I have a love-hate relationship with New York City. Let me just say that upfront.
Ever since I was a child, I was totally enamoured with Gotham. The gorgeous skyline, jaw-dropping skyscrapers and bright lights of Times Square endeared me to the big city in an unimaginable way. But, after a recent birthday trip to the city, I was left incredibly disappointed, overwhelmed and underwhelmed all at the same time.
Here are eight things I hate about New York City.
1. New York City Is Extremely Dirty
If dog poop, vomit, cigarette butts, bags of garbage, used needles and otherworldly rats appeal to you, then New York might be right up your pee-stained alley.
This city is dirty. Like really dirty. In fact, in 2018, NBC did a story on New York being the dirtiest city in the nation. But, there’s nothing like experiencing it for yourself. It’s almost unbelievable how a city could be so filthy, especially considering that it was ranked the second richest city in the world based on population, with $3 trillion in private wealth.
Walking through any street and sidewalk in Manhattan is like navigating landmines in Egypt. At any given moment you’re likely to step in faeces. Be it human or animal. Which brings me to my next point.
2. New York City Smells Horrible
The foulest stench is in the air. The funk of forty thousand years. If those lines sound familiar they should. Vincent Price said them at the end of Michael Jackson’s hit song, Thriller. Clearly Price used New York City as his muse. Although, personally, I would go a step further and double the years on the funk – minimum.
New York City smells some kind of terrible. It smells like a dirty mattress that has been pissed on three times a day for 16 years. The summer heat only adds to the scent, it’s almost as if it bakes it into the air.
On top of that, it reeks of faeces and garbage juice at all hours of the day. I was recently in New York City for my birthday. I stepped outside of my hotel early in the morning expecting to smell the morning dew. Instead, I smelled days old urine and bilgy water. I immediately returned indoors.
3. The Homeless Population Is Unbelievable
As far as I’m concerned, New York City was battling a pandemic long before Covid-19 arrived. It was homelessness. According to the Coalition for the Homeless, as of June 2021, there were 50,815 homeless people in municipal shelters. But, that doesn’t factor in the people who don’t stay at shelters, preferring instead to live on the streets.
It’s not uncommon to walk outside of a restaurant, hotel, high-rise condo or clothing store and see a homeless person sleeping near the entrance. On my trip last week, I saw men lying on the ground barefoot with nothing underneath them. I passed by two people whom I presume were sleeping. They were bundled up under dirty blankets. As I walked on by I thought to myself, what if that person is dead and we don’t even notice it.
It truly bothers me to see such wide financial disparities in New York City because many New Yorkers are extremely wealthy.
4. The City Is Overcrowded
In 2018, New York welcomed 65.2 million tourists. As one of the most recognisable places on planet earth with some of the most coveted tourist attractions in the US, it’s not hard to see why people worldwide would congregate here. Add the residents in the count and you’re dealing with a lot of people.
Most of those visitors who visit New York City pack into Times Square, Broadway, Coney Island SOHO and the Financial District, to name a few. It’s always packed. This is especially concerning, considering we are still in the throes of a major pandemic.
So, if you’re weirded out by lots of people, this is not the place for you.
5. Parking Is Expensive
If you decide to own a car in the city, or are looking to drive to New York City, prepare to shell out some big bucks for parking. It ain’t cheap.
I recently decided to drive into the city for my birthday and spent weeks in advance searching for inexpensive parking. One parking deck was charging $85 for a 24-hour stay with no in and out privileges and I was told the price could increase. Needless to say, I did not go with them.
I passed by several parking decks that were charging double digit figures for two hours worth of parking. What?! I thought Washington, DC’s parking decks were expensive. Sheesh.
6. New Yorkers Are Rude
This is well-documented and very self-explanatory. Moving on.
7. Customer Service Sucks
Let’s talk about how great the customer service in New York City is not.
In most cities, workers are taught to smile, be polite, be gracious to the customer and go above and beyond to make them feel welcome. New York City workers are a different breed. They learn from a different manual. In their manual, they’re taught not to smile or make eye contact and to only stare as a means of prompting the customer to order their damned meal. In their manual, they’re taught to curse out customers who ask simple questions or express displeasure with the lack of service and to suck their teeth every time a customer interrupts them from scrolling on their cell phone.
The only friendly faces I encountered was a worker at the Two Brothers pizzeria and the lovely staff at StayPineapple Hotel, where I stayed. (I will do a separate post on that later)
But, if you want polite, go to Greenville, South Carolina, which made Conde Nast Traveler’s 2020 list as one of the Friendliest Cities in the US.
8. Too Many Hustlers
Look, I get it. Everyone’s gotta make a living, and New Yorkers are no exception. But, their sales tactics are pushy and overwhelming. You literally cannot manoeuvre through the city without someone trying to get your attention and convince you to buy something.
But, I have a strategy that works. I don’t make eye contact ever and I don’t give verbal cues. My entire demeanour screams, leave me alone. That is the only way I am able to walk through New York City interrupted.
Lastly, I once heard a native New Yorker say, New York City is a place you can’t wait to leave, but can’t wait to go back to. But, after my latest visit, I’d have to disagree with the last statement because as it turns out, the Big Apple is nothing more than a big rotten apple core.
If anything, being there made me have a greater appreciation for my new home, Washington, DC. I literally could not wait to return to Chocolate City.
I hope my blog on the eight things I hate about New York City has opened your eyes to a lot of things. New York is a stunning city from afar. It has magnificent skyscrapers (probably to distract you from looking at the dirty ground) and it really has some amazing things to do.
I may eventually return, because in my heart I do love the little bugger. I just need the city to take a good bath before I come back.
This Bahamian Gyal