The world shut down over two years ago, and in those two years I didn’t go on a plane. I didn’t step foot in New York or even the United States of America. And my only visits to my parents were via Zoom.
But we’re back…
Florida Snatches Another
Our trip was planned hastily. The reasons were many. As I wrote about last week, it was hard to build up the motivation to even get out the door, with all the fears and discomforts accompanying flying in this wacky time in history. Plus we were trying desperately not to miss anything important happening on this side of the ocean, such as two of my kids’ graduations. But the biggest factor affecting time was making sure to get to the other side before my parents permanently vacated my childhood home.
My parents have been living in this house for 48 years! It’s the house I grew up in. And to this day, it’s basically the only place in the world I think of as “my home”. And that’s all coming to an end… as Florida manages to snatch up two more retired Jews, like some type of devious troll that lures them away with lower taxes and more consistent warm weather.
But I’ll talk more about the home in a different post.Florida manages to snatch up... retired Jews, like some type of devious troll that lures them away with lower taxes and more consistent warm weather. Click To Tweet
New York City in 2022
For now I’d like to talk about New York City in 2022.
I grew up in New York. Interestingly, my entire life no one ever guessed I was from there. And because I was a proud New Yorker, I used to get offended by all the weird states they’d guess I was from. That is until adulthood settled in alongside the biting realization that when people say, “I never would have guessed you were from New York,” what they were really saying this whole time was, “But… but… you’re friendly.”
So what I thought was a gross insult was actually an odd, roundabout compliment.
Nevertheless, I remained a proud New Yorker. I’ve often quipped that true New Yorkers don’t think they are from the center of the world. They are 100% absolutely certain of it.
That all being said, this latest New York adventure left me more than a little disappointed.
The Big Wormy Apple
Let’s put aside the fact that we mistakenly took our trip in July, a recipe for feeling gross just about every single time we stepped outside. That was on us for forgetting that a sweater in a New York winter will always beat the nasty, muggy New York summer. Anyhow…
During our illustrious journey, we experienced two amazing Broadway shows; however, I’m sadly convinced Broadway is the only thing left in New York worth going to. The Big Apple has more than a few worms crawling their way through it. And it’s so sad to see this monumental fall from grace.
However, the timing couldn’t be more fitting. As I say farewell to my childhood home, perhaps it’s better that I walk away not longing for a memory of New York that seems to be long gone.
So what’s so bad about New York at the moment?
Rats, Homeless People, and Prices… Oh My
Well, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that New York has always had its faults. The problem is, those faults were a lot easier to overlook in the past. Everything that was complicated before is exaggerated now.
We saw more rats in these two weeks than in the rest of our lives combined. Homeless folk are everywhere. The prices are through the roof. I actually walked past someone shooting up heroin! And the city seems to be dominated by only two scents: Urine and pot. And trust me, regardless of how you feel about pot or its odor, under all circumstances it is far preferable to the alternative.
And you know what? For the city we used to call the one “that never sleeps”, it really didn’t seem to ring true anymore. It’s more like “the city that’s slowing down by 11:30 and snoring away by one in the morning”… but that’s not nearly as catchy.
But seriously, what a letdown. It feels like New York is the equivalent of a man in his forties who can no longer stand all that loud music anymore.
Goodbye New York
But this trip wasn’t about enjoying the city. Sure, it was important. And it was something we’ve been longing to do for some time now. But the main part of the trip was to see my beloved parents, and to say goodbye to Staten Island. Forever.
Having a New York City adventure was just supposed to be the icing on the cake of another amazing trip abroad.
And, much to my dismay, I got to see firsthand why so many people I know and love have left or are leaving. And why the city in general seems to be clearing out. New York, you disappoint me. You are not what you used to be. You are a mere shadow of your former greatness.
And what you were will be missed.
But at least… DOGS
I will say, however, New York City has made one noticeable improvement that should not at all be overlooked. It looks like everyone and their sister has gotten a dog since last time I was there. Another fringe benefit of Corona! And you know what? They’re all adorable and calm and I literally just wanted to stop and play with every single one of them!
Their owners? Less cute and friendly, but kudos to them on getting really lovable companions.
So yeah, New York still has ultra high-quality theater and scores of adorable canines. But that isn’t enough to sustain a city. New York, my beloved homeland, I’m honestly worried about your future.
But thank goodness, we made it out to Broadway. Yes, affording tickets might mean for a brief period you won’t be able to feed your kids. And the only way to make tickets even remotely reasonable involves standing outside in the sweltering heat endlessly (for us, it was a full hour). But the results are still the same. You might have more understudies than usual, as the days of Corona still linger behind, but you are nearly guaranteed to have a remarkable and unforgettable experience.