Have you ever read something that made you want to clap? Like, literally stand up and clap. That’s how I felt after I read this take on the New York Times’ recent article about what it takes to be middle class in New York. Check it out, it’s definitely worth a read.
After I read the NYTimes’ article I couldn’t help but wonder what it was that pissed me off about it. In many ways it empathizes with my constant annoyance of how damn expensive this city is. NYC exists as its own little bubble of reality. Things don’t always make sense here when you take into consideration the cost of everywhere else- homes, food, movies, haircuts… But, when you live here you form your own little reality of what life costs.
For three generations my family (on both my mother and father’s side) have made it work here. For almost 100 years they have all considered themselves middle class- even though the New York Times and their bloated statistics may disagree. We may not have had our own bedrooms, a house with a pool, a 2-car garage, or a ton of space, but, frankly, these were never things we really thought we needed. We had family vacations, great public school educations, dinner on the table every night, new back-to-school clothes every year, summer camp, and birthday presents.
One of my favorite memes
Not to sugar coat New York. It isn't for absolutely everyone. Living here can be tough. Living here your whole life will make you a loudmouth. It will turn you a little hard and cynical. You will get pushed around and yelled at for no reason. This city will make you tired. It will give you the urge to get into fights with people who cut you on lines. You will see things you never want to see again, and get angrier than you thought possible. But there will be good days too, and you'll be reminded of that famous John Updike quote, "The true New Yorker secretly believes that people living anywhere else have to be, in some sense, kidding."
As much as I whine about New York, I’m tired of people saying it’s impossible to stay here forever, implausible to raise a family, crazy to sacrifice space for sanity. I'm over hearing we should all, “give up the dream.” Frankly, New York is not my dream. It’s my home. There’s a difference. There’s no fall back plan for me. If life and work leads me somewhere new, maybe I’ll give it a shot and take a breather from the constantly delayed subway trains and crazy homeless people who curse at me for no reason. It won't matter where I land... New York will always be my home.