1. Dead or Asleep? This one is lots of fun early in the morning and is better with friends. Find a person who appears comatose and decide whether or not that person is deceased or just sleepy. Let’s be real though, no one wins if the person is deceased.
2. Find the Duracell Battery - You can exchange Duracell Battery for “rat” if you want an easier game, or “cell phone” if you want a more challenging one. While waiting on the train platform, choose the tracks on which your train will be arriving and look for a Duracell Battery. There may be more than one, but there is always at least one. The first one to find it, wins! (Or play alone, for personal gratification).
3. How Much Longer? - Self-explanatory (Bonus if you’re waiting on the G Train). Try to predict how many more precious moments of your life will be wasted because of “Train Traffic” or “Lost Signals.”
4. Will That Kid Catch the Hat during “Showtime!!!” - If you’ve ever ridden an MTA train, chances are good that 3-to-5 kids with a boom box have shouted “It’s showtime!” and started dancing and doing tricks. The best, most challenging trick involves having a hat on the shoe and kicking it behind the back and onto the head. I have yet to see a kid complete this trick, but I feel like they wouldn’t attempt it if it was completely impossible. Wagers start at 50 cents, but you can’t exchange money until they get off the train or else they’ll think you’re donating to their cause.
I think I’m going to be appending this list every so often to keep it interesting.
I’m admittedly a cheapskate when it comes to NYC transportation. I just don’t see the point in blowing $30 on a trip to midtown when it takes the same amount of time to just take the smelly train at the bargain-basement price of $2.50*.
But maybe sometimes you’re exhausted and you can’t bare the thought of standing with your bags in Grand Central with all of the humanity and all of their…fragrances… waiting for the 7 Train to arrive on the humid platform. Last night when I decided to splurge on a serene cab ride home, I knew it would be different. Upon entering the cab (that actually stopped for me, what?!), the cab driver offered me some homemade baklava that I would have taken him up on if I weren’t dieting for swimsuit season. We got to chatting, and he gave me these 5 ridiculously helpful wisdom bits:
1.” Once you live in NY for 1 full year, you’re officially a ‘New Yorker.’” You have to make it through some natural disasters, a never-ending winter, Christmas season, rush-hour traffic, overreactions, germs, language barriers et al. —12 months is the duration period of the sadistic hazing ritual that is the big city.
2. “If you drop something on the ground in NY, let it go.” Not big things, obviously, but if you lose a dollar or some change you absolutely should not pick it back up. He claims that (a) it will come back to you 10-fold and (b) the germs your item will have accrued in that transaction are not worth the risk.
3. “Don’t trust ANYONE who talks about how short life is.” To directly quote, “The older I get, the longer my life seems.” He is of the opinion that people use it as an excuse to do things they ought not do, under the false presumption that regrets don’t exist. This is part of the reason I’ve always been a little leery on the term “YOLO.” He says enjoy your life, but absolutely be smart about it.
4. “If you can, live near the water.” I think this goes without saying, but he went as far to explain how we’re all mostly just water, and how there’s nothing as calming, even if it’s just on the Hudson River or something. I’m game.
5. “Just enjoy the life.” This particular cab driver was an older, well-traveled, Yiddish man originally from the Ukraine. While discussing this abysmally sad winter, we talked about how beautiful St. Tropez is during Carnival, how soothing Aruba is year-round, and how San Francisco is where he’ll go to die. We started chatting about how balls-hot it is in NYC in the summer and how there are tourists everywhere when he sighed and simply said, “Just enjoy the life.” Sure, people stopping to take pictures of median-sized at best buildings is disruptive, but I live in New York Mutha F*%#ing City. I don’t have it so bad.
*at the time of this post, the MTA had just raised prices to $2.50. I’m sure it’s higher by at least 10x if you’re reading this even just a month after its original post date.
Everything smellsLike chicken feetOr cigarette buttsOr cigarette vaginasYeah,I said it.Vaginas.It smells like shit outsideAnd I don’t care if this is BushwickIT’S NOT AN EXCUSE.I did not move to New York CityTo be brokeAnd living in a stink womb.I did not move to New York CityFor this:February is hardFebruary is lonelyEven if you’re not alone.I recently changed the positioning of my bed in my bedroom to soak up a little more feng-shui. I moved my bed next to the window and it’s actually quite lovely. The first night I slept in the new arrangement, the moon shone light right by my pillow all Fievel in American Tail-like and I thought to myself Ah, yes, this is it.Then this morning, I woke to the putrid smell of a moist New York beneath an unhealthily depressing grey sky, and an article in the Huffington Post prizing our little NYC as the 10th most miserable city in America.Great. Happy Saturday. Congratulations. You pay too much for rent, too much for your career, and too much for f*ing peanut butter — all so that a “journalism-sort-of” news site can tell you that you brought this upon yourself.And yeah, okay. At least it’s not Detroit. And people talk about this all the time. Blahblahblahblah, new york is like an abusive boyfriend,Blahblahblahblah, it’s a love-hate relationship, blahblahblahblah, blah blah blah.My question is, WHY? No but really, why are we doing this to ourselves? And this is coming from someone who absolutely loves this city. I love everything about it including, I admit, the misery. I promote this city like it is some neat and unheard of dive bar with the best tater tots a human has ever tasted. But the reality is, there are hundreds and thousands of cities thatdid not make that top 10 list of miserable cities to live in. There are cities and towns with trees and blue skies and birds and people are happy and everybody is eating bagels and nobody is vegan or on a gluten-free diet. There are cities where more risks are being taken with art and music and performance and more space is available to actualize creative ideas. There are places where TIME is an actual thing that people have. Time to make art to make love to make dinner, even.There is no punch line to this post. And no, I am not moving to LA. I will continue to consider New York my home. But on this glum-drum Saturday, I just ask you, O reader, to consider a bit. And maybe let’s like, change the world, or paint some cool shit, or like join a food co-op or something and make New York worth living in despite the financial woes, polluted streets and…well…homicide rates. Til then, I leave you with this:
This post is everything. Although, I’m making it a mid-year resolution to fall back in love with this city, damn it.
Like the title of this amazing book, right now I Feel Relatively Neutral About New York. It’s a recent development brought on by excessively cold weather, limited sunlight, perpetual illness, and the feeling of never going fast enough. I know that the honeymoon phase is over, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy my time here. I’m a firm believer that we can shape our reality by simply being positive. There’s a lot of ways to get out of a rut, and here are just a few ways I’ve employed that have worked:
1. Go Out. Go to a bookstore. Go to a coffee shop. Go to Union Square. Go to a grocery store. Go to a park. Go to the alley between buildings. Go to work. Go sing karaoke. Go drink too much. Go to Times Square. Go live. Getting out of your head and onto the streets helps you forget that perpetual exhaustion and reminds you why you moved to a big city.
2. Take a Chance. I did improv for an audience on a Saturday night at UCBeast. I am decent at improv—that is to say that I am eagerly awaiting my next level courses so that I can one day say that I’m great at improv. But I didn’t mess anything up, and I was scared and bold and courageous and it woke up my tired bones and made me feel like trying was worth it. Maybe you should try to meet someone new or take a cooking class. Ya never know what might happen.
3. Take a Break. Sometimes you don’t want to go outside. You don’t want to participate and that’s fine—for a while. You can’t shut yourself out forever, but maybe you need a couple of days to organize your thoughts and to just relax. Buy a bottle of rose` and actually use your Netflix account. Don’t worry about the time you’re losing, you’re only going to attack the world at 100% if you feel at 100%, so maybe R&R is the way to go.
4. Call an old friend. I have a short-list of friends that just get me and who will entertain my moods. It’s always good to catch up, and they will probably make you laugh and smile, and forget why things are lame right now.
5. Eat yummy foods. Don’t just find foods that are bad for you, find delicious food that you can feel good about eating and enjoy it. If you buy it from a restaurant, resolve to learn how to cook it yourself. Eat. Pray. Love. that shit.
6. Make a List. List everything you’ve ever accomplished. Don’t feel big-headed for doing this, because it’s easy to forget that you’re awesome when you’re feeling displaced and uncomfortable. Start with the most recent things you can think of and just keep listing. Look at this list when you feel like comparing your life to someone else’s and realize that you’ve lived just as much as anyone.
I hope that helps. If you’re in a funk right now, I can’t wait til you get out of it, too!