Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Boston vs. NYC
I love Boston. I should clear this up now, you know, before I go on and bash it here.
I lived in Boston (or more specifically, Chestnut Hill and Brighton) from the fall of ’97 until the spring of ’01 when I went to Boston College. And it really is a great city. There’s just something about it – it’s small, yet cosmopolitan; it’s a great sports town; there are a lot of beautiful women; it’s got a very comfortable feel to it that’s hard to describe.
But if there’s one thing that I learned this weekend it’s that I’m officially becoming a New Yorker. With all due respect to Boston and my hometown of Philadelphia, which will always be #1 in my book (in the same way that my first-born son, though retarded, will always be my #1), New York is the greatest city in the world. It’s really that simple.
And I learned this more than ever this weekend in Boston. Below are five quick reasons why NYC is better than Boston (and Bostonians, remember: I love Boston. Seriously. So don’t send me any mean emails. I just haven’t got time for the pain).
I have never been maced in New York City. On Friday night, I got into Boston at about 10:15, and shortly thereafter my friends and I went to party. The party was fine – standing around, drinking beer, talking to a drunk Russian guy who I’m pretty sure was hoping to kiss me, ogling women, thinking about talking to women, not talking to women, getting scared when having to talk to women in the bathroom line, etc. Standard, really.
The party was in Cambridge and my friends live in Dorchester, so we had to take a cab home (more on this later). We split into two cabs, so my buddy Joe and I shared one. Our cabbie was an Arab guy who was VERY angry. I’m not saying that all Arabs are angry – hey, I love the Arabs just as much as the next guy – but this particular Arab guy was very upset and while talking into his phone said “fuck” about 850 times.
Because he was wrapped up in his cursing, he missed our exit. I can’t remember the specifics because I was pretty messed up, but it took a LONG time for us to turn around. Anyway, because he missed the exit, he stopped the meter, and having to do this made him even more upset. This anger manifested itself in his driving, as he was doing 60mph through tiny (and not so tiny) winding Boston streets.
While speeding through the streets, our cabbie almost accidentally ran over a group of Asian kids. Actually, I'm not sure if the word "accidentally" applies here, because under oath I might have to admit that it looked pretty intentional. So as the cab speeds past these Asian kids who are diving out of the way, one of them karate kicks the cab (I swear to god I'm not making this up - I'm not this creative).
The cabbie, hearing the thump of the kick, drives the cab maybe twenty feet before stopping it and getting out, and starts to go after the Asian kids (there are maybe four or five of them, about 22 years-old). The Asian kids see the cabbie yelling and coming after them, so they run at him. He dives back in the cab and closes the door, calling over his radio for the cops to come as the Asian kids stand outside the cab karate-kicking its doors and trying to punch in the window.
Meanwhile, my buddy Joe and I are in the backseat, drunk out of our minds, in hysterics. We see these nerdy looking Asian kids doing ninja moves on the fucking cab, while this angry Arab driver screams in a thick accent, "You mother fuckers! You mother fuckers!" and is calling for police over his radio. Comedy gold.
After a few seconds the Asian kids back away, and it looks like it'll all be over in a few seconds. However, the cabbie gets out of the cab and screams after the kids (again, in a thick accent), "Hey faggots! Yes - you faggots!" The Asian kids then come running back and the cabbie runs to get back in the cab. Just as he's trying to close his door, one of the Asian kids pulls a can of mace out of his jacket pocket and maces the SHIT out of the cabbie. I mean, the mace looked like water pouring out of a fire hose, and it must have been going for a good four or five seconds, right in this guy's fucking face.
[And really, what 20-something guy carries mace? What a pussy.]
So now Joe and I are screaming, laughing, with tears running down our eyes (two things to remember: we're wasted and this is happening in the middle of a busy downtown Boston street). I don't think I need to explain why. As the Asians scamper away, the cabbie, hunched over and coughing, puts the cab in drive and starts driving after the Asians. At this point I think to myself, "This is never going to end - and I fucking love it."
Suddenly though, I feel a little tingle in my lungs. I start coughing a little, as does Joe. Then the tingle turns to a burn, then the burn turns to "HOLY FUCKING SHIT SOMEONE LIT A GARBAGE FIRE IN MY LUNGS!" Joe and I each push open our doors and stumble out of the slowly moving cab, falling to the ground and rolling away. Lying on the street, I can still see the cabbie hunched over at the wheel, driving crookedly after the Asian kids, who are now starting to disappear down side streets and alleys.
Though it burns like a mother fucker, Joe and I are still laughing. Tears are still pouring down our faces, though at this point it may be because of the mace. It takes us a good five-ten minutes to recover while walking away from the scene, and finally we get another cab and make it home.
Now I have been out and about in New York City, and in many cabs with angry, crazy-driving Arab cabbies, but never while in NYC have I been (partially) maced. NYC 1, Boston 0.
(I promise the next reasons will be much shorter. It’s not every day that you see a gang of Asian youths mace your middle-aged Arab cab driver and so I wanted to share, because I want to share everything with you – everything. Yes [pointing to my crotch], even this.)
Last call is at 1:30am. This is a big downer for me. Often in NYC, I don't even leave my apartment until after midnight, when I've had the proper amount of time to enjoy a bacon pizza and a liter of vodka and poop at least twice. Sure, maybe this is the reason why I don't do so well with women I meet in bars - because my eyes are at least partially closed when I talk to them and all I can think about is the delicious bacon pizza waiting for me at home and how bad I have to piss. But on this past Saturday night, my friends and I were drinking and at 9:30 I heard, "Alright, everyone should finish up because we really need to get to the bar."
Go out at 9:30? What the fuck? Entirely unacceptable. After 1:30, you can't get a drink in Boston. Bars in NYC close at 4am. NYC 2, Boston 0.
The public transportation system sucks. Just about every week I bitch about the NYC subway system. It's gotten to the point that I have a terrible commute so often that I've stopped writing about it, because I have something to complain about every 3 days (like this morning: one hour, five minutes to work).
However, say what you want about the NYC subway, but at least it's running 24 hours a day. The Boston's "T" stops running around 1am. And the bars closes at 2am. So have fun getting home, jerkoff.
However, since NYC's system sucks in itself, we can't award a full point here: NYC 2.5, Boston 0
Boston is so damn sprawling. NYC is a big city, but it's fairly manageable. It's made up of the five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island. And the streets in Manhattan are numbered (for the most part). Even if you've never been to the city before, if you're at 23rd & 2nd you can pretty easily figure out how to get to 66th & 5th. And I always like to say that if you're in Union Square or Times Square, you are a $10 cab ride from anything you could ever possibly want (baklava, cocaine, stuffed animals, hookers, a sporting goods store, etc), 24 hours a day.
Boston, on the other hand, does not work that way. First, Boston proper is very small, and none of my friends live there. Instead, they live north, south, and west of the city in places like Southie, Dorchester, Somerville, Brighton, and Cambridge.
This makes getting around a real pain in the ass, especially when the bars close. Like I mentioned, the T stops at 1am. And, unlike NYC, cabbies in Boston have the right to refuse passengers based on where they're going. For example, when you stumble out of a bar at 3:30 in the morning and you need to get to Brooklyn for a terrible BJ from the fat chick you're hooking up with at work on the sly, you're cabbie has to take you there. For them to refuse to because you live in Brooklyn is a violation (I know this for a fact - I threatened to report at least three cabbies a weekend my first year in NYC when I lived in Brooklyn).
Boston cabbies can refuse service based on location. The result is that you can flag down several cabs before one finally agrees to take you where you need to go. And by that point you're so drunk and grateful to the cabbie who does decide to take you back to Dorchester that when he asks if he can come up to your place to take a couple of pictures, you acquiesce because it's freezing out and you're so glad to be going home. And when he starts running his hand through your hair when you're sitting on the couch, you let that slide too; as he reminds you, he didn't have to bring you all the way back to Dorchester - he knew you were special. And, long story short, when you wake up the next day walking funny and feeling dirty, you have no one to blame but yourself and the fact that if the damn city wasn't so damn sprawling you wouldn't have this problem in the first place.
NYC 3.5, Boston 0.
Everything closes early. When my friends who don't live in NYC ask me if I like living here, I usually say, "I'll put it this way: the McDonald's delivers 24 hours a day. So yes. I like it very, very much."
And boy, does living in New York City spoil you in this respect. At any time of day, if I want onion rings, I can have them delivered to me. If it's 3:15am on a Sunday and I have a hankering for pierogies and a vanilla milkshake, 30 minutes later they will appear at my door. If it's 1:30 in the morning on a Tuesday and I decided to have a little Jason Party in my apartment and get shit-housed by myself and I run out of beer, I can make a quick run to any of the five bodegas in a two block radius and pick up a six pack of my choosing. And god damn do I love it.
Not so in Boston. Beer isn't sold in bodegas and only recently did the entire state of Massachusetts allow beer to be sold on Sundays (now package stores are open from about 12-5 on Sundays). If you plan on getting drunk and you want a pizza when you get home, you'd better be in by midnight, because that's when most places close. After that, you're rooting through the kitchen cabinets making sandwiches of hamburger buns and processed cheese slices (which were surprisingly delicious).
Final score: NYC 4.5, Boston 0.
But still, as I mentioned, I love Boston. It's just that now that I live in NYC, I love Boston a little differently. It's like when you're in high school and you're dating a girl and you think you two are going to be together forever. Then you go away to college and meet a new girl who totally blows your mind and you break up with your high school girlfriend (but still stay friends with her). Meanwhile, you're madly in love with the new girl, even if she is really high maintenance and makes you spend all sorts of money on her. And occasionally you'll go home and see the high school sweetheart and have fun and maybe even feel a little something for her, but you know that you made the right choice with the new girl. Because, even though she can be a total bitch sometimes, you know that deep down, if you asked her to fuck you in a cab, she would do it and wouldn't think twice about it.
God I fucking love analogies.