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The Column

Goodbye, New York, Goodbye
8/4/02

Since I'm moving to Boston this weekend, this might be the last column I write from New York. I figured I’d use it to say thanks to the city that’s given me life, an identity, an appreciation for culture, and a scorching case of herpes.

I don’t really have herpes. But that’s only because I’m careful on the subway.

New York is, was, and always will be one of the dirtiest cities in America. Its citizens are rude, depraved, and egotistical, and constantly remind their non-New York friends of their inherent superiority. Especially if their friends are from Jersey.

Earlier this year, New Yorkers were faced with the most adversity they’d seen since that horrible stretch from 1991-1993 when they actually didn’t have a major sports team with a championship. And for a while, everyone in the city shared a special “we-shall-overcome” bond, and actually smiled when they passed each other. That lasted three weeks. By October, we’d fallen back into the “up-yours” swing of things that define us as a city.

Last week, a female friend from out of town passed some guy while jogging around the Central Park reservoir, so she instinctively said “hi.” A mile later, he had caught up to her, out of breath, and asked for her number. She explained that while he was 41, she was 20, and thus it would be a bad idea for them to date. So he said they didn’t have to “date,” they could just go to his place. This is why people do not say hi to each other in New York.

I’ve traveled a lot in the last few years, and seen most major cities in America. And despite most Big Appler’s claims to the contrary, almost all of them have something that New York doesn’t.

Atlanta, for instance, has roads. It also has thirty billion cars on each road, so going anywhere takes three years. But you can use your time in the car to contemplate life and come to a higher understanding of the universe.

Chicago has lovely fall weather. In August.

Las Vegas lets you do exactly 27 things that are both enjoyable and illegal anywhere else. One of them is losing all of the money you’ve ever thought you had, and some you hadn’t thought of yet. Another is hookers.

Philadelphia makes anyone from out of town feel safe instantly. In comparison to being in Philadelphia.

San Antonio is one of the better cities I’ve been to. The bars were packed with people, my cabbie talked to me about basketball, and strangers carried on conversations on the street. And I tanned just walking to the car.

Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is absolutely beautiful. Though it is unfortunate that the usable part of the city is only half a mile long.

Cleveland has a lovely airport.

Los Angeles has one of the greatest views I’ve ever seen. If you go to some of the Hollywood hills, looking down at the valley is incredible. And when the smog rolls in, it envelops everything, giving it that cool horror movie look.

Milwaukee has a ton of food. Everywhere. And everything is either fried, made of cheese, or comes with beer. The last day I was there, I had beer battered fried cheese. My small intestine has been on strike ever since.

New Orleans is always a party. Everyone is drunk, no one can stand up straight, and you should really try to leave before the cops get there.

But for all my time spent in other cities, I’ve never been in one for longer than a week. It is possible that I could move somewhere else and fall in love with that city, like I did with New York. Hell - if I could love this seventh ring of hell, I could learn to love anything.

But just when I was starting to contemplate staying here, I took the subway. The past few days, I’ve seen people shove each other out of the way for a seat, block the doors so that they could get a little more elbowroom (using it, of course, to elbow people) and beg for change while they count up the bills in their paper cup. I’ve taken the subway more than a thousand times, and I admit that I am sick of all of the boorish behavior. And the herpes.

So I say goodbye, New York. Goodbye to your $8 beers and your suggested donations at museums that are always mandatory. Goodbye to the city where downtown is downtown, uptown is midtown, and midtown is a different place depending on who you ask. Goodbye to the delivery guys who don’t have change, to the people who wear black every day of the summer, and to the cabbies who have never once tried to speak English. Goodbye, New York. Goodbye to it all.

I’m going to miss you.

Archives
*Kings vs. Sports Illustrated
*Paris Hilton is No Mother Theresa
*Putting the "Fan" in "Fanatic"
*Thinking Man: Happy New Year
*Jewzapalooza
*I'm Listening
*Punky Brewster Scares Me
*Don't Get Smart With Me
*Checking Out a Check Up
*Yeah, Thanks
*Steve Hofstetter is Your Friend
*Post Halloween Wrap-Up
*My Letter to Me
*The Night the Heat Went Off
*Turn That Crap Off
*You Might Be a Redhead If
*To My Future Children
*Shine Your Shoes, Mista?
*Flying Forward
*DotCom Dating Dish
*Paging Paige Page
*Watch While You Eat
*You Have Got to Be Kidding Me
*Come Home, Rachel I. K'Benjamin
*Get Out Of My Bathroom
*Subway Going Under
*Driving Forces
*Singles Anonymous
*Know When to Fold Em
*The Mirth of America
*Also Known As
*Smooth Criminal
*What That Mass Email Really Said
*Dude, Where's Your Car?
*Thinking Man: Can't We All
*You Might Be a Redneck
*A Nice Hawaiian Punch
*100,000 Friends
*Mine is Bigger Than Yours
*Good Answer
*T Stands for Terrible
*I Love You Guys
*Mitch, All Gone
*Birth of a Hate Mail Archive
*Never Do Today What...Ooh, Shiny
*Can You Hear Me Now?
*Fast Food, Slow Digestion
*Homeland Security, Eh?
*Quality Training Purposes
*The Show Went On
*Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?
*Putting My Foot Down
*Breaking the Chain Mail
*Happy Valmochrismaweenygiving
*Mr. Clean's Illegitimate Brother
*The Quest For 10,000 Friends
*Forgetting Paris
*Magnetically Challenged
*New Year's at the Barefoot Boogie
*Instant Carma's Gonna Get Me
*The Biggest Loser
*Steve vs. Kentucky
*Gone in a Flash
*How to Destroy Your Car
*Ghouls, Goblins, and Candidates
*My Freedom From Your Freedom
*Drive Unto Others
*Please Don't See This Movie
*I Love The Clip Shows
*Column of Atonement
*Happy Anniversary, Sugarhill
*Life, 9/11, and the Interstate
*Your Band Sucks
*Spending Wisely
*The Blind Dating the Blind
*Grilled Cheese With a Side of Hip Hop
*The Drive to 25
*Are You There Margaret? It's Me, God.
*Mansion, Apartment, Shack, House
*Seacrest! Out!
*Harder Than You Think
*Glad To Be Here
*Thought for Food
*Feeding the Meter
*She's Ready For Her Close Up
*Paging John Hughes
*Excusing America's Gas Problem
*Extra, Extra, Extra Long Time
*The Finals Countdown
*Your Friends and Mine
*The Future Mrs. Bueller
*Toasting Not Toasting
*A Tall Order
*Snaking Your Engine
*My Hair is the Color of Tomato Soup
*The Solace System
*You Say Potato
*It’s Getting Less Cold in Here
*This is Not a Virus
*Pitchers and Catchers
*Another Night Not at the Movies
*Higher and Higher
*To Write A Wrong
*They Call it Super for a Reason
*Imagine All the People
*Lost Wages, Nevada
*This Just In
*Why Are All My Stands Red?
*For Whom the Wedding Bell Tolls
*Silent One Day Sale, Holy One Day Sale
*I Want To Be That Guy
*Felicity Doesn't Always Mean Happiness
*That Time of Year
*My Cranberry Sauce Looks like a Can
*The Legend of Fat Dead Steve
*Two Beldings in One Building
*Happy Halloween From Happy Valley
*Three Stations and Nothing On
*15 Shots of Nostalgia
*Here's To the Dancing Guy
*Teaching an Old Dog New Sticks
*If You Could Choose Just One Dumb Question...
*Obligatory Pun on The Word Tired
*I've Grown Accustomed to Your Wet Nose
*What Do You Want For Your Birthday?
*What a Long, Strange Trip
*Open Letter to My UPS Man
*That Better Be Your Foot
*The Abandoned Lot is Always Greener
*Putting Down the Pieces
*Take One Down, Pass It Around
*Here, You Throw This Away
*Being Green at the Box Office
*Who Wears Short Shorts?
*America is an Okay Place to Be
*You Can't Stop the Rain
*Don't Feed the Alpha Males
*Don’t Sweat It
*The Special Plate Blues
*You Deserve It
*The Return to Popcopy
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*Keeping Your Prom Misses
*Guerillas in Our Midst
*That Weird No Bread Holiday
*The Ballad of the Buttless
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*Have You Seen My Cell Phone?
*War, Huh, Yeah, What Is It Good For?
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*What Are You Up To This Weekend?
*The Waiting is the Hardest Part
*A Night Not at the Movies
*Funny, You Don’t Look Flu-ish
*Does This Baby Come With Airbags?
*When The Hogan Family Was Still Valerie
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*Fungi, Octopi, What’s the Plural of Bus? (Part I
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*Goodbye, New York, Goodbye
*La La La-la La La, Sing a Happy Song
*What To Do at Work Besides Work
*Why is This Column Different From All Others?