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The Column

Goodbye, New York, Goodbye

Since I'm moving to Boston this weekend, this might be the last column I write from New York. I figured I’d use it to say thanks to the city that’s given me life, an identity, an appreciation for culture, and a scorching case of herpes.

I don’t really have herpes. But that’s only because I’m careful on the subway.

New York is, was, and always will be one of the dirtiest cities in America. Its citizens are rude, depraved, and egotistical, and constantly remind their non-New York friends of their inherent superiority. Especially if their friends are from Jersey.

Earlier this year, New Yorkers were faced with the most adversity they’d seen since that horrible stretch from 1991-1993 when they actually didn’t have a major sports team with a championship. And for a while, everyone in the city shared a special “we-shall-overcome” bond, and actually smiled when they passed each other. That lasted three weeks. By October, we’d fallen back into the “up-yours” swing of things that define us as a city.

Last week, a female friend from out of town passed some guy while jogging around the Central Park reservoir, so she instinctively said “hi.” A mile later, he had caught up to her, out of breath, and asked for her number. She explained that while he was 41, she was 20, and thus it would be a bad idea for them to date. So he said they didn’t have to “date,” they could just go to his place. This is why people do not say hi to each other in New York.

I’ve traveled a lot in the last few years, and seen most major cities in America. And despite most Big Appler’s claims to the contrary, almost all of them have something that New York doesn’t.

Atlanta, for instance, has roads. It also has thirty billion cars on each road, so going anywhere takes three years. But you can use your time in the car to contemplate life and come to a higher understanding of the universe.

Chicago has lovely fall weather. In August.

Las Vegas lets you do exactly 27 things that are both enjoyable and illegal anywhere else. One of them is losing all of the money you’ve ever thought you had, and some you hadn’t thought of yet. Another is hookers.

Philadelphia makes anyone from out of town feel safe instantly. In comparison to being in Philadelphia.

San Antonio is one of the better cities I’ve been to. The bars were packed with people, my cabbie talked to me about basketball, and strangers carried on conversations on the street. And I tanned just walking to the car.

Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is absolutely beautiful. Though it is unfortunate that the usable part of the city is only half a mile long.

Cleveland has a lovely airport.

Los Angeles has one of the greatest views I’ve ever seen. If you go to some of the Hollywood hills, looking down at the valley is incredible. And when the smog rolls in, it envelops everything, giving it that cool horror movie look.

Milwaukee has a ton of food. Everywhere. And everything is either fried, made of cheese, or comes with beer. The last day I was there, I had beer battered fried cheese. My small intestine has been on strike ever since.

New Orleans is always a party. Everyone is drunk, no one can stand up straight, and you should really try to leave before the cops get there.

But for all my time spent in other cities, I’ve never been in one for longer than a week. It is possible that I could move somewhere else and fall in love with that city, like I did with New York. Hell - if I could love this seventh ring of hell, I could learn to love anything.

But just when I was starting to contemplate staying here, I took the subway. The past few days, I’ve seen people shove each other out of the way for a seat, block the doors so that they could get a little more elbowroom (using it, of course, to elbow people) and beg for change while they count up the bills in their paper cup. I’ve taken the subway more than a thousand times, and I admit that I am sick of all of the boorish behavior. And the herpes.

So I say goodbye, New York. Goodbye to your $8 beers and your suggested donations at museums that are always mandatory. Goodbye to the city where downtown is downtown, uptown is midtown, and midtown is a different place depending on who you ask. Goodbye to the delivery guys who don’t have change, to the people who wear black every day of the summer, and to the cabbies who have never once tried to speak English. Goodbye, New York. Goodbye to it all.

I’m going to miss you.

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