A few weeks ago I shared the things I was missing the most about New York City from my five years living there (if you missed it, you can check it out here). Of course, despite my love for it, not everything about the city is amazing - and I thought it was only fair to share the other side of living there as well. So in the spirit of balance, here are ten things I definitely do not miss about living in Manhattan:
- The feeling of invisibility. New Yorkers are brilliant at ignoring everything around them. It's a survival mechanism indeed, and I appreciated the usefulness of it when I lived there - and became adept at it myself - but after living in places where people acknowledge each other, smile, and wave - I don't think I could go back to that way of life. (Unless it came with a cape...)
- The traffic. One of the reasons I always preferred walking to taxis is you could easily get stuck in epic gridlock, moving slower than a snail during rush hour, arguing with the cabbie over whether to try your luck on the FDR or not.
- The smells in the summer, wafting up from the subway grates and lingering around the trash bins on the street. Blech. (Just one more reason to escape the city in the summer months and get out to the shores!
- Crazy queues at popular bars, clubs, lounges - especially intolerable in the frigid winter! Similarly, waiting lists for weeks for reservations at newer restaurants.
- Tiny 400-square-foot apartments considered 'spacious' and ample space for cohabitation. For that matter, 6th floor walk ups considered desirable because of their location.
- Living in NJ. When I first moved to the city, I had grandiose dreams of living right in the heart of the village a la Friends - but like many other newbies, I ended up in Jersey because it's much more affordable. And while some parts are rather nice! - they were not where I was...the only upside of the scary alley by the parking garage on my walk home from the station was the police station nearby. Also, living in NJ and commuting up to 110th by Columbia University meant I had to leave at 430am for my early start at the lab...nothing quite like riding the PATH and subway at those hours of the morning to make you want to move a bit more central!
- The dog-eat-dog, climb-the-corporate-ladder-at-all-costs mentality shared by so many professionals. I was ecstatic to make AVP by 25 but I ended up giving a lot up to do that. It made plenty of sense at the time, but I can also see how it contributes to the 'if you can make it here...' feeling and adds a lot of pressure to life in the city.
- The cynicism. The impact of those pressurized scenes - be they work or social - left a mark on me. Living in NYC turned me in a worldly, but fairly cynical, version of myself. It took me a while for my edges to soften again, after I moved to London.
- Being "NY Skinny" - The pressure to look a certain way, dress a certain way, own all the name brands, and be seen at all the cool places. I might have looked great when I lived there but I do *not* miss my daily diet of sugar free red bulls and one giant soft pretzel - I love food too much to do that again!!
- Cockroaches. Enough said.
With that being said, to me the good almost always outweighed the bad - especially when it came to the real estate. It's amazing what you would put up with to live in 'the greatest city on earth'!! ;)
How about you? What do you miss and not miss about somewhere else you've lived? Would you take the 'bad' to live there again?