Patsy Porco

Manhattanites Are Different From You and Me

In Humor on January 24, 2011 at 1:29 pm

I have nothing against odd people, but on the Weird Spectrum,  Manhattan residents are at the highest end. I lived in Manhattan for a number of years so I’m not just speculating; I’m talking from experience. Living in such close quarters with so many other people isn’t the way humans are supposed to live, and it takes its toll.

Apparently even the people who run New York City have gone over the edge of sanity. They’ve constructed a pop-up park in a building where you can have a picnic in the winter. The park features a photo mural of trees, some real trees, fake grass, rocks, piped-in birdsong, an unconvincing pond, and space to play lawn games.

Why do you need to have a picnic in the winter? If you can have a picnic in the winter, then where’s the fun in having one in the summer? But this is typical of New Yorkers: they have to have what they want when they want it. People actually go to this indoor ersatz park and bring picnic baskets and spread their blankets on the fake grass which covers the hard cement floor. 

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Manhattanites have always been obsessive about their love of parks. They make their daily or weekly pilgrimages to Central Park and then make sure to mention their visits to the park to anyone who will listen, as if they had just visited Lourdes. Central Park is indeed a place of worship to many Manhattan residents, but it’s very urbane and top-notch—not some run-of-the-mill holy place. There are lots of other parks in the city, and many are being made bigger and better to compete with Central Park, but they’ll never attain the same global cachet. The parks by the Hudson and East rivers are standing-room-only on spring and summer days, but visiting Hudson River Park, East River Park, Riverside Park,  or Carl Schurz Park won’t win you the same points that a trip to Central Park will.

Which brings me back to the park-in-a-box. What is the allure? I just don’t get it. Which is probably why I no longer live in Manhattan and have moved to the suburbs, where I can picnic in real parks in the spring and summer when it’s sensible. I’m sure my Manhattan friends are thinking that I’m not sophisticated enough to understand their superior sensibilities, but in my defense, if I want to eat on the floor, I’ll stay home.


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