Friday, February 22, 2008

Three Cities

Since college, I’ve lived for some time in three cities: New York, Washington, and Philadelphia. I totally failed during my 6 months in New York, ‘made it’ professionally in DC but left after a year and a half, and am now approaching two years living a relatively comfortable existence in Philly. There are a few basic lessons I’ve learned, and these apply to twenty-somethings with 0-50K salaries. If you’re reading this and are older and make more, however, send a big advance to 759 South Jessup St. Philadelphia 19147 and I will write some shit that will blow your mind. Nevertheless, here are the lessons I’ve learned:

-Most people tend to think the grass is greener on the other side. they believe that if they move to another city, their social lives will improve. If said people live in DC, then they are correct. For everyone else who hasn’t lived in their city for at least two years, though, step back and ask yourself what exactly it is that you are running from. Could it be...Yourself? Loser. Oh, excuse me...”Tragic hero.”

-New York is billed as a “city that never sleeps”, but without a lifetime supply of stimulants, how are you going to pull that off?

-To continue on New York, nobody interesting lives in Manhattan anymore outside of Harlem and the lowest of the East Side. Sex in the City was a really popular show that made Manhattan the province of 30-something, affluent, fashion conscious professional white girls. As a consequence, Manhattan is probably more boring than even Dallas these days.

-Philadelphia is a city full of skeptics, but unfortunately, people seem to leave their skepticism at the door when a mediocre guitar band is playing. People are very supportive of each other in the local music scene, so Matt Pond hasn’t been told to quit yet.

-In Washington DC, people get excited about their flip-cup teams.

So, with these lessons in mind, here are the cities compared by category:


New York: Although your neighborhood might be run-down, there is no actual ghetto left in New York, except in the northern parts of the Bronx. Yeah, I know you live in Bushwick or Bed-Stuay. Just because my car window was smashed the last time I visited, however, doesn’t mean there isn’t a brunch place two blocks away and a coffee shop across the street from your apartment.

Washington, DC: DC is so expensive nowadays that you are stuck paying 900 dollars a month for a small room in a Bungalow in Sherlington, where the metro is a mile long walk away. At least the shittiest neighborhoods in New York have Bodegas on the corners where you can improvise some food. Fuck it; I don’t care if your life in danger, living east of North Capital and North of New York Ave is still fucking better than Northern Va. or Maryland.

Philadelphia: Like I’ve said before, people on the outside still think our city is a post-apocalyptic warzone, so you can live in a lot of convenient neighborhoods on the cheap. Unfortunately, the rent has shot up in “next big thing” neighborhoods like Fishtown, but the secret is that Fishtown is actually boring aside from Johnny Brenda's. What’s the point of going to Johnny Brenda’s more than twice a week anyway? so you can tell people “I saw the A-Sides before they became minimally successful”?


Philadelphia: Since there’s little status to be gained in this city that anyone cares about, you don’t really need to take your girl anywhere other than a functional dive bar. If you are in even a below-average band, just point at the girl you want and take it from there. If not you are not in a band, just lie about being in the Future Tips.

Washington, DC: Some casual pre-dinner wine at Tallula’s, Dinner at Marcel’s, post-dinner jazz at Bohemian Caverns ending with drinks at 18th Street Lounge, all accomplished by chartering a fucking limo. This will merit you a shoulder shrug. Your date will go on to bang an aide to Sam Brownback in order to gain an interview for an assistant Press Secretary position.

New York: Nobody dates in New York. People just accidentally fuck each other a bunch of times.

Going Out

Philadelphia: There are generally less douches in Philly. You can go an entire night in Philly douche-free. Since you are basically resigned to walking everywhere, however, your nightlife will slow down in the Winter to the point where you will not walk five blocks to a bar until it is at least 50 degrees out. And yet, no one would think to call you a pussy.

New York: Hop on the L Train! We've got a choice between a strip of bars in Williamsburg, or a strip of bars in the Lower East Side! There's no place like New York!

Washington, DC: Talk about other hotspots all you want, but your night will end up in Adams Morgan...In tears.


Philadelphia: In about two years, 60% of the hipster population will have a nervous breakdown over the tattoos they can't get rid of.

New York: Nobody even knows what's cool here anymore.

Washington, DC: You can't even get Chinese food without boat shoes.




pukie said...

I hate to say it but I actually don't disagree with most of this post however perhaps you should review all three again in the summer.

Anonymous said...

I feel sort of responsible for the limited bar scene we've exposed you to in New York. There are places to go outside of Williamsburg/LES/Village, but we tend to stick to places where people buy most of our drinks for us, which has shrunk our bar scene to like four. Although this weekend I was seconds away from being arrested in a coke den in Bushwick- our friends weren't so lucky. Um...I'll tell you about it later. Just sayin' there's some ghetto and excitement left in Brooklyn if you go looking for it- i.e. Dominican speakeasys.

Scott said...

I actually do have fun in New York, I just like to rag on it these days.

Brandon said...

ppl really don't date in nyc either. that's a fact. they do just accidently fuck. it sux.