You’d think a city that houses eight million people in five boroughs, compressed into 305 square miles would have just about everything a person might need. Hell, we have a park that stretches more than 50 city blocks, a statue of a bull with massive testicles made out of brass, a mayor who’s about seven feet tall who keeps schools open during blizzards, and the Statue of motherfucking Liberty, but there are still a ton of things that are hard, even impossible, to find in the greatest city in the world. For the record, bagels and pizza are two items that aren’t on that list. We have you beat on those, rest of the world.
1. Chain Restaurants
Say you want to conquer the new Meat Mountain at Arby’s. You figure you can just hop on the subway to the closest Arby’s. Well, guess what? There are none in Manhattan. The closest one is an hour-long subway ride away in Queens, which, yes, is a part of the city for those of you who only consider New York City to mean “Manhattan.” Still, it’s not exactly convenient. If you have a hankering for some Chick-fIl-A, there’s only one in New York, and I think it’s actually in an NYU cafeteria, so you may have to be a student to eat there. Your best bet is to go to one in New Jersey. Sonic? Same deal–closest one is in Jersey. Close, but no cigar. Plus, Jimmy John’s doesn’t even exist in downstate New York.
The other bad part about New York City chain restaurant locations is that even if you find one, the promotions are usually completely different from what they have at locations OUTSIDE of the five boroughs. For example, last year I went to a Manhattan IHOP to get all-you-can-eat pancakes, and when I asked for them, they had no fucking clue what I was talking about. If that happened to me during Olive Garden’s “never-ending pasta bowl,” I would’ve shoved my Unlimited Pasta Pass up their asses.
2. Drug Dealers
Now, I am not a person who does drugs by any stretch of the imagination, nor do I advocate the consumption of any illegal substances, but from WHAT I HAVE HEARD FROM FRIENDS WHO DO SUCH THINGS, there is allegedly a magical network of pot dealers on bikes who come straight to your apartment and deliver drugs to you like a damn pizza. And that’s an amazing thing…if you can find one.
It’s a hard thing to find in New York, surprisingly. It’s not like you can go behind any random gas station or high school and find someone who will sell you weed. It’s not like you can Yelp a drug dealer or order them on Seamless. Shit, even if you go to Craigslist and respond to an ad, more likely than not, it’s a sting operation by the NYPD, who are too busy busting you for smoking pot rather than actually fighting real crimes, such as their racial profiling operation known as “stop and frisk.” Basically, at any given time while living in New York, you’ll text everyone you know in your neighborhood, “You got a guy?” It’s a circle of confusion until you find one, and even then, you’re only covered until your dealer gets busted or changes his number because “the fuzz” is onto him. But, again, I’m only getting this information secondhand, so what do I know?
3. A Good Doctor
For a city that has hundreds of hospitals, some of which are considered the best in the world, along with thousands upon thousands of doctors, one of the hardest things to find is actually a doctor who you like, with convenient hours, in a convenient location, who you can actually afford and also takes your insurance.
Yes, this is true of other places as well, but there’s not more of an anger-inducing feeling than walking past a doctor’s office on your block every day, knowing that this doctor is only in on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., while most normal people are working. He has late office hours, but only at his Brooklyn office, which is easily a 45-minute train ride from both your office and your apartment. Sadly, you’re better off just going to the 24-hour urgent care and getting half-treated.
4. A Favorite Bar
“How I Met Your Mother” lied to us. There is no such place as McLaren’s, where you and all your friends can sit in the same booth week in and week out and whine about your love lives. They just don’t fucking exist. Every bar in New York City is overcrowded pretty much all the time. Forget about having a “favorite booth,” because you might not even be able to get in on some nights.
What will more likely than not happen is you’ll have a rotation of bars, depending on what neighborhood you’re in and what night of the week it is. Like, “Oh yeah, we can go to ABC Bar tonight because it has free karaoke, but we better not go to Bar XYZ because it’s probably packed with people getting off work, and I-Bar has a $10 cover. Fuck that noise.”
If you’re the kind of person who can move into a major metropolitan area and make a bajillion friends in a week, or if you already have an established base of friends who live in the city and you have more and more coming in as they graduate college, relocate, or find new jobs, great for you.
But if you’re a more introverted person and you find yourself getting lost beneath the hustle and bustle of the greatest city in the world, then you may have some difficulty meeting people. Thanks to workplace friendships, fantastic Internet apps like Tinder, social media groups, and random other “real life” groups that get people together like those annoying kickball leagues nobody shuts the fuck up about, it’s easier to meet people than ever before. But unless you’re willing to take the first step and actually do it, you’ll end up going straight from work to your apartment, heat up a Lean Cuisine, and watch “Chopped” on Netflix by yourself until you fall asleep.