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10 Things You Need To Know About New York

October 20, 2015

There are too many articles that dictate the top stuff. But my list is vastly superior


1) Creative Minds Abound

Looking for a room? Craigslist is full of adverts for houses of “creative minds” and “creative colonies”. Do not be scared – they are friendly and normal twenty-somethings. The only difference is they achieve things way beyond their years, they are usually in a band and go on tour, they get commissions from pop-up galleries and they order food every night from the Seamless app.

A creative person will say things like “I like to create” [I make stuff], “my internal process” [I think] and “spacialisation” [hearing stuff]. Creative minds do not meet friends, they have “skill share” sessions. If you see a creative in their PJs doing something low-key like watching an episode of Modern Family you feel oddly disconcerted.


2) Milk Is Not Just Milk

Almond, soy, whole, skim, 2 percent, non-fat. Learn it. The staff at Gregory’s are also much nicer if you have the right change ready.


3) Brooklyn Is Full Of Cats

What does Brooklyn and Japanese island Aoshima have in common?

A load of cats. There are stray cats everywhere, wandering through the sun-lit long grasses of your back yard, slinking along walls, and peering out at you from hedges. They play, frolic and hunt in packs, blissfully unaware that their life span will only stretch to four or five years before they are killed by virus, predator or deadly cold.

I watch them from behind the safety of my screen door. Enjoy life while it lasts, little ones, I mouth to them through the glass.


4) Brooklyn (Park Slope) Is Full Of Dogs

There are poodles at brunch, terriers at lunch and Dalmatians at dinner.

I’ve also never seen so many bored-looking middle aged men shuffling round the block in their slippers at 10pm, hoping their poodle will take a dump.

“Come on, Daisy,” they say.

They have empty plastic bags in their hands, and they avoid eye contact with me.


5) Citymapper App Is Essential

I no longer get lost. I always take the right subway, and exit via the right exit. Want to be as smug too? Pop into your nearest Starbucks, switch on wifi and get this application immediately.


6) A Lot Of People Sound Like Lena Dunham

I love Lena. And every time a girl my age here says “thank yewww” I smile inside, thinking of Hannah Horvath in Girls. She’s smart, she’s sassy, and she sounds just like the entire populace of Bedford Avenue.

Have I been to check out the fictional setting of her apartment in Greenpoint? Erm, no, of course not…


7) Hipsters Were Born And Will Die Here

You will know if you are in a hipster café. I’m not talking about the bearded men and the young people on Apple Macs, sipping soya lattes. It’s rather the uncomfortable garden furniture and the sparse decoration – usually empty milk bottles – and the chilly breeze wafting through the cracks of the warehouse building. If you are lucky, you will get a selection of muffins next to the till.

In this one space, you can meet the entire wannabe cast of La Bohème, freezing in their thin jackets, hungry after eating up all the muffins and hogging the café’s wifi connection which they can’t be arsed to set up at home.


8) Chocolate Is The New Coffee

You heard it here first. UK contemporary culture tends to follow the U.S. one – always just a few months behind. This includes all-day boozy brunches, saying things that don’t mean anything and the plethora of Pret A Manger outlets. And now, with new factories like Mast Brothers Chocolate Makers in Williamsburg, chocolate is the next big thing. Yes, it is. It is.


9) Donald Trump Gets A Crazy Amount Of Coverage

He wants to deport nine million Mexicans. He wants to build more towers up and down the Hudson. He wants to get a new hairpiece. He is making a farce out of politics – maybe for the better. But unlike Nigel Farage, who published an open letter in the Telegraph accusing Romanians of crime and disease and managed to scrape a few million votes this year, Trump is much richer, much more powerful, and is even much more respected. He doesn’t need you on his side, as he has so many on his side already. I have thrown out my blonde hairpiece in protest.


10) People Shout At Each Other On TV

The sense of urgency generated by U.S. financial news channels is baffling and stressful. It’s like eating dinner and watching MasterChef: the ongoing, battleground music will give you the sweats and indigestion.

As a financial journalist, watching channels like CNBC upsets me. Markets go up, markets go down, markets always revert to the mean. But meanwhile there are countless, polished-looking reporters getting fussy and shouting at their interviewees: “What about the Fed, Brian? What ABOUT THE FED?” as if they’re about to charge the enemy and Brian is speaking to them on a dodgy Skype call from a lighthouse in the middle of the Atlantic instead of from a quiet office in California.






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