Next to love stories, wars, and giant 3-D piranhas New York City is undoubtedly the most cliché movie/tv/book/blog topic. Nonetheless, in the first edition of Phil’s Reflections I’d like to discuss the new things I discovered while in the Big Apple recently, which lead me to formulate New York City’s Circle of Life.
New York is diverse. Living in DC you see a lot of different cultures, but it still doesn’t compare to New York. Did you know there are over 800 languages spoken in NYC? Apparently, many of these languages are dying. One language that is thriving is Hipster. Hipster is a nonverbal language. In my past visits I learned pieces of this language via the hipster dress, walk, and eating habits. On my most recent visit I saw the first example of Hipster communication through sport. The game: Circle Rules Football.
Like most of the Hipster language, this game communicated the idea that (translated to English): “I’m doing something bizarre that you don’t understand. Therefore, I am cooler than you and self-validated. I am also awkwardly skinny but surprisingly coordinated when playing games like circle rules football or Frisbee.”
After seeing the height of Hipster athleticism, the first thing I asked myself was, “Phil, where are the real New Yorkers? You know, like the people in that Domino’s commercial.” Well I found them at the new Yankee Stadium!
“Real” New Yorkers tend to be loud and obnoxious. The people at Yankee Stadium do speak English, but have a vocabulary limited to “LET’S GO YYAAAANKEES” and “Hey, Marie! Yous go get me a beer freaking now!”. Why do Yankees fans have to ask Marie to get them beer while in their seats at at Yankees game? Because there are no walk around beer men at Yankee Stadium. You can only buy beer in the concourse. It seems that the Yankees and Heir Bloomberg have bought into the nudge theory with their policies. They think drunks can be mildly inconvenienced into sobriety and that fat guys can be made skinny by calorie counts next to everything you buy. Interesting, but the experience left me somewhat disappointed by the habitat of the “real” New Yorkers.
At this point I had experienced part of New York culture, the Hipster, and the heart of the city, the Yankee fan. Yet still something was missing. I needed to experience the city itself, so I took to the streets….which were filled with garbage.
New York is dirty. There are a lot of people in New York and lots of people means lots of garbage. I’m fine with that. Trash represents progress. We don’t need to save old stuff because innovation has given us the wealth to buy the new stuff that innovation created. You would think part of that innovation would be picking up the trash. New York doesn’t do that very well, so it smells like garbage.
Looking up from the trash on the ground, however, you understand why so many people live in New York — the wide variety of dining options. Walking around late on a Monday I was able score delicious pizza and garlic knots for $5. This is the day after I got a big, tasty chili colorado burrito for a mere $7.
With this information I have formulated the model for New York City’s Circle of Life (forgive me that it’s not in an actual circle):
Hipsters come to New York → Hipsters survive by eating cheap burritos → Hipsters throw out their burrito trash → Obnoxious Yankee fan garbage man (OYFGM) takes burrito trash to Staten Island landfill → OYFGM uses salary to buy Yankees tickets → City takes taxes from Yankee game beer sales to maintain parks where Hipsters can play circle rules football → Visiting, aspiring hipsters see New York Hipsters playing circle rules football → Hipsters come to New York