Saturday, May 18, 2013

I Loathe New York

Ok, not loathe, not really, but we're coming up on our one year anniversary living here, and it's made me think a lot about it. We'll be here for the foreseeable future for CodeMonkey's career, so I'm accepting this with the best grace I can muster, but it's a trying place to live, if you want to build financial security.

There's All These Rich People
Living in New York, particularly Manhattan, is something of a luxury good, and whole industries have sprung up to cater to those with money. The best of every luxury good is available here, should you want it. When we lived in the Albany area, the whole culture was much more middle-class, and so you were never tempted by high end items, because they simply weren't for sale locally.

You Need More Willpower
This brings me to my second gripe--because of the high population density, you see and must turn down more tempting things. When CodeMonkey and I drove to work Upstate, we'd pass (and have to resist) one Starbucks en route. These days, I pass one in Flushing and five in Manhattan when going to work. There's a Starbucks across the street from my office, which is not helping me resist $5 high-sugar drinks. Willpower is a muscle that wears out like any other, and I find myself pushing its limits on a regular basis.

We're downsizing to a studio this summer, because with CodeMonkey's current career transition, we need to reduce our spending to keep meeting our goals. I'm not particularly looking forward to paying a small fortune to live in a shoebox, and I suspect we'll end up living with a baby in a tiny space too. I long for the reasonably-priced three bedroom apartment we shared in Albany.

I grew up in the middle of the woods. The lack of trees and overabundance of people makes me vaguely panicky.

That being said, there are things I really love:

Neither CodeMonkey nor I adapted well to driving, and we're much better off taking the subway. This helps balance out the exorbitant rent. We've both been steadily losing weight because of all the walking we're doing.

More Opportunities
Within six months Upstate, CodeMonkey was running out of musical opportunities. While he enjoyed showing up and immediately getting plum positions, there were limited opportunities for growth. Likewise, I worked for the only company in my field; in the city there are many, many more opportunities for both of our careers. In general, we're both finding there's as much work as we have time for.

Quality of Life
I love that I can walk to a half dozen Chinese groceries, instead of driving thirty minutes to the only one in the region. I enjoy the wide variety of ethnic food in my neighborhood. I like that I can go to a different knitting group every night of the week, if I want. That being said, all that eating out does add up!

If I wasn't married to CodeMonkey, I don't think I'd have moved here on my own, but it's not that bad on the whole.


  1. I've always hated New York, too. I avoid work trips there as much as possible. The crowds and the grime are what get me. I walk around and somehow end up filthy by the end of the day. And not the "I've been sitting in the park and have a grass stain" kind of filthy, the "I have no idea what this is on me or how it got there" kind of filthy. =(

    I work in a very money-d area as well so leaving my office for a break at lunch I have two options on foot. 1- a nature path, or 2- an insanely expensive mall. I choose nature most of the time. Unless I need wifi!

    1. When I moved to New York, I suddenly had to start washing my hair daily and my clothes after each wearing because of the grime. We moved here in July, which is the worst time to get to know the city; the heaps of rotting garbage stink to high heaven and make you feel slimy just passing them.

      I work on Park Avenue. 'nuff said. I usually go out and walk around the city on my lunch hour to stretch my legs.

  2. Hi!

    I'm working on a post about people who have hacked their lives to do something unconventional. I like Codemonkey's story about just working enough to support his piano habit and would like to feature this as part of my post. Would you be willing to do a short writeup about this (100-300 words would be great)? You can contact me through the contact form at my site ( or shoot me an email: mr1500 at 1500days dot com.

    Sorry to get a hold of you this way, but I couldn't find another way to contact you.

    -Mr. 1500

  3. Can you move to another city that also have opportunities for your husband? If he's in music (I think I read that he plays the piano), how about somewhere on the West Coast? LA and SF both have decent music scenes.

    1. He's in musical theater, and NYC is really the place for that unfortunately. We're here for the foreseeable future as a result. I'll adjust eventually.