No matter how much I love living in NYC, if I’m honest, even the greatest city in the world is far from perfect. Similar to what comes with any long-term relationship, the idiosyncrasies that didn’t unnerve me in the beginning have gotten under my skin over the years. Although nothing on this list is reason enough to leave the town I call home (no city is perfect), if I could do away with this list, New York City would be that much better.
Read on for my list of bad things about living in New York.
Waiting for most everything.
The checkout line at Trader Joe’s and the line to get into Shake Shack stretch around the block, so I avoid both spots, which is a crying shame! Trader Joe’s has the cheapest grocery prices in Manhattan and Shake Shack serves one of the best burgers. At times, there are also unbearable lines at Whole Foods, Fairway, TKTS, and just about any other place with a deal. Sometimes, it’s worth it to pay more just to maintain my sanity.
The ever-changing cityscape.
Walk down any street today, and chances are, what you’ll find will be very different in three months. Just when you get used to the way a street looks or what businesses occupy the block, it changes. (More on this in #4.) Scaffolding appears and disappears. A charming low-rise vanishes and an empty lot makes way for another towering skyscraper. Construction is a way of life in Manhattan. Occasionally, you’ll find that you barely recognize your neighborhood. When this happens, it might be a sign that it’s time to move.
Favorite places close.
Your favorite restaurant, pub, or dry cleaner –– don’t get too hooked because life here changes in a New York minute. One day your neighborhood diner is here and thriving, and the next day its doors are closed, or the building has been demolished. With rising rents, small businesses can’t make bank, and so they move to another spot in the neighborhood if they can, or close for good. There’s nothing permanent about New York City –– except the fact that Manhattan is an island.
Blah blah blah. Yes, we all know that NYC is pricey, but I’m not talking real estate. I’m talking about simple things like a good glass of wine, or a beer. Finding a beer for less than $7 is far from easy, and a reasonably priced (and good) glass of wine is a whole other story. If I get a decent pour that doesn’t taste like jug wine for $9, well, that’s cheap. The norm for the “average” glass of wine is $13-$15, and that’s probably for a glass from a $12 bottle.
And alcohol is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to overpricing. According to Expatistan.com, for a dozen eggs you’ll pay an average of $4.71; Wi-Fi will set you back about $49 per month; while dinner out for two people in an Italian restaurant will cost about $110.
Trash is always on the streets.
There’s no place for the amount of trash generated by the 8.5 million people in this town, so garbage rots on the streets until the Department of Sanitation picks it up. And in warm weather, horrific odors permeate the city, not to mention the overflow of trash that ends up scattered on the sidewalks. If you don’t live in a doorman building, get used to cleaning up trash almost daily, and the stench becomes part of everyday life here.
The dog poop.
As a dog owner and a dog lover, I understand that pooches need to do their biz. And in this concrete jungle, that’s on the sidewalks, usually, which is okay. BUT, clean it up people! Clean. It. Up.
The growing homeless population.
Anyone who lives in NYC or visits knows that homelessness is a real issue, if not an epidemic. Seeing humans – some of whom desperately need medical and psychiatric care– on the streets on a daily basis is gut-wrenching. The first step in fixing a problem is realizing that you have one. I’m hoping and praying that the City of New York will own this problem and create a viable strategy to get New Yorkers off the streets. I believe the first step is treating mental health problems and the second is making housing more affordable.
I’ll never know or see it all.
So much to do and so little time is a good problem to have, but nonetheless, it’s also overwhelming. No matter how long I live here, I’ll never know everything about this city, eat in every restaurant, drink in every bar, shop in every store, see every Broadway show or attend every cultural event. And with the amount of new businesses that open daily, making the rounds –– even within my neighborhood –– seems impossible. Plus, New Yorkers are known to frequent the same local spots again and again. I’m no different. I, too, am a creature of habit.
The competitive edge.
Hundreds of people apply for one job, and there’s always someone younger, smarter, thinner, prettier, more experienced, willing to work for less, and ready to step in and snatch a position. We’ve explained before how tough this city is, and I’m here to tell you that the competition is pretty much as stiff as it can get –– anywhere.
The amount of money I spend on shoes.
Everyone knows about my shoe vice, and I don’t deny it. But, owning good, comfortable shoes when living in NYC is as important as keeping an MTA card in your wallet. You’re only able to walk as far as your shoes will take you, and in New York, that can be miles each day. Not only do well-made shoes cost more, but repair bills will set you back a few hundred or more each year, too. Traveling on foot takes its toll –– heels need to be replaced and bottoms re-soled. Hustling down the stairs to catch a train does a number on my footwear. I wonder, does anyone else have this problem?
Do you know of any other bad things about living in New York? Things that get under your skin? Please share. 😉
Met Life photo by Scott McCulley. Trash photo by Jim Pennucci via Flickr.