Saturday, April 09, 2011

New York's Alright If You Like Saxaphones

I'm in New York, staying in the East Village. It's my first time here - I've spent most of my 36 years avoiding/hating/being envious of New York. It always seemed to crazy, too busy, too big, too harsh, too full of itself. It's all of those things, but it also the Ur-city, the city that all others are modeled after and aspire to be. I've only been here twenty four hours and already I am overwhelmed and half want to move here and half want to take the next plane home. It's an intense, crowded, exciting place.

And I've had that Fear song in my head. Fear wrote it in their asshole West Coast way, mocking New York for being full of arty gays. I think it's funny because it doesn't seem like that much of an insult. As my friend's friend said to us today, "welcome to Chelsea, one of nine gay districts in Manhattan.

My impressions of New York are mostly from music and film, and are mostly out of date. The Lower East Side when it was dangerous. Manhattan when it was more working class. South Bronx when it was an abandoned, bombed-out war zone. Things have changed. From my limited view, it seems a lot less sleazy than it used to be, and a lot safer and more homogeneous. I joked with my wife that we could easily spend the entire time eating at chain restaurants and shopping at chain stores. But in between all that are hundreds upon hundreds of unique stores and restaurants, and millions and millions of people. Another telling sign - i've seen a ton of DVD places, but no record stores.

So maybe this is a better theme song for my trip:

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