $8 taxi.

I can’t even explain why, except to go back to the convenience factor. It’s nice to know that at 12:30 in the morning. I can get across town in 10 min for $8 versus in 60 minutes for $2.50.

And then there are the bagels. I have become such a bagel snob. I’m also a pastrami slob. And a pickle snob. And a pizza snob.

Let me stop right there. Chicago-style pizza is stil the best, by far. There is no comparison.

But when it comes to New York style pizza and bagels and pickles and pastrami, there are very specific ways you should order it and consume it. Anything less would be uncivilized, ha ha.

And the last way that I’m becoming more of a New Yorker is how I’m drawn to random crowds of people or lines or sights. On my earlier visits here, I was confused as to why these people would form these seemingly random lines. It was never clear what they were lining up for. Sometimes it was a Megabus. Sometimes it was a party, and sometimes I could never quite figure it out.

But now those lines appeal to me. They seem less weird, they just seem interesting. I wonder if they’re going to a special screening and I make a mental note to try to get involved for next time.

Being from Chicago, my natural instinct is to avoid crowds because I’ve found they’re not paying attention to anything particularly interesting. And also in Chicago, when there are crowds gathered, the chances of someone getting shot really goes up.

But now that I’m a New Yorker, a crowd means there’s likely an interesting street performer in the center. Or news about come cool event. Or free stuff. Or who knows. But it’s almost always cool.

Last weekend, shortly after I left the soup kitchen, I was walking around The Village. This cafe has an HD TV setup outside showing the soccer games live. They setup benches and it was just open to whoever wanted to sit and watch.

No one was concerned about the TV getting stolen. No one was upset about that part of the sidewalk being less useable. People were just gathering naturally to this thing that never existed before last week, like an popup outdoor sports bar.

I would not be surprised to find that the concept of the popup party, the popup anything really, came from New York City.

There are always museums and restaurants and live events to attend in NYC. But I’m starting to learn that embracing the city means more than spending all of my income on event tickets. Sometimes, it’s just stopping to watch a few minutes of a soccer game with random neighbors outside of a random cafe.

Because that’s what we New Yorkers do.

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