NYC 10: The 10 Worst Types Of People In NYC

This month marks 10 years since we moved to New York City. I’m writing on a variety of topics to reflect on a decade in one of the best cities in the world. Read all the posts.

Tourists. Not all tourists; just those who fail to understand that the city may not operate in the same way their hometown does, and then opt to get huffy about it. (These are the ones always complaining about how rude NYC residents are.)

People who don’t move in to the center of a subway car when there’s a mass of people on the platform.

Those who walk by a giant line for something, ask what the line is for, and then respond with “Oh.” Were you going to get in this massive line if it was some really compelling thing? No, you weren’t. Keep walking.

People on subways platforms who shout at people in the train to move into the center of the car when there’s no room.

Grifters. I have run into two in my life. One I dodged, one I did not.

People who cut their fingernails on the subway.

Food cart vendors who seem to be unable to do anything other than burn the hell out of chestnuts, leaving whatever street they’re on smelling of burning death.

Those who stand to the left on any escalator.

Stand-up comedians in Times Square who, in a desperate attempt to hand out free tickets so they get stage time, ask everyone they see “Hey, do you guys like comedy?”

But the worst people in all of New York City, the lowest of the low? The leeches who stand around Ground Zero and sell “NEVER FORGET” souvenir magazines to unsuspecting tourists. It is the most literal profiting off of a tragedy I have ever seen, and it is disgusting.


NYC 10: Twenty Years Ago, A First Visit

This month marks 10 years since we moved to New York City. I’m writing on a variety of topics to reflect on a decade in one of the best cities in the world. Read all the posts.

I’ve been told that some people have grand dreams of where they want to live when they’re growing up. There’s usually some story about a brilliant visit, some magical moment that sparks the thought in them that they want to live there later in life.

I didn’t have any dreams of moving here before it ended up happening. And I certainly didn’t have a magic moment, although I do remember my first trip to NYC somewhat clearly.

It was July 4th weekend of 1993; we were visiting the area to see a friend of my parents in Yonkers. And one of the days we were downstate, we drove into Manhattan to…well, I don’t quite remember the point, exactly. Some very light sightseeing.

We parked in Midtown; we walked along Fifth Avenue, not really doing much shopping. There was a stop in a Software Etc. on 48th Street, where I remember being mortified at the price of SNES games ($100!). We ate lunch at the cafe where the skating rink is. And walking back to the car, my mother tried to give the leftovers of my giant hamburger to a homeless guy, who promptly rejected it.

That was really about it. It was a tremendously short visit, and perhaps a bit self-explanatory why I didn’t get any lofty dreams of NYC at that point in my life.

Last year, though, I began making a detour on the way into the office: getting off the E train a stop early, walking over to Rockefeller Center, grabbing a coffee from the Blue Bottle that had recently opened in the Concourse, and then walking the few blocks cross-town to my office. And on one of this caffeine-motivated walks, I remembered that little time I spent on Fifth Avenue about twenty years prior.

And *this* is the thing, above all, I’ve grown to love the most about this city, that it is shaped and defined by memories, even those one would chalk up as innocuous. Even as New York rebuilds and reshapes itself – as the facades and storefronts change, as the skyline changes shapes, as people come and go – ultimately, your own mental map and memories are what make the city what it is for you.


Coming Up: “NYC After 10”

I do love me any excuse to celebrate a good ten year anniversary. And another big one approaches – September 27th will mark 10 years since Katie and I moved to NYC.

To celebrate such an occasion – and to once again give myself a fixed writing target so that my blog is not stagnant – I’m planning a month-long writing exercise of posts about New York, about how it’s changed, and about how it’s changed me. The intention is one post a day, in the style of my Games Of 20XX yearly things.

But, of course, I want it to be interesting and relevant to those who might read it, so – if there’s something in particular you’d like me to make sure I cover, please leave a comment or ping me on a social network and I’ll add it into my planned post list.