Monday, May 26, 2008

Shed your crybaby tears

In yesterday's New York Times (full of good stuff, apparently), Cara Buckley profiles the terrible burden of young white people living in Manhattan and the more fashionable parts of Brooklyn:
Ms. Werkheiser’s salary as a publicist, while well south of six figures, might be considered enviable elsewhere in the country, but in New York she has had to reprioritize. So the remote wardrobe was not her only money-saving tactic.
* * *
She and her friends have also located just about every B.Y.O.B. brunch spot in the city, plotting them out on Google maps. The cost-consciousness, Ms. Werkheiser says, is worth it: She adores New York and lives, with two roommates, in a $3,450-a-month three-bedroom apartment on the Lower East Side, verily the center of the universe for Manhattan’s young and hip.
I admit that I am not hip, nor am I with it or in the know. Although I have lived in a vast array of places, from urban to rural, west coast and east coast, I have never lived in Manhattan. So although I understand the term "brunch" to mean a meal between breakfast and lunch, in the glitzy well-to-do world of Manhattan, it might mean something else. But just in case it means the same thing in NYC as elsewhere, here's a helpful tip from your ol' pal Chris - skip the booze during brunch. You really, honestly don't need to drink before 5 p.m.

I'm also curious what salary is "well south of six figures" but "enviable elsewhere in the country"? I'm going to guess $75,000. If someone can't afford to live making $6,250 per month and paying $1,150 per month in rent, that person may be what I like to call "a financial idiot." You know what? I wouldn't even need the roommates. I could afford to live on $2,800 per month and have the apartment all to myself. I could afford groceries and clothing (not that I buy clothing every month). I could afford to see underground bands, visit museums, attend sporting events. I could do that.

Of course, is that where these kids are going? Doesn't seem that way.
“Pre-gaming,” youth speak for drinking at home before going out, is another cash saver. So is ferreting out bars that offer free drinks at certain times, information that is handily compiled at
You don't have to go to Manhattan to drink. I've been around; bars and clubs are plentiful everywhere. This is still America, after all.

To be fair, not all of these 20-somethings are stupid. Some of them are just working shitty jobs.
Peter Naddeo, a 24-year-old musician, earns $15 an hour working as a temp in Web development in Chelsea, and has perfected the tricky art of stretching lunch into dinner. He moved to New York from Pennsylvania last fall and can barely afford his $80 monthly college loan payments. He listens to a hand-me-down CD player because iPods are out of reach. He pays $600 for a 10-by-10-foot room in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, that has one saving grace: a window that faces east. For lunch, Mr. Naddeo usually orders a $3.50 plate of yellow rice and beans from a Latin American diner on Eighth Avenue, and eats late to ward off hunger pangs.
On the other hand, it's hard for me to feel bad for someone just because they don't have an iPod. I also know that Brooklyn is an expensive place, but dig this - there are cheaper areas than Williamsburg. My cousin makes $15 an hour and he doesn't fucking live in fucking Williamsburg, you fuck. I can take you to the Bronx and introduce you to entire neighborhoods that make less than $15 per hour, yet they eat better than this shmuck. No sympathy.

It's hard for me to feel bad for people purposefully putting themselves into tight financial situations based on poor decisions and inept financial planning. I realize I walk a dangerous line here, as I will bang the drum for the poor often, but I can't classify these people as poor. They're just dumb. My entire life, I've seen people do without so they can live. No one ever did it for the "experience" of living somewhere. Most of the people I deal with in my job live in shitholes not by choice, but because it's all they can manage. Again, I am very reluctant to type these words, but if you can't afford to live in Manhattan, it might be time to pick another borough.


Thus concludes my post of rage, indignation, and venomous bile.


Matt R. Horon said...

Seriously, if you are single and under 30 you should not have any problem finding better than a 10x10 fucking hellhole in Williamsburg. If you wanna live in some commune arty thing then don't complain about living conditions. There are plenty of places in the city where $15 can get a decent apartment -- assuming a roomate or two. Brooklyn has many such places and many of them aren't even near those big scary project buildings.

As a young twentysomething making $31,500/year I still manage to pay down my student loan, make rent, and even go out once and awhile.

I'll admit, if I made 3 times as much I'd probably be trying to bag a place on the L.E.S. or the Village. But even assuming a $1800 rent check every month that's still over $2500 to play around with. Come on that buys a lot of prix fixe and handbags!

I blame the Times for finding these crazy people and making them out as some sort of norm. No. They are crazy, can't manage money, and have no idea what restraint is.

ChrisV82 said...

I bet the real issue is 60%+ of all of their income goes towards booze.

Anonymous said...

My older sister's a struggling 20-something singer superstar-wannabe living in Manhattan. But she pays the bills by stripping. I think she could teach these people a lesson.

ChrisV82 said...

She could teach them ingenuity and creativity in earning a paycheck.

She could also teach them how to shake those ta-tas.