kleenexwoman: A caricature of me looking future-y.  (Fritz Rasp sees what you did there)
[personal profile] kleenexwoman
John K. King's downtown location is better than the Strand. The Strand looked like a Barnes and Nobles, to be honest--extremely clean, well-organized, and spacious, with a lot of kitsch and swag. I can imagine it would be fantastic to check out if you needed to pick up a book for the subway or were looking for something specific, but it's too bright (and frankly, too tall) to invite the kind of delighted discovery that can kill a rainy afternoon. John K. King is a serious destination, somewhere you need to work to get to instead of popping in on the streetcorner. It's dusty, cluttered, and has piles of books stuck in every corner. There's no swag, just shit-tons of books and books and books. Also, the rare books are ALWAYS available right in the front of the store, instead of being locked away upstairs and then closed long before the rest of the store is. (That was a serious disappointment at the Strand, let me tell you.) Yes, there's no climate control, but that just weeds out the weak.

Beer selection. Not that there aren't some great microbreweries around NYC, but Michigan has such a huge emphasis on selection that there's not much of a contest. I kept seeing the same three or four local brands in bodegas, liquor stores, and bars, and there seemed to be a cursory variation of types (lager, pilsner, IPA, check!) as opposed to the breadth of invention and variety that typify even the small Michigan breweries. There also didn't seem to be any seasonal variations on the shelves. Maybe I'm just spoiled for choice, but it seems like beer lovers still have their home in the Midwest.

Traffic. Do I even need to say it? Thankfully we missed rush hour both going and coming, but when you point at already-packed New York city streets and say, "It'll be so much worse by the time we're in Jersey!", it's not hard to come to conclusions. By the time we were 40 miles out of the city and well into NJ, there was STILL backup going into Manhattan. 40 fucking miles. Detroit may have construction problems and the occasional gridlock, but I've never been in a freeway traffic jam more than 5 miles long in the worst of conditions. I can't even imagine what fresh hell it must be when it snows there.

Middle Eastern Food. Okay, I didn't really get the chance to try it on this trip, besides a decent but not amazing gyro from a street cart. I'm getting this from someone who spent 17 years in Michigan and 10 years in New York, though, so take that as you will. Michigan has a ton of Middle Eastern joints, which are largely Lebanese style even when the people who might own the restaurant aren't Lebanese--it's just the kind of Middle Eastern that Detroiters are accustomed to. And it's fucking delicious, with fresh vegetables, perfect spice blends, fresh hot bread, and fluffy rice pilaf. Every time she comes to the D, my New York friend gorges herself on hummus and garlic spread from the Lebanese restaurants she loves--apparently you can't get the right taste in New York. This is because the main style of Middle Eastern food in New York is Turkish, and this has to do with the fact that New York has a huge Russian immigrant population. These folks are used to Turkish food being their go-to Middle Eastern style. While Turkish food may be delicious, it just doesn't hit the right spot if simple, tangy Lebanese cuisine is what you're craving. New York friend summed it up by saying, with immense disgust, "They put RAISINS in the grape leaves." Like, what the fuck?

Real estate. This also goes without saying, I think. Manhattan is an island. Real estate will never be less expensive than it is now. Rent is insane. Apartments are impossible. The tiny flat in the cheap part of Queens that I stayed in costs the same per month as my neighbor's rent on her nice condo in a really nice part of town here, and my cousin's cramped apartment downtown cost the same as three West Bloomfield McMansions here. My co-worker's two-bedroom apartment in Queens cost the same as a really nice house in Hazel Park here. No wonder all the hipsters fled to Detroit after the housing market went nuts in 2008--you can have your space on a shoestring here and squat without anyone caring.

This is me trying to convince myself not to move to New York, because everything else was fucking amazing.
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kleenexwoman: A caricature of me looking future-y.  (Default)
Rachel

April 2015

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