Rites of Passage in NYC

It’s funny how you tell yourself you will avoid some of the rites of passage that people go through from living in NYC, thinking you of all people will be impervious to them, and then, before you know it, you realize you have succumbed…

When you first move to NYC, one of the first things you notice is that people walking on the streets don’t look at or greet each other, let alone smile. 

You think to yourself, I will look at people’s eyes, I will say hello, I will make them all smile, I will single-handedly transform NYC into the friendliest of cities. 

And you experiment for the first year or two, even if people think you are crazy – or can tell you are just new.

Then somewhere along the way, it just happens, gradually, till you stop staring into the walker-by’s eyes with a smile.  It’s not that you are rude or mean.  You just go about your business.

You get to NYC thinking you will always have time for everyone, you will always be polite and open doors and be relaxed.  But 15 years later, you are always in a rush, and you sometimes catch yourself in your own bubble.


Then there is NY REAL ESTATE.  Reading the Real Estate Section in the NY Times is a sport in NYC, and everyone talks about it.  Yet you think you will avoid it altogether and won’t be bothered with such obsessions. 

Alas, one day you find yourself reading the Real Estate section, following the market, wondering when it will adjust, becoming an "expert" in square footage, valuations, and all sorts of trends and considerations.  Eventually you are drawn like a magnet to any new piece of input on the real estate.


And then there is the Wall Street Journal, though more than a NY thing, this is more a rite of passage from youth I guess (and regret).  When I was in college, and even during law school, reading the Wall Street Journal was such a bore, while the NYT was so fascinating.  WSJ was numbers.  NYT was people.  WSJ was dry.  NYT was passion. 

I don’t know if it’s that the NYT has gone so down editorially and the WSJ has improved so much, or that as you get older your way of thinking changes, or that the WSJ is more sophisticated or complex, but something about the NYT increasingly bores me, and I find the WSJ far more stimulating…

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