I have never been more excited to live in New York City than I am right now in 2020.
Yes, you read that correctly. Am I delusional? Debatable.
“The city’s just not the same”
“I ended my lease – I might come back when it’s better”
“Going back to my parent’s just seems like the right move right now”
These are the sentiments my friends and fellow New York inhabitants have said recently. Hell, I even left for a couple of months when it all started. I get it, and you’re right, New York’s not the same. I miss the days when I could shake my ass to Cardi B until 4 AM at an overpriced club- COVID raw dogged our city and ripped us a new a$$hole. I sympathize with your pain, understand your rationale, and agree that leaving the city is the right choice for you. As you pack up and leave, I offer you a heartfelt sentiment of my own as a sendoff:
Good. F!cking. Riddance.
I’m going to get some heat for that one, but let me explain. For probably the first time in our city’s history, we have New York all to ourselves – the fakes that posed as New Yorkers ran away when they could no longer Instagram their night out at 1OAK, middle America tourists no longer clog the avenues of Midtown, and the quiet neighborhoods where New Yorkers actually live have now become the most poppin’ areas to get a drink out.
There’s a beauty about stripping things down to its core. Yes, many people have left, the city is sometimes eerily quiet, and we may need to rebrand our “city that never sleeps” slogan, but that’s the exciting part: the opportunity to rebrand. Our tribe may be fewer in numbers now, but the ones that are left are here because we fucking love this dirty ass rat-infested concrete dumpster and know from the pits of our bodega bacon-egg-and-cheese filled stomachs that New York is and will remain the greatest city on Earth. And we’re going to be the people that make it happen. Whether you’re a Wall Street banker or a Duane Reade cashier, we’re all assuming the role of architect as we collectively decide, design, and rebuild how we want our new and improved city to look.
A lot of these changes are already happening- once wildly crowded Times Square and Meatpacking District? Ghost towns. Once tame and sleepy independent restaurants uptown off 2nd Avenue in Yorkville? Might as well call it Mardi Gras. These little decisions us remaining New Yorkers are making every day, like where we want to spend our time and money after work, are redefining what New York City and New Yorkers are all about.
Don’t get me wrong, my love for New York has always run deep, but I felt like we had become a bit like a giant Corporate America company that had too many people, too many old ways of doing things, and not much of a shot at radically shaking things up.
We’re back to being a startup, with a team of ambitious starry-eyed trailblazers who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. We absolutely could easily fuck this up, but if there’s one thing I can look anyone dead in the eye and say without question is this: New Yorkers are the smartest humans on the planet. It’s a damn good time to live in New York.