Everyone hates New York City, even if it's just a little bit.
The crowds, the stench, the attitude — There's as much about this town to resent as there is to adore. Sometimes more, depending on the season.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall, I can think of at least a dozen reasons I want to punch New York City in the throat. Here are the first 10 that popped into my head this scorching July.
(And no, this won't be written in iambic pentameter.)
1. I yelled at a cab driver last week. Sure, it wasn't his fault I'd waited no less than 30 minutes to hail a taxi at 10 p.m. on a rainy Monday. But neither did he care. I'm a fan of Martin Scorsese, and therefore am aware of the magnitude of chewing out a cabbie. But when 13 months of pent up aggression at the men and women who pilot speeding yellow bullets through the city streets finally boils over, all bets are off.
Perhaps my summer reading project should tackle the Taxi and Limousine Commission rule book, which must prohibit drivers from changing direction or making two stops on opposite sides of Park Avenue. But what are you losing out on when the meter continues running, and your tip grows minute by minute?
It has become common practice for me to keep one foot on the pavement until I get the nod from the driver that my journey's end is acceptable. Or he asks me to navigate, following my phone's Google Maps directions and his newbie knowledge.
2. Tourists flock toward Times Square like a moth to a colorful and flashy flame. And aside from those New Yorkers unfortunate enough to have snagged a job in the area, city dwellers universally avoid the radius of Broadway to 7th and 42nd to 47th.
It's not that we don't appreciate the beating, singing, dancing soul of this city. It's that we hate people — a simple side-effect of living in New York. Tourists stopping at every crack in the sidewalk to snap photos of the Coca-Cola sign or point out the window bank that once served as Carson Daly's hosting platform. Pedophiliac costumed characters and the Naked Cowboy. Overcrowded stores and overcharging chain restaurants. (I actually saw a T.G.I. Friday's commercial disclaimer that prices are higher in Times Square and Hawaii.)
The only two reasons I venture into the heart of darkness: A visit to the TKTS line for discounted Broadway show tickets, and Ellen's Stardust Diner.
3. I'd have better luck finding food in the jungles of The Hunger Games arena than in just one city grocery store. And even if I could fill up my hand cart with everything I need for a few crock-pot meals, getting those goodies back to my apartment is no easy task.
Architects have a cruel sense of humor, building supermarkets down the block with aisles narrower than my bathtub and shelves emptier than the calories in a cronut. Or dropping an all-inclusive store into a crowded hub 15 minutes away by foot, or two packed subway stops, and then some.
4. If America is the great melting pot, then New York City is the fondue pot preparing dessert. Play a game of I Spy on any corner of any block, and within 15 minutes you'll spot almost every color, creed, nationality, sexual preference, shape, size, and level of sanity.
Still, in one of the most diverse and therefore culturally accepting cities in the country, if not the world, there is so much hatred. Hate crimes are reported every week, even recorded via cell phone on the Queens-bound F train. I just wonder sometimes: What's so funny about peace, love, and understanding?
5. At least once a week, the headlines of the free daily papers that coat subway platforms taunt riders with reminders of this city's depressingly high cost of living. No one moves here with the delusion that it will be easy to pay rent, buy groceries, do Happy Hour, and still see a Broadway show or visit a museum once a month.
But there is an expectation of sustainability: earning a sub-six-figure salary, fulfilling all of your financial responsibilities, and still hitting that wine bar for your friend's birthday celebration.
Not so fast, according to the New York Daily News: "Nearly one third of New Yorkers are 'severely burdened, by housing costs" (July 29, 2013).
6. Hipsters. 'Nuff said.
7. I've never missed vehicular traffic, until I moved here. The scorching hot summers, the snow-blown winters, and every day in between, makes me yearn for four doors (I'd even settle for two), an adjustable air conditioning/heating system, and butt-printed soft seats. Far away from uncomfortable exposed-skin grazing and wafting body odor, sauna-level underground platforms and awkward eye contact. The public-transportation commute may boast the occasional perk — save on gas money and car insurance, no chance of grand theft auto — but in the end, people generally frown upon caroling along to Phil Collins in the train.
8. In a year of wandering East Village sidewalks and shoving through Midtown crowds, I've dropped an entire pant size, just by being a pedestrian. A naturally fast-moving, often frustrated pedestrian. And until the city's public works department paints lane markings on footpaths, I'm really going to need slow pedestrians to move on outta my way. Walk like you drive, people — stay right, pass left.
9. Yankees fans: I'm Boston-born and briefly raised. This is self-explanatory.
10. But mostly I hate the way I don't hate New York. Not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all. My contempt for this city runs deep. But like the afternoon rainstorms that often plague my lunch hour, those moments become a fleeting thought immediately replaced by a vision of the Brooklyn skyline or a slice of authentic pizza.
Actually, it's pretty easy to rally when you realize your 18-year-old self would punch you in the throat for taking this city and this life for granted.
Stephanie Mlot writes a regular column for fredericknewspost.com.