Don’t think I’m crazy for saying this, but New Yorkers are so freaking nice. Maybe that’s just me. Is it? Well, I stand by it.
Ever since I arrived here, and even before on visits, I’ve just seen friendly, helpful people who have a lot more patience than other places. If Chicago became as crowded as New York City tomorrow, the murder rate would seriously spike.
When you are here, people are just so smushed together. That could go one of two ways. People could constantly fight and bicker because they’re always in each other’s space. Instead, they smile and say, “that’s okay” constantly.
Seriously, where else in America can you hit someone in the head with your umbrella four times in ten minutes and they are endlessly forgiving of it?
If you are careless or rude, however, the claws come out. New Yorkers like to live and let live. If you are encroaching upon them because of selfishness or meanness, they will let you have it in a heartbeat.
But if you are just living and not walking around like Gru at the beginning of Despicable Me, you’re fine.
And my neighborhood is so friendly and neighborly. I really just can’t say enough how great it is. Sometimes it’s crazy and a little hood, other times it’s right out of a novel (or an episode of the Cosby’s).
To fully understand it, I need to describe my walk home on two different days.
When I get off the train, there is this park there where there are kids riding their bikes, old men playing chess and checkers, and adorable dogs barking. If it’s sunny, the sun filters through the leaves on the trees and gleams off the bronze statue in the center of the park.
As with most New York City parks I’ve seen, the grassy areas are fenced off, but every so often, there a gap in the gate specifically to let people through.
You could have a picnic over there if you wanted, but today there is a young couple posing for a photographer. She is about 5 or 6 six months pregnant and all belly. He has a fresh haircut and shave. They are both rocking fantastic natural hair and wearing traditional African garb. They look like an art piece on the wall of some African-American History professor’s apartment.
I walk past all the great restaurants on Lewis Avenue until I get to my block. As soon as I turn the corner, I see that the firehouse is open. Yes, there’s a firehouse on my corner, full of muscle-y armed men. There’s this little girl riding her bike in and out of the firehouse. Her pigtails bounce in the wind and she laughs and smiles with the firemen.
Further down the block are the men who always hang on this one stoop. One of them has a girl with a baby with him. The baby is, of course, adorable. They all smile and say hi and I continue on my way.
I get to my fantastic brownstone, check my mail, and walk in the door. Home sweet home.
Almost idyllic, no?
When I get off the train, there is a volunteer for some campaign or another passing out fliers. I think this is the fifteenth one I’ve received in the month I’ve been here. I decide to be nice and walk out of eye sight before I toss it.
The benches are lined with homeless people. I kind of want to let them know there’s a wonderful homeless shelter up the street, but I don’t know enough about the shelter yet to open that can of worms. I make a note to myself to learn more about the homeless shelter.
I pass by the restaurants and all the food smells so good, taunting me because it’s not in the budget to eat there at any point in the next two weeks. Oh well, I think, I’ll just make really good meals at home in the mean time.
I get to my block, and as I turn the corner, I see a pile of poop. Some asshole doesn’t know how to clean up after their dog, and unfortunately, it’s no one else’s job either. So this freaking poop has been there for weeks. Weeks!
I’m walking down the street, and it appears that the whole block is out to enjoy the nice weather. I come across these men just hanging out. One of them has a pitbull puppy. This puppy is super brand new and so cute. He’s so tiny that his whole body fits in the man’s hand.
It’s a bit windy, so when the man decides to light his cigarette, he uses the puppy to block the wind so he can get it lit quickly. That’s right, this man used a new puppy to light his cigarette.
Further down the street, there is a family piling into a car to go on some excursion. As they’re piling in, they notice there’s a cat sitting on the hood of the car. This cat eyeballs me on my way past, but seems oblivious to the family.
They begin yelling at the cat to get off the hood so they can be on their way, but for some reason the cat doesn’t move. I wondering why no one bothers to get out of the car to physically move the cat. Or better yet, just start driving. I bet that cat would certainly move under those circumstances.
I shake my head and keep moving.
Further down the street, there are some men playing dominoes. Several of the men have several dollars in their hands. Like I said, it’s windy.
A sudden gust of wind comes up and blows the money out of two of the men’s hands. All of us sudden, I was transported to one of those game shows where they put you in a box with money flying all around. These men would rack up on that show because they seemed to grow extra arms and hands, snatching money out of the wind with ease.
I tell you, they didn’t lose one dollar dollar bill y’all.
After all that hilarity, I was ready to be home away from the constant people. I climbed my steps to my fantastic brownstone, thankful I was finally home.
Even when things are crazy, I still love my neighborhood. I just hope housing prices are still affordable when it’s time to switch from renting to a mortgage. That’ll be sometime around MBA completion, kid number 2.5, and age 35.
Yup, we’re planning on staying in NYC for at least five years. We’ll see though because that’s a decision based on only living here for one month.
So, could you live in NYC for year? Or at all?
Hey everybody! This is my 275th blog post. That’s pretty cool, right? Sometime this fall, I’ll be on my 300th post. I’ve got to make it something special. Bloggers do that right? Eh, whatever.
Continuing with my trend of hopping back and forth from my time in Chicago and my time in New York, I want to talk about making new friends in New York. Or rather, I want to talk about my failed attempts to make new friends.
My girls and I joke about how we’re too old to make new friends. It usually sounds something like, “you chicks are crazy! Y’all are lucky I’m too old to make new friends or everyone would be replaced.”
I think perhaps we could be nicer to each other…?
Since I’ve been in New York, my girls remind me several times a week that I better not be out making new friends. They took a vote and decided against having auditions for a new me.
They realized it would be too difficult to find someone who makes everyone else look tall, mix up amazing cocktails, and always has a witty joke to cosign another joke.
That’s a tall order, so for now I’m irreplaceable.
Because they’re not replacing me, they don’t want me to replace them. That’s fair enough (bitches), but that means I’ve been spending a lot of time alone while I’m waiting for the husband to arrive.
I’ve met some really nice people who would make great
friends acquaintances, but I suck at making new friends. You know there’s a story supporting this assertion.
My first weekend as a Brooklyn resident was going well. My best friend was still here and we were exploring to our hearts’ content.
Sunday saw us heading to the nearest Laundromat to wash clothes. While we were washing, we went to this frozen yogurt/smoothie/crepes place called Brooklyn Swirl. When you say the name, you have to be extra fabulous (think: Swiiiiirrrrll).
I ordered some very delicious cookies ‘n cream frozen yogurt. As we sat there hanging out and people watching, we saw a lot of the congregation of the nearby church walking past. Lots of people of all ages, families of all sizes, and church hats of all colors were everywhere.
It reminded me a lot of what I would see at my own home church in Chicago. I made a note to try the church out the following Sunday (which I totally did by the way; that’s going to be another post). The people looked friendly and welcoming, which only added to how awesome I had decided Brooklyn was.
Then the shop owner came over to introduce himself. When he learned I’d just moved into the neighborhood, he invited me to join the rewards program. Something like one free frozen yogurt for every 6 or 8 purchases or something.
We went back to put our clothes in the dryer. They had these huge industrial size dryers, so we decided to throw our clothes in together rather than pay for separate drums. The catch was that my best friend’s clothes weren’t done washing yet.
We started washing at the same time. The exact same time. In identical washing machines.
When my clothes were done washing, hers were still spinning strong, looking very sudsy.
Ten minutes later, her machine is still going strong, still looking full of soap.
At this point, we’re just confused. The lady who worked the Laundromat told us that machine runs a little slower than the others. We gave her this why-didn’t-you-tell-us-that-in-the-beginning-because-we-would’ve-made-different-choices-with-our-lives look.
She was unimpressed with our look and went back to her business.
Finally, another ten minutes later, my friend’s machine finishes.
So we load up the dryer and put what felt like endless amounts of quarters into the machine and ended up with 87 minutes on the clock. That’s such an odd number, right?
While the clothes were drying, we decided to head over to Peaches for brunch. This restaurant is so amazing that I’m definitely going to give it its own What’s Hot In New York post.
We sit down at the bar to eat because we didn’t have the time or patience to wait for a table, hashtag no reservations.
The bartender was nice and provided just as good of service as we would get from a waiter. While we’re eating and chatting away, we’re still doing the people watching thing.
These two girls came in and sat next to us at the bar. During the course of them ordering, we ended up striking up a conversation.
Both girls were transplants, just like us. They were from Philly. One lived in the Bronx and one lived in Brooklyn. The one who lived in Brooklyn was really nice and sweet. She was funny and we had a lot of the same interests.
When she heard the husband is a jazz musician, she was pretty excited at the possibilities of maybe having some future things to get into in the neighborhood just become of incoming local talent.
We were there first, so we finished first. We paid the bill and said our good-byes.
As soon as we left the restaurant, my best friend asked me why I didn’t get the girl’s information.
I considered my responses.
- My other friends constantly threaten me to keep me from making new friends.
- I’m not a friendly person and so I have no recent experience on how to make new friends.
- I considered it and everything I thought of in my head to say sounded like a weirdly lesbian pickup line. “Can I get your number? I’d love to call you so we can hang out some time because you seem so sweet.”
- I only really liked the girl who lived in Brooklyn, and it would be awkward to only try and befriend one of the girls.
All the reasons floated around and finally I settled on, “I’m so not good at making new friends.”
She chuckled and said, “clearly.” Then she gave me tips on what I could say for the next time I meet someone I’d like to hang out with again, or if I ever run into that girl again.
My best friend is pretty well versed in this because she lived in New York for some years and she came alone too.
I can totally see myself acting out this scenario in the future:
I’m at a bar or lounge or restaurant and I’ve met an interesting person to talk to. I excuse myself to go to the bathroom, telling them I’ll be right back. I round the corner and immediately call my best friend. I beg her to listen to the situation and give me tips on how to pick up this new potential friend. She laughs at me, but then helps.
So terrible, I know.
The husband will be here in six days (six days, yay!!!) and I do much better at meeting people when he’s here. Pretty much, I just need a Cancer by my side and I can make new friends.
Plus when the husband gets here, we’ll be hanging out with his musician friends and their wives, so that’ll be nice as well.
Okay, back to my story. After I got schooled on how to pick up new friends, we went back to the Laundromat. Our clothes were nice and dry, so we packed the up and headed back to the apartment.
I was really hoping to try out my new friend-making techniques, but I didn’t get a chance.
We ended up at this nice bar/lounge place over on Stuyvesant Sunday night. There was live music playing and it was amazing. I can’t wait to the take the husband there. The way I described it made the husband think it had potential to be our Local Watering Hole. He feels very strongly about us having one of these.
In this bar though, there were only three types of people there, none of which are great candidates for first-new-friend-in-New-York-City.
- Almost-Dirty-Old-Men: They were friendly and definitely more nice than lecherous. But if they were looking to be someone’s sugar daddy/friend, they couldn’t afford me.
- Couples: I really really really suck at making friends with couples without the husband around. I mostly just come off like I’m looking for a threesome. It’s awful.
- Middle Aged Women: these chicks seemed like they were looking to let their hair down in the small gap available between Sunday morning church and Monday morning work. I try to stay away from that.
Perhaps when the husband arrives, we’ll do good with the couples that hang out there. Even though I didn’t hit the ground running with making new friends, I was at least learning new places. Perhaps it will get easier once potential new friends start to see me more often.