21 Things That Suck About Living in New York (and 5 That Make It Worth It)

New York City
by Andy Verderosa Sep 10, 2013
1. Sketchy elevators

A green light in an elevator


Whether it’s getting down to the subway or going up to your friend’s apartment in a building built in the ’30s, elevators in New York are sus as hell. Every time you step into one you’re playing Russian roulette (probably with some Russians, too).

Take a quick survey of the other passengers. Who is the weakest? Does anyone look particularly handy? This could be your family for the next 48 hours. Who’s going to be Piggy?

2. Expensive salads

A salad restaurant called


We’re out here trying to stay fit. We’ve already accepted paying high prices for gym memberships, but for some reason the idea of throwing down $10.50 for some lettuce and two cherry tomatoes is just flat out immoral. It usually ends up being about the same price for a bigger, non-salad item or just not worth the hassle. Fuck it — I’m getting a slice.

3. Train delays

People getting on the subway


No matter how well you budget your time or prepare for the worst, some train delays will absolutely screw you. While weekend construction is annoying enough, at least you can plan ahead for those. But for the rest of the delays, which seem to always happen during rush hour or when you have an appointment, MTA is all “tough shit.”

4. Income inequalities

Green blocks on a picture of the city

This infographic shows the skyscrapers of wealth disparity in Manhattan.

5. Lines

People waiting in line


Everyone has the same idea as you. Whether it’s hitting up a local brunch spot or getting into a free concert, the city is packed, and everyone is trying to do the same thing.

People say New Yorkers hate waiting in lines, but this really isn’t true. New Yorkers have adapted to lines, and have turned them into rites of passage. This summer, the most interesting place you could be was the cronut line. This person even brought a cronut to the rain room. By my tally, this picture took about ten hours to create, not counting travel time.

6. Rats

Some rats near a trash bag



7. People that are richer than you

A person standing beside a magenta car


People that are richer than you are the worst, and there’s no shortage of them in New York. They are always doing rich-people stuff like eating at restaurants that aren’t Chipotle and Instagramming pictures of themselves in the first row of Beyonce concerts. They are the worst.

8. Parking

Cars on a street


If you are lucky / unfortunate enough to have a car, you probably spend about a quarter of your life thinking about parking. This means moving your car to the alternate side of the street for cleanings, as if you didn’t have enough to worry about. If you have a good parking spot, it may be worth staying at home for the next week.

9. Traffic

Cars on a street


Rush-hour traffic is bad, but at least it’s understandable. Why there is traffic at 1am is a completely different story. Even if you don’t have a car, you know the feeling of getting in a cab and watching pedestrians pass you as you sit at red lights.

10. Card minimums / cash-only places

A sign that says "Sorry, but we only accept cash"


While bodegas and corner delis are the beating heart of the city, their card minimums are a constant source of stress and unwanted gum. Cash-only places are great for people who have foresight, but if you’re like me you used that $10 bill at a bar two weeks ago.

11. Movie prices

A movie theater


$14.75 per person is a lot of money. You could get a month and a half of Netflix for that price. Where do all these pop culture bloggers get the money to go see movies all the time?

12. Interacting with people constantly

A big crowd of people


People are generally the worst, and there are a lot of them in New York. They are everywhere, except at Mets games (zing!).

13. Tourists

A group of people taking a self portrait


With all respect to the fact that tourists want to visit the Big Apple and spend Yen / Euros / Bitcoins on overpriced v-necks, you all need to walk faster.

14. The noise

A construction site


You don’t realize how loud New York is until you leave and you can hear your heart beating and your fingernails growing and you end up having a panic attack from the eerie silence.

15. Not getting service in the subway

A subway approaching


The subways are way older than smartphones, so it’s understandable that you can’t snapchat in century-old underground tunnels. But wouldn’t that be great? It’s very inconvenient to totally disconnect yourself while traveling, especially when you’re going long distances.

16. Being reminded how ugly you are

A person talking on her phone


Yep. Everyone is more attractive than you. Face the facts and get to work on that personality.

17. Social competition

A rooftop bar with lots of people


The problem with living in New York is that everyone has a better story than you. Whatever cool rooftop party you went to, someone else you know went to one with an even better view. I once saw Stephen Baldwin at the airport, only to be story-topped later by someone who had dinner with Alec.

18. James Franco

James Franco on the street


James Franco lives in New York. James Franco will steal your girlfriend. James Franco will publish your unfinished book of poems under his name. James Franco will found a startup that you thought of years ago. James Franco will like your sister’s Instagram. James Franco’s future passion project will be your mom’s favorite movie.

19. FOMO


With so much going on in the city, any time you are checking something on your phone, sleeping, or relaxing in your tiny apartment, you are probably missing out on something amazing and wonderful and at the least — worth Instagramming. You are probably missing out on something right now.

20. The smell

A large pile of trash bags


This is a common complaint, but you have to say it. Sometimes, and for reasons often unknown, you will get a waft of something so pungent, so offensive, you will swear it is not of this planet.

21. Everyone has a dog. There is excrement everywhere.

A person walking a little dog


The scariest part of this one is that these two sentences might be unrelated.

And the 5 things that make it all worth it

1. Free shit

A dinosaur skeleton


Despite the fact that everything is expensive, there is a lot of free shit in New York to take advantage of. From concerts and movies, to museums and parks. They say the best things in life are free, and while it’s true that Krispy Kreme still charges, there’s plenty to do without going into your wallet.

2. Everyone is here.



Okay, there might be a few people in LA and like a handful in China, but for the most part, everyone who matters is probably here, probably TriBeCa to be specific.

3. Experiences that would never happen anywhere else.

A street


On the train I witnessed a 60-year-old man in a leather vest, leather chaps, and a leather dog-collar describe to an Italian family how to get to Houston Street using only his sign language.

4. The great melting pot

People holding flags


You can get authentic cultural experiences from around the globe by just hopping trains. New York is the most diverse place in the world, and you will meet people daily from places you’ve never even heard of, like Short Hills, New Jersey.

5. This place is fucking beautiful.

A view of the city


It’s a fact that you can’t escape. The views — from up top or down below — are perfect and inspiring and make you feel small and big at the same time.

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