5 Things I Did Not Know When I Moved to New York


I’ve been here a while now, so it’s okay to admit these things. I am pretty sure I am not alone in these rather humbling experiences. Correction: I really hope I am not alone in these experiences, because if I am, I am a far greater nerd than I thought.

1. I did not know about wasabi. In my defense, I also had never had sushi before moving to New York, so I was a victim of the oldest trick in the book (which is the one where your sushi expert friend tells you to eat a big gob of wasabi straight up, because they insist it is delicious, and then fire comes out of your eyes and nostrils and you pray to Jesus for sweet relief and can’t wait to try that trick on some other unsuspecting doofus).

2. I didn’t know that you’re supposed to pronounce Houston Street like Howston Street. Naturally, now when I hear tourists repeat my mistake, I become enraged.

3. Drugs are everywhere. Growing up in the Midwest, I honestly thought drugs were like, super duper hush-hush items of secrecy and that police wearing riot gear with giant German Shepherd dogs were lurking around every corner in the big city just waiting to bust people with drugs. I did not know that approximately 97% of New Yorkers keep marijuana stashed away somewhere in their kitchen. I could not have imagined the possibility of a drug dealer riding his bicycle to your apartment at any hour of the day or not.  The 14-year-old Vanessa Huxtable tattletale that still lives inside me wants to say “awwwwww” in a you’re-gonna-get-it voice every time I smell ganja on the sidewalk.

4. Midtown is not cool. I was under the impression that, thanks to pretty much every single movie I saw as a kid set in New York, all the action was in Midtown. As it turns out, Splash!, Tootsie, Working Girl, and Kramer vs. Kramer were all liars. As it also turns out, my parents probably should not have let me seen a lot of movies I was allowed to see at an impressionable young age. True fact: Kramer vs. Kramer was almost directed by Francois Truffaut. Imagine.

5. There are no secret underground nightclubs featuring magic shows, like the one in Desperately Seeking Susan. Trust me, I’ve searched. This, to me, is a serious failure on behalf of every nightclub owner in this city. I’m sick of fake burlesque shows and “speak-easies” (people, there was this thing called the 21st Amendment, which repealed the 18th Amendment, and it’s been legal to drink alcohol in this country for 80 years, so enjoy that $17 “secret” martini). If you want to really buy an alcoholic beverage and consume it illegally, buy a Tecate and drink it in the alley behind my apartment building with all the other dudes who hang out at the taco stand downstairs.  And let me know if you know how to do any magic tricks or if Rosanna Arquette stops by.


5 Things that are Simply Not OK About This Heat

New York

Back in the day (when I was in college) it was not uncommon during the months of July and August for my friends and I, trapped like roaches in stifling New York City apartments without air conditioning, to call each other and have conversations like this:

“I’m totally naked standing in front of the fridge, and my head is in the freezer.” – friend

“Me, too.” – me

We would resort to barbaric techniques like standing under a cold stream of water in the shower in our pajamas, then lie down atop our cheap futon mattresses with fans blowing on us until our clothes were dry. Repeat.  We would avoid certain subway stations with extra-stultifying platforms. And my friends, I tell you, back in those days, it was NOT EVEN THIS HOT.

Here are 5 things that truly extra-suck about the 90+ degree temperatures in New York City this week.

1) When you realize that it’s cooler on the subway platform than it is on the street. That is like some kind of backwards-world/opposite-day scenario and it seriously messes with your mind.

2) When you get an iced coffee at Starbucks and before you even walk one block, all of the ice has melted and you’re basically drinking brown water.

3) Everyone takes the subway. Everyone. All those sporty people who sometimes walk or ride bikes abandon their athleticism and hog up more space on your train when you least want warm bodies in close proximity to you.

4) There are no available cabs, anywhere. No one will stop for you. I pity any woman going into labor on the streets of New York this week, because there ain’t no way anyone’s giving up their cool, air-conditioned ride to help a stranger.

5) Brown-outs. There was a minor one in my neighborhood in the wee hours of the morning today. Nothing is more heartbreaking than hearing your air-conditioner struggling to do its job on reduced power. Unless, of course, that’s happening at the same time as your fan won’t run, your cable modem has no juice, and your laptop battery is drained.


Little Known Facts About New York


If you live in New York, you may not be aware of these true facts.

1) Only two of your four stove top burners will work in any apartment built before 1980. If your apartment has one of those mini ovens, then only one or zero of your burners will function.

2.) None of your stove top burners will work if you happen to already be cooking something in the oven.

3.) If you have any special weekend plans more than two miles away from your apartment, the subway line that would normally be the most convenient will not be running.

4.) It is impossible to run a blow dryer long enough to adequately dry long hair in a private residence without blowing a fuse.

5.) It is perfectly legal for police officers and postal carriers to not do their jobs whenever they feel like it (examples: taking a break from directing traffic to send text messages on a street corner, or leaving a cart full of private mail unguarded outside of a Chinese restaurant for an hour at lunchtime). 

6.) Any reasonably priced produce looks like it fought in a war before arriving at the grocery store.

7.) It is perfectly acceptable to charge a customer more for one glass of wine at a bar than the entire bottle costs at the wine store.

8.) It is perfectly acceptable to charge a customer more for a 4-pack of toilet paper than the amount they pay for monthly rent.

9.) An evil wizard controls the night schedule of the F train, which is why sometimes you wait 45 minutes for it on a Saturday night, and other times two arrive within two minutes of each other.

10.) If your pilot light goes out, you might as well move to a new apartment because no one knows what to do in that situation.