I’m currently in the air, somewhere between New York City and San Juan. I thought I would do this blog a few days ago on Sunday, but this feels like the first time I’ve had a break since I left for my 6 day trip.
New York was a continuous loop of eating, drinking, coffee, and walking, with a few hours of light sleep at night to allow me to repeat it again. I mentally gave myself permission to indulge in gluten-free treats and booze with friends before I left, and I’m badly in need of a detox now.
Overall the trip was pretty perfect. New York for me now is like a way better version of Las Vegas: eating, drinking, and spending to excess, but amongst a crowd of ambitious overachievers instead of degenerates. I’ve spent enough years of my life at poker tables and casinos that there’s more mystery and intrigue for me in hanging out with people who have a real 9-6 job and trying to figure out life given their constraints, than 30-year-olds walking around with $500,000 in poker chips debating whether they should go to Macau to play in a juicy cash game.
As always I was thinking a lot about the pros and cons of medium-term living while I visited. When the sun was out (which I got incredibly lucky with almost the entire time) and mixed with the energy of the people I genuinely considered penciling in NYC for a month next June. It’s still on the radar, but at the conclusion of the trip (I still haven’t looked at my credit card statement, but I can guess it’s not going to make me feel warm and fuzzy) I think that when comparing the necessary budget spent anywhere else in the world, it would make it very hard to pick New York. I was considering Boulder/Denver this summer instead of Bali, but the quality of life for the dollar in Bali is just too good right now. New York makes Boulder feel third-world cost wise. All of that said I got a lot of great mental stimulation from my friends and other people that I met. If networking mattered more in my career or I was younger with health as a lower priority, I’d be happy to live a vibrant social life in NYC.
How expensive was it in New York? My girlfriend and I each got a small gluten-free pizza, added mushrooms, extra cheese, and got one bottle of sparkling water to share. After tax and tip it was around $100. At another dinner a friend had a $300 gift certificate, and we shared a few appetizers, one entree between the three of us, and each had two drinks thinking we it would be hard to spend that $300. I ended up paying another $150 (including tip) on top of the $300 gift card. I didn’t get bothered by any of this, but tried to take a mental note so I could make a more accurate projection of what life might be like on a longer time frame vs. free-spending on a vacation.
The best aspect of living in New York (and also the dark side creating the cramped and pricy living) is the concentration of people. I met up with friends, and friends of friends daily. All of them have jobs where they put in far more than a 40 hour work week, yet it seemed easy and natural for them to grab dinner/drinks at 10 pm on a weeknight. If anything I was dragging myself around barely hanging on, even though I was sleeping in until 9 am while they were up hours before having to go to a real job. I don’t have a proper wardrobe anymore now that I live the majority of my year in tropical climates, and my pace is a lot slower. Keeping up with the conversations and energy was a challenge, like doing a line of cocaine (disclaimer: I’ve never really done cocaine, except for chewing coca leaves from Colombia, but I am well versed in 5-Hour Energy) and trying to keep up before the come down.
Fortunately the markets were pretty tame outside of the last night, which allowed me to take a pretty proper vacation (as proper as it can be while logging into my phone to check things five times a day). I had summer internships in New York back in the early 2000s, and this was my first time doing major walks around the city since then. It’s a complete guess, but I probably put in over 5 miles daily. If the weather is cooperating this is definitely the way to see the city, although I ended each night beat. The carb bombs and alcohol might have had something to do with that too.
Some of the really cool things I did/went to were the following: Spring Place (a private social club in Tribeca like Soho House, thanks to Andrea), walked all around the Williamsburg and Dumbo hipster neighborhoods of Brooklyn successfully drinking too much coffee (favorite coffee and cafe to lounge at: Devocion in Williamsburg, Usagi in Dumbo, both highly recommended), the lounge above Cipriani Soho (if you like having drinks surrounded by 5-foot-10 Russian models, thanks to Dasha), gluten-free pizza at Adoro Lei (yes this was the $100 pizza dinner for two, but it was worth it, thanks to Jeff), Posh Pop Bakeshop (best gluten-free deserts I’ve had anywhere in the world, hands down, not even close. I made two trips here, and it’s a scary thought if it was any closer to my hotel. Thanks to Jeff), walking around Soho and the West Village (Bleeker St. and Sullivan St. are standouts), training at Transform GST (a gymnastics strength training gym in Midtown. This would probably be my gym if I lived in the city, although it was a hike from Soho).
I stayed in a hotel in Soho, and I’d expand my possibilities to the surrounding neighborhoods of Tribeca, West Village, and the East Village. They aren’t very central, but they have superior dining and are far more peaceful than the tourist/office-worker hordes around Midtown where most of the hotels are.
I’m looking forward to a boring (but enjoyable for me) week of getting back to reality. I’m planning to be in Puerto Rico for the rest of the month, outside of any mini-excursions our upcoming guests want to do. Leaving you with a few NYC pictures: The view from Brooklyn in the park, the view while walking across the bridge to Manhattan, the movie room at Spring Place, a fashion exhibit currently at the MET, the ball pit at Color Factory (an exhibit to help you create Instagram content).