Monday, January 12, 2009

Back to Brooklyn

I've been reading a book lent to me by Brett upon our move into Brooklyn. It is titled “Broke-Ass Stuart's Guide to Living Cheaply in New York City.” Enlightening, eh? The book is useful. It has free food locations, drink specials, cheap deals on clothes and entertainment in various places around Manhattan and Brooklyn. I'm not going into detail about this book, but there are a few quotes at the beginning that have struck me, and I want to comment on them a bit.

“One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years...”
-Thomas Wolfe

This is true. New York sucks you in, the moment you declare yourself a resident. You're swept up in the tornado of bars, buildings, subways, lights, bodegas, and restaurants. You're suddenly gasping for air as you compete with a million others who are just as good as you or better at music, engineering, Djing, and writing. You come to the realization that you're going to have to take a part-time restaurant job or freelance crew job to just pay the rent. It's both fantastic and difficult. One is not wealthy in New York. However, I think it's the second metaphor from this book that really fascinates me:

“I maintain that, no matter how much you love New York, this city fucking hates you. Don't take it personally; this bitch is just badder than you are. Her game is tighter, her mind is quicker, her swagger is more believable. She's not the one who got away, she's the one you never had a chance of getting, and that's what makes just being near her so exhilarating. I think old Mr. Wolfe was onto something. New York will never be yours; you will always be hers. She's got you pussy-whipped and you fucking know it.”
-Broke-Ass Stuart

I do not think the author of this book is a philosophical genius, but I do think he's correct, and I've never heard it put so eloquently. Drew and I moved to New York without the slightest regard to the above statement, and we got ripped to shreds. I have a subway ticket for $100. I spent $50 on Friday night in one bar in Manhattan. My bank account was drained. Job prospects are SO competitive, that despite my degree and experience, I have not had one reply to the resumes I've sent out. Kelsey and Craig moved to Richmond, VA and we wondered why? New York has so much going on, why would you leave? Well, it's because New York is a cold-hearted bitch. She's expensive and it feels good to have her around, but she doesn't appreciate your company and you won't be missed if you leave.

I am riding back on a Martz bus alone back to the city. I will lug my belongings back to Brooklyn, shower, and try to figure out just HOW to survive the rest of the month in this city. Tomorrow, an Audio Engineering Society meeting with a presentation on the sound system at Camden Yards. I will dress in suit and tie and have a folder full of resumes. Thursday I will attend the MAKE:blog circuit bending meeting in Brooklyn. At the 3rd Ward, the very first place I applied when I got here.

I think my current plan is to work in the city for 2-3 years. My “West Coast by 25” plan is still in effect. After I set into a job, I am going to start looking for grad schools on the west coast. I'd like a masters in Audio Engineering. I think San Francisco is the eventual place for this. So while I'm young and motivated, I'll stick it out in New York, just to say I did it. Just to say I survived, I lived in the Big Apple, and she didn't suck me in permanently.

But until that time, there is still much to see and do. The first ten days were the test. Now it's time to do this for real.


  1. why would you do any place 'just to do it?' for so long i've dreamed of living in the city(and soon i finally will!) b/c its energy pulls me in and theres no other place i could imagine being while i start grad school. i don't think i could ever go somewhere, especially semi-long term, just to do it. especially at this age; we should do things/ be places that excite us to its very end while we still have the chance. [the reason i didn't make any spontaneous decisions after graduation =) i need to plan carefully to enjoy every second and not settle..just to say i did it] n.

  2. Because I want to live in many different places. I don't see New York being a permanent place, but I want to experience it for a while. I want to experience San Francisco, Europe, South America, many places. That's why this isn't permanent. Sure, NYC is a great place and I'm sure I could live here for a long time, but I don't want to get tied down anywhere at the moment.

    Besides I haven't planned tomorrow let alone the next few years. We're taking this day by day.

  3. Watch that she doesn't suck you in later. It's one thing to say New York won't have you forever while you're there; it's another thing entirely to be able to say you quit her and don't need her anymore. I'm still struggling and I may never really overcome.