Hey, guys! Welcome to part two of my series: Every City Sucks. This week I take on the nightmare hellscape some of you call Manhattan.
I hope both of you reading this will tag along as I head BACK TO NEW YORK.
New York, New York, it’s a hell of a town!
You know, there aren’t very many places in this country that have the same mythical quality as New York City. I don’t know what it is, but Americans, subconsciously, for the most part, look at New York as a sort of Mecca, a cramped, stinky, overpriced, crime-ridden Mecca. People come far and wide to New York with stars in their eyes, hoping to make it big on Broadway or at NBC or the UN, and soon realize that New York is a shithole.
When that revelation dawns on them, they die on the inside. They move into the ghetto, take menial jobs, become bitter, and rush through life in an attempt to get to the grave sooner rather than later. These people are what I like to call “New Yorkers.”
My first brush with Big Apple came in May 2012. I was on my way to Massachusetts from Florida (that’s like going from Club Med to Ackswitz, for you history buffs), and the quickest way was to barrel right through the city.
This trip was done in one go, so I slept through most of everything between D.C. and N.Y.C., after having left strict orders to be awakened when we were close. When that time came, I opened my eyes and slammed my face against the window, more excited than a drunk on payday, and was slightly taken aback by what I saw. To the east of the highway, there was tall grass, a river, and what I hoped to God wasn’t Manhattan.
Oh, but it was.
To me, New York epitomizes the BIG CITY, so seeing that it wasn’t the size of God was a letdown, to say the least.
We went over the GWB (George Washington Bridge. I’ve been over it, so I can call it GWB. Unless you have too, use its government name, poser) and through the uppermost portion of the city. I wasn’t too happy that it took us twenty hours to cross the Hudson, nor was I especially thrilled that the toll was a million dollars, but I must admit: I was captivated as we drove over Harlem. You know all of those tenement buildings right under the highway? The ones you see in just about every movie about New York’s dark underbelly? Yeah, get this: they fucking exist. Who knew, right?
That’s pretty much it. I felt gyped, but I could now brag that I’d been to New York. Fuck you, bitches.
Then round two.
It was June 2012, one month later. On a road trip from Massachusetts to Ohio and back again, I and my chuffer suffered minor auto troubles, and were forced to rent a cheap motel room from some Indian douchebags on the Jersey side of the Hudson, so close you could smell New York’s armpits. We started off the next morning, and by noon we were emerging from the Lincoln Tunnel (Baby, can you dig your tunnel? It’s a righteous tunnel). All around us, New York towered. The buildings were massive, the sidewalks were crammed with people, and traffic moved so slow even Stephen Hawking could keep up.
“That’s what I’m talkin’ about!”
I was thrilled. I wanted to see the Empire State Building, Battery Park, 5th Ave, Little Italy, Lady Liberty.
Instead, we got promptly lost.
Now, here’s the thing about New York. People walk for a reason. I swear to God, it took us fifteen minutes to go a mile. And parking? Yeah, okay. We went around and around and around the damn WTC memorial site for what seemed like an eternity; by the time it was to our back, I was hoping the terrorists would get that one, too.
Next, two things happened simultaneously. I realized that I had to piss, like really piss, and Jeeves in the driver seat realized that we needed gas, like, really needed gas.
In a rural or suburban setting, getting gas is just a matter of pulling into a gas station. In Manhattan, it’s impossible. You might as well try to find a virgin in Queens. There are three fucking gas stations on that entire island. Three! And how many millions of people?
Anyway, we set off in search of a gas station and got hopelessly lost in Chinatown. I can’t recall much of it, because I was in the throes of agony; I had to piss so fucking bad; I was ready to leap out of the car and piss on a building.
Finally, I could stand it no longer. I fished a Coke bottle off the floor and did my business.
It got everywhere. My pants, my undies, the seat, my shirt…I think I even got some in my mouth. Basically, everywhere the bottle wasn’t.
About a month or two later, we finally got out of Chinatown, passed a few streets that looked eerily similar to Sesame Street, and found the sole gas station in Lower Manhattan.
I took another fat piss, paid for the gas, and grabbed two packs of Marlboro menthols. Twenty bucks. Not counting the gas.
Finally, drained and on the verge of tears, I ordered the driver to get me back to Massachusetts.
I fucking hate New York.