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Peter Pan in Manhattan

2003-11-03 17:05:33.388456+00 by Dan Lyke 7 comments

This rave about Manhattan nails why I don't like it:

But, what they've missed is that living in NYC is the pre-eminent Peter Pan lifestyle. It is the ultimate my-parents-are-out-of-town-lets-have-a-big-kegger kind of existence. In The Big Apple, being single and owning little of value allows you to extend your adolescence indefinitely. Some may call this existence shallow. Others may call it vapid, immature, and pointless. But you're all just jealous because I?m having more fun than you.

Manhattan is that for all of the cheerleaders and jocks. The Bay Area has a little more for the goths and the geeks and the weirdos who spent all their time in the art room.

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comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: Peter Pan in Manhattan made: 2003-11-03 18:29:23.117686+00 by: bunni

I have to disagree with both Smitten and yourself about the true beauty of New York. I can see where her post came from, and mainly she is celebrating how unconventional paths, and time lines, are more accepted. My students feel extremely rushed, they often obsess about what kind of career they are going to have before they even get into college. In New York, one has the luxury of understanding that this is a process, there is no need to rush towards a result.

Smittens comments also reflect the area where she and I live, the Upper East Side, which is a haven for 30-40 former frat boys to try and extend their college kegger years. Down in the Village, where I work, there are more than enough goths, skaters, and punks ( I mean the REAL punks, not those I bought the official punk kit punks)so many that we can't even penn them up, we have to let them roam free, like the buffalo.

For me, the true beauty of New York is this is one of the few places I can blend in and not be constantly harassed. I am four foot six girl, and in the other places I have lived, I have been relentlessly hassled by questions, stares, and comments. In New York, if people look, it's generally because they appreciate living in a place with such diversity. And people here, for all that talk about the rudeness of New Yorkers, have rarely commented on my size, and they never ask questions.

#Comment Re: Peter Pan in Manhattan made: 2003-11-03 20:49:29.681999+00 by: Dan Lyke

I've had two visits recently, although the only one where I did anything but JFK->hotel->office->JFK was for a week last winter, so I'm obviously working off of incomplete information, but...

There are some cities where I can visit with no planning, and end up being whisked from one adventure to another, chatting with someone in this gallery leads me off to visit that store which leads me to a conversation that drops me in some performance...

Manhattan was exactly the opposite. We'd go to a show, talk to a few people, and find that we really should have just muscled through the crowd and talked with the performers. We'd drop into a store and find that as far as they knew they were the most of whatever vibe we were looking for, and yes, they acknowledged that they weren't strong in that vibe. True, we liked the Village best, but overall we had a feeling of a town with a somewhat forced and borrowed counterculture, with people showing up because it was cool to do something, not because they had a strong genuine interest. Maybe some of that was comparing it with the glory days of visiting back in the '80s, pre-internet, when bookstores and magazine shops meant something.

Of course we didn't know about Lucky Chengs, so we might have to go back.

And I can't speak to size, I'm average in almost[1] every way. Well, except for facial hair. But when I first read your "four foot six" somehow my mind twisted it into "six foot six" and I was thinking "that'll only get you noticed out here if you don't have a deep husky voice and melodramatic mannerisms...".

[1] Re: "almost": snicker... Not safe for work, may cause fainting in small children and impressionable adults, and in the interests of full-disclosure I have to say definitely a trick of the lighting.

#Comment Re: Peter Pan in Manhattan made: 2003-11-03 21:37:25.35659+00 by: bunni

I have to ask where you did go in manhattan (Chelsea? Broadway? Alphabet City?), but then I've been living here for ten years so I have a fairly good idea of where to go and what places to avoid and if you like Lucky Cheng's, you might also take a peek at Stingy Lulu's.

#Comment Re: Peter Pan in Manhattan made: 2003-11-03 22:35:26.720656+00 by: Dan Lyke

We did a lot of wandering around down in the Greenwhich Village area, visited some folks up on that area of the east side at the south end of Central Park. Last time I was there I had dinner with a coworker over in Hell's Kitchen, and that seemed like a fun neighborhood from a people-watching perspective.

And my observations are totally about the "I just didn't click with this city" sense of things. There are some places I fall in love with, some I don't, and I don't pretend that one size fits all people or that my social group is the right one, it's just the one I happen to get along with.

#Comment Re: Peter Pan in Manhattan made: 2003-11-04 16:41:53.142254+00 by: other_todd

I learned to love Manhattan (and I'm learning to love parts of Brooklyn). I think the freak culture in SF is both more pronounced and more overt - there are fewer parts of NYC where I'd feel completely okay walking down the street in a dress - but the charms are there and they reward searching. Mind you, you must be okay with crowds, particularly if you enjoy wandering Chinatown where the sidewalk density is about five humans per square inch. I did not get the impression, on my lone visit, that the Bay Area was packed nearly that full. After a couple of days in NYC I need to go someplace where there is lots of open space.

One problem with both SF and NYC is that any places which have something good and unusual and off the beaten path quickly become hugely oversubscribed and you can no longer get in there without a miracle. This is especially true in Manhattan real estate where a small restaurant seats about ten and a small clothing or book store has an occupancy limit not much higher.

(In Boston we have the opposite problem. We love our beloved, quirky establishments so much that we don't show up and they close due to lack of business.)

By the by, I was told by the Manhattan locals that Lucky Cheng's was strictly the Disney-tourism drag show and was to be avoided with the same zeal one dodges a Rainforest Cafe.

#Comment Re: Peter Pan in Manhattan made: 2003-11-07 03:54:04.905502+00 by: Rose [edit history]

I'm certainly no cheerleader nor jock, and I love living in NYC. I live in Brooklyn, not Manhattan, but I get there several times a week. New York feels *extremely* arty to me -- I get together with Church of Craft (http://www.churchofcraft.org) folks 2-3 times a month, and there are always arty/crafty/weirdo events to go to associated with the Flux Factory (http://www.fluxfactory.org/), or the Madagascar Institute (http://www.madagascarinstitute.com/), or just private events. Maybe in New York you have to know someone to go to cool things? But I swear I don't know anyone "special" -- I just showed up and found cool people everywhere I looked!

One part of the "Peter Pan" thing that does ring true for me, though: it's perfectly normal here to rent all your life (instead of owning a house) and to never have children. So it's easy to Never Grow Up and have that be perfectly socially acceptable.

#Comment Re: Peter Pan in Manhattan made: 2003-11-07 16:56:26.873854+00 by: Dan Lyke

The more I hear about such gatherings, the more I realize its about how we make social connections...