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In Which I Fail To Understand My Relationship With NYC

I went down to NYC this week to to visit Rachel and celebrate her birthday with her. A tremendous time was had in the process.

I took an early morning Amtrak train down on Saturday morning, arriving around 1pm. I had about 5 hours to kill until I needed to be at a restaurant in Brooklyn, so I decided to head up to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to wander around. I have to say, New York City really knows how to do museums. The Museum of Fine arts in Boston is pretty cool. It’s a lot cooler since they finished all of the work and added the new, awesome american wing to it. I love going to the MFA to wander around from time to time. The Met is just so much grander. Their Egypt wing alone, with its giant room holding a full egyptian temple, is fodder for hours of amusement. Their Greek and Roman wing is just as awesome. They had museum staff wandering around leading tours and talking about pieces. You could sort of wander up to them and listen to them talk about something, or follow a tour that was passing by. That museum was alive. The MFA just sort of leaves you to your devices, and feels sort of dead by comparison. There’s no energy in the MFA, but there is at the Met. I never really considered a museum having energy, but now I’ll miss it. I do like some parts of the MFA’s collection and organization better than the Met. However, without spending much more time at the Met, and not being a museum curator by trade, I feel unqualified to talk about that in detail.

After tiring myself of Egyptian, Greek, and Roman artifacts, I made my way over to Brooklyn. A delicious dinner was had, and then some other things happened which will not be posted on the internet for posterity to read. If you want to find out you can ask me in person. When all was said and done, I left Brooklyn at about 1 am, and made my way back to Penn Station to catch a 2:40 am train back to Boston. For the record, Times Square is eerie at night when it’s completely empty. I arrived back in Boston around 8, made my way home, and then sort of missed Sunday just from sleeping.

It was an awesome whirlwind trip. It also made me realize something.

When I stepped off the train in New York, I was full of apprehension. I felt the sudden intense need to go somewhere that I could just hang out, which for me was the Met. Museums are easy to hang out in. I suppose I could have gone to a bar, but I can do that here. Then I went to Brooklyn and just sort of found myself thankful to be following people on their plans for the evening. When I left, I was still apprehensive and just needed to get on the subway and get back to Amtrak to catch my train. All day for me it was hurry up and wait. Go go go go! And then find a place to hang out and recover for the next time I’d have to dive in to things.

When I got back to Boston and stepped off the train, all I felt was peace. I could have just gone and wandered around the city for hours, aside from the fact that I was falling asleep on my feet.

Maybe if I live in New York I’d get used to it, but everything there just feels out of sorts to me. The city is ruthlessly efficient, which is sort of helpful and overhwelming. The New York subway is awesome for it’s reliability, frequency, convenience, and being open all night. It’s also confusing as hell until you internalize it. From the moment I stepped off the amtrak train I just sort of felt out of place. I felt the need to put on this veneer of don’t fuck with me. I also felt dirty. New York, all of New York, even central park, just feels dirty to me. I have no idea why. I’m not convinced it is actually dirtier than Boston, it just feels that way.

In Boston the air feels a little cleaner, as does everything else. The red line of the MBTA felt much cleaner than the New York subway. To make a fair comparison though, you have to factor in the Orange and Blue lines, as well as late night green line trains in to the MBTA, and given that, I think the New York subway is in far better condition. The only good line the MBTA has is the red line, I’ve been on quite a number of the lines in New York and they’ve all been pretty good. However, since I only have to really deal with the red line, to my sleepy self the MBTA appeared awesome by contrast. Everything just felt right being back.

I can see the appeal of NYC. I have a blast every time I visit it. I just don’t feel at home there. I’ve always felt at home here.

I’m not trying to be a Boston elitist. I don’t think Boston is awesome and NYC is somehow inferior. I think it’s a privilege to live in either city, and you need to live where you’re most comfortable and most excited to live.

I will continue to visit NYC and enjoy the hell out of it.

I guess I just love that dirty water,

- B

Posted in Personal.


One Response

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  1. grace says

    In the least trite way possible, I <3 NY. I love the energy of it and the endless enthusiasm and creativity, and for awhile I wanted to live there. I still might, I dunno.

    But a nice layer of "don't fuck with me" certainly helps a trip, lmty.



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