Tuesday, March 29, 2011

MrIndieDay vs. New York

There's a quietly understood notion that when something is occurring in New York, even if it's a pigeon taking a shit from a Central Park tree, it somehow holds more significance, or is of greater interest.

So much so that, as unscientifically evidenced by various FB postings, people will make note that when they're doing something, they're doing it in "New York".

Staring at birds shitting...in NYC!!!! (Uploaded via Blackberry @ 4:33PM)

This is in sharp contrast to saying something like "Hanging out with friends...in Neptune, NJ". By the way, don't forget the leaves may be placed at the curb starting Friday, as written on the town's event page!

Which rake can I take?

I say this in an almost disconnected fashion, but I also succumb to it. It's a particular stigma in the northeast US; just the very mention of NY elicits images of concrete glamor and Julian Casablancas-esque swagger.

Though I'm sure NY doesn't have an awkward solo album.

It is, however, a shit city. There. I said it.

I visited NYC recently as a trip just to hang out and pretend I have the social stature to be snooty at the Metropolitan Museum. Living in Newark, NJ, it's a couple train rides away. That's all well and good. I have nostalgic Dominican memories as a kid of riding the train with my parents to NY and back, because...well, I don't remember. But I got Pizza Hut. So there.

...Hooray trains?

But then we actually get to New York. And there came the sociological atrocities.

I mentioned in a post a year ago about the massive amount of human traffic that incessantly pervades the town. People constantly to your side; you cannot take 4 paces without someone brushing past you. This was exemplified in the train ride, when, in trying to exit, the passengers hustled and found themselves abruptly choked by the fact that the door is 4 feet wide. Exiting the train was disastrously uncomfortable.

The Japanese are unimpressed.

What?? Too soon??

As we make our way out of the subway and to fresh (But not really) air, NY greets us with frantic vehicular traffic that makes me wanna smoke a dimebag. If there is one truth about NYC that foreigners don't fully understand, it is that you do not, by any means, want to drive in it.


Eventually, me and my friend found ourselves lost and somewhat frustrated as we exhausted ourselves trying to find the right subway train to get to our ultimate destination. The town takes itself for granted; it is a city that has its own learning curve.

Trying to look for the subway controls in the manual....

Once we did find our particular subway (After walking literally in a square like retards), we found ourselves again overwhelmed by a populated train. Fortunately, the impromptu Mariachi band that entered the train gave me some delight. I clapped along, both because I did like it and because the passengers were being jaded douchebags. I know, this happens in NYC often, but staring into the abyss while someone plays their heart out is a shit way to look coolly jaded.

Or maybe they should've just gotten it over with and play "La Cucaracha".

Or maybe they were an indie Mariachi band, refusing to play conformist pop material.

We exit this subway, and start making way towards the MET. By this point, we've found ourselves a bit frustrated, and our legs a bit tired, however undeterred. Still somewhat excited, we entered a bustling MET and made our way through its various sections. We were drawn to the paintings in particular. This environment's a little unusual to me; my life has not set me up to properly appreciate art and culture for what it is. But being a creative person, I found what little pleasure I could in looking at antiquated ugly people and casually painted beheadings.

But then, I felt it. It was in the air. It pierced through the ears. It echoed against the walls. It emanated from their v-necks. Hipsters.

I am cardigan and what is this.

I take pleasure in pointing them out. Namely because they can look so ridiculous, they parody themselves. But there was no point; they were everywhere. It would've been like gawking at a blade of grass in a meadow.


The glasses, the art history majors, the lazy hair, the flannels, the shoes that look like hooves. It was in full force.

What annoys me about them isn't their choice of style or music. It is something a little deeper than that. That pretentious wave of persona that wafted through the cubes of the MET. That's what got to me. That the MET became less a place to appreciate history/culture, and more a place to be seen appreciating history/culture.

This is, admittedly, very presumptuous of me. But instinctively I felt what I felt, and was promptly discomforted.

The thing is, though, this ethereal douchebaggery pervades the entire city of NYC. It is an enormously inconvenient grid of buildings, cars, trains, and people who don't care. And yet, it has an arrogance about it that whispers to you with every step, "We're so awesome 'cause we're us". Or maybe that was me.

In our head.

We made our way out of the MET, visited Central Park to play the "Let's stare at how weird people are" game, and, showered in exhaustion and homesickness, made our way home. The final blow was the dark hole in my wallet that laughed in my face every time I looked, which speaks to how expensive NYC is with little actual reason. Again, another whisper.

As we rode the train back to obscurity, I realized that it does provide situations and circumstances that you probably would've never experienced elsewhere. Even now, I look back somewhat fondly on this massively inconvenient trip.

This was so much fun let's do it again!!!!!

But the city itself is not actually a great place. It is a city that has forgotten to appreciate humanity, and takes pride in apathy. It is a place where shops exist not turn a profit, but merely to act as 3D billboards, because the rent is too expensive to make any positive revenue. It's where sincerity is murdered, and jaded facades hi-five bloodied hands.

Of course, the city will continue to host my friends' various "omg lets go to ny" trips, in a perpetual search for those strange moments that just could not happen anywhere else. But the city's lost it's luster for me.

Let it be known that I've written this blog without one "Empire State of Mind" reference.


  1. im not even going to lie...that is probably everything i love about nyc....im weird i know.

  2. Haha, to each his (Her) own. I love the urbanized lifestyle too, and used to appreciate NYC's insanity, so I understand liking it. I think, for me, it's a thought that's gradually seeped in as I got older.