NYC decent into darkness

New York City is an interesting place. It changes people and not in the good way in most cases. I’ve noticed this in 2 ways in particular. First, a once-kind and loving person will descend into the dark side and hate people way more than they used to. Second, and I don’t know how I never noticed this before, but their wardrobe color palette will also quickly descend into black, white, or grey.

As I mentioned in my About section, I’ve lived in multiple cities now and have made friends  who were born and raised in other cities. Quite a few of those friends have moved to other places, including New York. Before moving to New York, they were all about meeting new people, being kind to strangers, and generally loving everyone. And then New York happened.  Now, they pretty much recoil in horror anytime a stranger tries to talk to them (because they’re usually asking for money or mentally ill) and are perfectly fine shoving someone out of the way if they have somewhere to be (because it’s crowded as heck and people have places to be). I’m reminded of the Sunscreen Song by Baz Luhrmann, where he advises people to live in New York once, but leave before it makes you hard. It seems to bring out the crazy in people. I’d say 90% of my friends are over New York now and know it. A few weeks ago when some of my northeast friends came to visit Chicago, we were buying some groceries for the weekend at my neighborhood grocery store and I turned to the lady behind me during checkout and we started chatting about our weekend plans. She was prepping for her son’s slumber party and only lived a few blocks away. I learned what soda brand is popular with the kids these days. When we had finished checking out, we exchanged goodbyes and went on our separate ways. The northeasterners were dumbfounded by what they just saw. They looked as if they had just seen chickens speaking Swahili to each other. We’re just friendly here in the Midwest.

When was the last time you saw Jay-Z where an article of clothing with color on it? Do a Google search. It’s ok, I’ll wait. He’s a native New Yorker so the answer is pretty much never. It seems to be the official uniform of the city. It’s especially noticeable with my friends who moved from Miami to NYC. Gone by the wayside are the splashes of neon anything or even the color green. The resounding response? Black is sophisticated and goes with everything. Which I completely true. I’m just amused that pretty much all my bros and broettes have all jammed the greyscale slider to the far right and have MAYBE one or two pops of color as accents to their outfits of the day. They often make this change without even realizing it. They do look sharp though. While at the MoMA (which has an awesome gift shop) to see the Matisse exhibit (which you should definitely go see), I noticed that everyone there looks beautiful – girls, guys, old people, everyone. They all looked like they should be in their own museum. Great style and perfect hair. And all with required uniform. I think I need to step up my game.

As a resident of the Second City, it’s fun to point out the differences between us and New York. But when all is said and done, I love visiting New York and will be back soon. After all, there’s an infinite number of things to do and see there. In the meantime, be excellent to each other and plan your summer trip to Chicago!

– Josh


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