Tuesday, March 25, 2008

New York, I Love You, But I'm Also Kinda Broke

"Which is not at all to recommend against sticking it out, but simply to highlight the somewhat gloomy backdrop looming behind the gallery openings, the dinner parties, the skyline views, the strolls in the park. At the end of the day, it’s all a very tenuous business. And barring sudden and dramatic changes in the wage structure of your typical corporation, or an utter collapse of the city’s real estate market, eventually many of us are going to have to leave."

At least I'm not the only one. The newest L Magazine has an article that pretty much sums up what my life will be in five years. In case you don't want to read it because, I don't know, you don't like L Mag because Gawker makes fun of it, it says that the "middle class" of New York City have it a lot tougher than those making equal amounts of money in other parts of the country; between high rent and high prices for everything, it creates a difficult financial situation. The end of the article suggests that a lot of these struggling middle-class New Yorkers will eventually have to live the city.

Recently, my parents asked me what I want to do after college. I can't tell you what I'm getting for dinner tonight--let alone my life plan two years from now--but I've always seen myself staying in New York the rest of my life. Why would I leave this bustling city, filled with bars open until 4am and a welcoming gay community?

Money. Money is why I would leave. Things have gotten pretty tight in my family, and the fact that I still don't have a job certainly doesn't help things. I don't go out to dinner as much as I used to; I really don't have shopping money anymore; and even events like going to the movies require some degree of monetary compromise.

Is this the life I want? I'm an English major with a Creative Writing minor. Unless I magically write and publish a bestselling novel--or, you know, blow a governor--I can't see my financial status changing all that much. Even if/when I get a job, I'll be far from financially comfortable. And rent prices in New York are just going to keep climbing, and prices on food and drinks and clothes will of course always be astronomical. And last night, after reading that article, as I drifted off to sleep, I seriously gave thought to moving away.

Not during college, of course. I'm an NYU student, so it wouldn't make sense for me to live anywhere else. And of course, who knows where my life will be in two years (or even two weeks?) But would living in Hoboken be so bad? The PATH train runs to and from New York 24/7, so I could come to New York pretty much whenever I wanted. Rent would be lower. Grabbing an after-work drink at the bar would be cheaper. And far fewer obnoxious tourists, to boot.

Jess has told me that if I ever left New York she'd hate me for it; I wouldn't be a true "New Yorker." But what does that even mean? Do I want to be a New Yorker? Is this city really the be-all, end-all of culture and excitement? And if so, how much do I care about that? I hardly immerse myself in the culture of the town as it is--unless you count getting high and going to Olive Garden as cultural--and I don't know if I want to be a "New Yorker" because it's truly meant for me or just because it sounds cool.

What all this means is I need a fucking job. And for my money tree to start growing. I watered it twice yesterday--what's the holdup?



Jess and Josh said...

Is this city really the be-all, end-all of culture and excitement?

The answer: Yes.

And do you know why?

I'll give you just one reason: because your sources for this article, Gawker and L Magazine, cover only NYC news.

Most websites we both read are tailored to news primarily about Manhattan; sure another world exists out there, but who would want to take part in it when it's all right here?

Marshall said...

Thug it out 'til we get it right.