Friday, May 02, 2003


Your rent is a measly $3400 a month. And your friends hate you because you can't find a studio for that cheap anywhere. Well, maybe in Queens.

You have cut down on your Starbucks beverages. It used to be that you had a frappacinno and a latte per day but considering both individually cost about $7.50 you have decided to stick with the free office coffee.

You have more or less reverted to your college menu consisting mainly of Tortilla chips, salsa, pasta and veggie burgers. You want to go out to eat more often but unfortunately restaurants (more so kosher restaurants) are so expensive that people think you're "Mister Fancy-Pants" when you suggest "that we should meet up for dinner soon." Dinner, they question back? Look who's Mister Fancy Pants.

You can't even get drunk anymore because bars charge more for their drinks. Because less people go to bars due to the ten-year-old smoking ban and higher rents. People just stay at home, make their own alcohol in their bathtubs and then smoke all the cigarettes they want. And by the way, you grew the tobacco out on your balconey.
People do on occasion take dates out for drinks. If the girl orders a fancy drink (which costs about $16, then there is no second date. If she orders a beer ($9.50), then she is a keeper. She understands that you are financially strapped as is 93% of the city.
The average 32 year old is $12,000 in debt and has nothing saved in his bank account. Your children are screwed.

The subway costs $6 to ride now. Each way. You consider taking a taxi when you're running late but then you realize that you couldn't afford the $10 initial fair with the $2 additional click every other minute. You're doing a lot of walking as a result. You're in great shape. Good for you. Here is the one bright side to all this price hiking.

New York City is now unofficially an island of rich people. All the projects have been emptied, with the inhabitants left to move to Indiana, and their previous homes have been developed into malls. There is a beautiful new mall on Columbus running from 101st to 105th. You will find in there a Body Shop, Banana Republic and of course, a Prada. People, who are not rich, like you, have an incredibly hard time keeping up with the Joneses. So you have decided to cut back on luxuries like that once-a-month ice cream cone you used to enjoy during the summer time. Or that quarterly (yearly, for some) movie that you saw in the Sony Theater, where admission is $30. You no longer attend concerts or sporting events and in fact, all the aforementioned have gotten so expensive that they attract smaller crowd--the events are now held in smaller venues because only a select few can afford to go. Last week, U2 played in someone's living room in the East Village. Tickets were $4,000 each. That is their only New York show.

You have thought about maybe moving out the City but you can?t afford to move right now. The thought of renting a moving van and packing up scares you. Your therapist, who is $250 an hour, tells you that you have a detachment issue. You can't leave the city because you are too attached to it. You know he's right. You hate him for it.

You also hate the Mayor because he has done nothing to make things easier. His term, which has been coined as "Bloomberg II: The Horror" is over soon but not soon enough. And besides, the damage is done. We have already suffered enough.

So smoke 'em if you got 'em. Well, that is if you can afford 'em.


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