Usually our Native New Yorker, Gothamist publisher Jake Dobkin, answers questions about living in our fine city. But today we managed to rouse him from his usual drunken weekend state and troll him with this NY Times Styles section article, The Long Goodbye, about people writing about leaving New York.
This article about these writers (or as Dobkin calls them, "whiny bitches") enraged him—"Like anyone who leaves New York is, ipso-facto, a tourist—who gives a fuck what a tourist thinks of our city?"—sufficiently enough for him to compose this missive while in the shower:
To All The Sad Young Artists Thinking About Leaving New York:
You should go! Return home to your native villages and smaller cities, to the love and acceptance of your friends and family, and the peace of mind that comes with a lower cost of living.
I have written about this before, and do not want to belabor the point, but you are doing no one a favor by sticking it out here. Your suffering is painful, not just to you, but to your New York acquaintances who are forced to read your "essays" and "personal narratives." Your physical presence is also driving up rents, leading to longer lines at overpriced coffee bars, and generally harshing the emotional scene on L Train platforms between Union Square and Ridgewood, and in many bars in Prospect Heights.
You have been here long enough to absorb whatever urban atmosphere you need to spice up the unpublished poems and small-press books you will write in the coming years—staying longer will add nothing to your literary output.
And there is no shame in leaving! Millions before you have come and gone. They are not mourned here, and some have gone on to be celebrated in less difficult places. We natives will keep in touch with you on Facebook, and admire the Pinterest boards you assemble while decorating your large, affordable homes. We will be grateful for you making way, because the space you vacate will soon be filled with bright-eyed newcomers, whose spiritual energy we will quickly consume to continue our own vampiric New York lives.
There may be one or two of you who are still on the fence! You are definitely better off leaving, but if you really wish to stay, here is a little heart-to-heart advice:
1) Consider a more commercial line of work. Many of you seem to be writing "literary fiction," which, to the extent I understand it, seems to be 300 page books about sad, literary types in their 20s and 30s struggling against ennui. This does not seem like an easy way to make money. While you may never wish to condescend to writing for a commercial, soul-sucking enterprise media company like Buzzfeed, or even for a less commercial, humanist enterprise like Gothamist, there are still plenty of jobs you can do with your literary and artistic skills that will help you make rent. Consider teaching, non-profit work, union pipe-fitting jobs, etc.
2) Your cost of living will be much reduced if you find a significant other to move in with. Rent is the most unaffordable part of living in New York, and getting into a committed relationship is the quickest path to reducing those costs. What is love, anyway? The truest mark of affection is co-signing a lease with someone you can tolerate!
3) Stop thinking so much about yourself and your own situation. Turn your focus to the problems of others, especially those worse off than you. This will improve your artistic output, enliven your mood, and generally make you more tolerable to the rest of us. Stop writing about how sad you are!
Please consider this advice: It is given with the best intentions and in full sympathy for the difficulties of surviving here. New York is not an easy place to live, but some of us have no choice but to go on here. For our sakes, and for yours, stop perseverating and commit to it, or (and please read this in the kindest possible voice that it is intended) get the fuck out.
- A Native New Yorker
If you'd like to Ask A Native New Yorker something, email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org