You Could Do Stuff Like This

By NerdNerd June 28, 2009

[Editor's Note: This Sunday starts Season Two of NerdNerd. We're leaving Sarah Mirk's goofus adventures in Portland behind and joining our very own Washington D.C. correspondent Chris Kissel in progress. Kissel does not live in D.C. He  actually lives in Seattle, works at Bailey/Coy bookstore on Broadway, and goes to S.U. But he's decided to spend this summer—his last as a college student—in America's real capital city, Brooklyn, NY.]

thurston1The best thing about New York is this: No stuffy Seattle hangups.

For example, New Yorkers are not afraid to have fun. I realized this right after I moved into my hovel last week (which, according to some people upstairs, used to be a belt factory) and suddenly figured out the pulsing German techno coming from outside was coming from my roof. I emerged from the staircase onto the rooftop affaire and found about 50 Germans fazed on mystery drugs, aggressively tapping their feet. This went on until 1 pm the next day. Nobody in my building seemed to mind.

New Yorkers are not picky about what they read. (Hey, Bailey/Coy crew!) Take these tabloids everybody reads on the subway. The cars are littered with the New York Post, in particular. The day I got here they ran this headline:


I think they recycled that from last year's Obama/African garb scandal. It's times like these I miss Seattle's refined KUOW sensibilities most.

But weirdly, while New Yorkers are busy getting off on gimmicky tabloid racism, they're 100 times more refined than the rest of us. Man they love their museums. Holy shit. I feel like I didn't even know what a museum was before I came here. Most of the museums are a trek from my far-flung Brooklyn flop house. But, wow. Yesterday I spent a few hours at the New Museum, which is the hippest, most avant-garde and hyper-contemporary of all the museums. Who knew I could honestly go for a video of towering apartment buildings in Kiev set to French electronica or a live person sleeping in a bed in the middle of the gallery? Penis Hat was an eye opener too. Come on, Seattle. You could do stuff like this.

Sure, NYC is lacking in job opportunities for anything but security guards or truck drivers—as my week of Craigslist made painfully evident. I knew, for example, I probably wasn't qualified for "Top 7 Reasons to Consider Giving Bodyrubs with Us" in Midtown, or for dancers or yogis.

I went to apply for a job washing dishes in the lower east side and there was a line of people waiting to turn in resumes. "You have any experience washing dishes?" the guy behind the bar asked me. "Not, uh, professionally," I said. He laughed. "Good fucking luck."

And it's also hot here. I feel like I'm always sweaty. And—score one for Seattle—New York doesn't really do coffee shops well. I'm now officially a member of the Cafe Orwell book club. The coffee there tastes like hot pee. And, uh, the furniture doesn't match. Oh, Seattle.

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