Farewell My (So-Called) NYC Edge

How NYC has changed over the years. National September 11 Memorial.


Ten years ago I moved home to LA after living in New York City for almost six years. Transitioning to a life here in California was difficult. I didn’t want to give up my hard-earned skill sets which New Yorkers posses such as riding public transportation, walking (all the time), hailing a taxi, the hustle, bar/night life and even the sample sale battle moves. Admittedly, over these past years I have repeatedly been that annoying former New Yorker who always made somewhat obnoxious comparisons arguing New York City was far superior than LA. I was that annoying person who desperately wanted to ride LA city buses and subways to get around just to prove I didn’t need a car. I was that annoying person who complained about last call at 1:30am where in New York City, I could party to the sun came up.

Last weekend, I went back to NYC for a few days and realized that over these ten years away, the New York City I lived and New York City today is not quite the same place anymore. Although my years in NYC really shaped who I am today, I accept I’m no longer a 20-something year old with amazing metabolism, free to wander, drink and survive on Ritz crackers.

I Lost My Subway Skills

I used to know how to get around the city. I knew which trains to take, which transfers to make, which subway cars to sit in. Last weekend, a slow paced tourist in me surfaced. Appalling. I took forever trying to buy one Metrocard. I couldn’t figure out how to select an unlimited pass (and what the heck happened to the price of a subway ride over the last 10 years?!). I couldn’t figure out how to make a payment. I annoyed myself with my snail pace and confusion. I always complained about tourists who took too long at the Metrocard kiosk and then there I was acting like a newbie who never bought a train pass before.

I am NOT Down for Traffic and Gritty

When did the city get all these public chairs/table and form little parks? The city I knew didn’t have all these places to congregate so easily except maybe an actual full on park such as Madison Park or Union Square. While I love these mini parks, what a nightmare for car traffic! As a California driver who already can’t stand being in any amount of congestion, imagine mini parks and its residual effect scattered all over the place ruining your commute.

While it’s really cool to just sit in the middle of Herald Square bustle, I noticed how these areas attract an “interesting” congregation of characters and these areas get a little too grimey for me. I constantly found myself busting out my anti-bacterial soap to clean my hands. Note: My personal reflection bothers me because maybe a pristine suburban version of my self is slowly surfacing. Do I just want cookie cutter parks? Who am I turning into?

Taking a break and looking up in the middle of 34th Street hustle.

I Need Fancy Coffees

I guess I just need to accept I am one of these annoying persons that care about fancy expensive coffees. A 50cent coffee from a NYC coffee cart was all I really needed in my 20’s. A Dunkin Donut coffee (light and sweet) used to be a luxury on payday. Last weekend, I searched and searched for fancy pour over coffee; I missed Philz. I just don’t think Manhattan has as many excellent coffee shops as LA and my fancy ass needed a good coffee drink.

$10 Coffee Shake from Go Get Em Tiger. Worth it. New Yorkers need this in their life.

I Don’t Like Crowds.

Wow. Did Soho get even more crowded? Shopping isn’t fun when there are hundreds of people waiting to try on clothes or the line is 10 deep to pay for your purchases. I thought for sure when in the city I would take advantage of tax free shopping but I lost all patience once I saw the crowds. I didn’t buy one piece of clothing.

I Miss Pizza.

Nothing beats a good slice. No matter how I research and taste test here in LA, nothing comes close to a good NYC slice.

Every trip back I must have New Park pizza.

I treasure my years in NYC. During this time, I built my career, experienced love(s) and heartbreak(s), developed lasting friendships and opened myself to all possibilities. Transitioning to California was difficult because I thought I would lose some of my identity if I let go of my so-called NYC edge. It took me close to ten years to make new friends, explore different neighborhoods and give up some of my ego. This recent trip back to NYC made me realize that times have changed. I have changed. I can’t re-create late nights until the sun goes up likely because I’m older, more cost conscious and just simply tired.

While it may have took me ten years to reach this point, I’m okay bidding farewell to intense crowds and late nights and look forward to more full days enjoying all that LA sprawl has to offer.



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