The New York “Ick”

My apartment is a nightmare right now.

I’m sitting here in my tiny Manhattan studio, and I’ve got an disassembled shower curtain rod on the floor in the center of the room, with a layer of fine dust over everything from the ceiling repair/re-plaster/re-paint job that is currently underway in my little bathroom. (From a leaking toilet in the apartment above mine…)

And it is in this precise moment, during this feeling of overwhelm and dread for getting this messy and acutely inconvenient job…that is stretching on the THIRD week now with an inoperable shower…that I’m realizing that it finally happened:

I got the New York “Ick.”

“The Ick” is a highly scientific term, where qualities and attributes of a person, place or thing, that were once held dear and sources of love and admiration — instantly become the exact opposite. Those same qualities and attributes suddenly — seemingly overnight — become sources of acute distain, disgust and annoyance.

Yep – I’ve got the New York “Ick.”

I’m noticing the garbage in the streets. Every insanely high grocery bill or insultingly high price tag on a drink or meal out with friends seems like a personal attack. The smells, the grime, the arrogance of the city — it’s as though all of a sudden, my rose colored glasses have shattered and I see the city in its noisy, dirty reality.

Which is shocking, because I have spent the last 11 years in an absolute love affair with my city. It’s been a fairy tale, one that I have been enamored with.

The New York "Ick" - a highly scientific term where qualities you once held dear about #Manhattan instantly become sources of distain and disgust. If it happens, there's no turning back. #nyc #newyork #travel #life #home #family #catholic #newyorker #citylife

But truthfully, New York City is very different post-pandemic.

There’s not the same pulse and beat and energy it once had.

The New York "Ick" - a highly scientific term where qualities you once held dear about #Manhattan instantly become sources of distain and disgust. If it happens, there's no turning back. #nyc #newyork #travel #life #home #family #catholic #newyorker #citylife

And I attribute that to a couple things:

a) The recent mass exodus of New Yorkers: people and money. Between April 2020 and July 2021, over 360,000 New Yorkers left Manhattan. That’s a staggering number of people to leave, but also take into account the $21 billion dollars in income those people made. (Source: The New Yorker). That money is no longer being spent into the New York economy. The restaurants, the retail, the services — those top earners aren’t feeding the economy anymore, and you can definitely tell with businesses barely able to make ends meet.

The New York "Ick" - a highly scientific term where qualities you once held dear about #Manhattan instantly become sources of distain and disgust. If it happens, there's no turning back. #nyc #newyork #travel #life #home #family #catholic #newyorker #citylife

Couple that with the looting of last summer…it’s amazing any businesses survived at all!

The New York "Ick" - a highly scientific term where qualities you once held dear about #Manhattan instantly become sources of distain and disgust. If it happens, there's no turning back. #nyc #newyork #travel #life #home #family #catholic #newyorker #citylife

2) Working from home eliminates a happy hour culture. New York was known for its post-work, 5pm drinking scene. Oh my gosh – bars in midtown were absolutely popping Monday – Thursday with eager (mostly single) workers wanting to mingle and blow off some steam. Now that just isn’t a thing, as there’s no actual water cooler to meet at, and plan the night’s activities.

3) The nightlife has changed. I don’t know if it’s the economy or the fact that New Yorkers got so used to Pandemic-hours with restaurants and bars closing early, but now, you’re hard pressed to find people wanting to go clubbing or bar hopping until all hours of the night anymore — which, was my personal favorite thing to do.

The New York "Ick" - a highly scientific term where qualities you once held dear about #Manhattan instantly become sources of distain and disgust. If it happens, there's no turning back. #nyc #newyork #travel #life #home #family #catholic #newyorker #citylife

So yeah, New York City is definitely different, and all the reasons why we put up with the high prices and inconveniences of New York — like the culture and nightlife and restaurants and experiences — are no longer there anymore. Which means one thing: the New York “Ick.”

So what does this all mean?

I don’t know. I’ve got my windows open, (to air out the paint fumes I’m inhaling), and a saxophone is playing outside in the park below, and I can hear it crooning away in the late afternoon sun.

There is a lot to love about New York. There are a lot of really great things about this city. But in order to see the good, I can’t be focused on the bad.

Which, really, can be said for just about anything in life. When we look for the good, things are always better.

When you catch the New York "Ick," not even a bottomless boozy #brunch can snap you out of it! #nyc #newyork #travel #life #manhattan #family #catholic #newyorker #citylife

I think I’ll go take a little walk and listen to that saxophone and remember that I’m blessed to be alive, that the sun is shining, and I’ve got a roof over my head— albeit a leaky one…for now. 😉

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31 responses to “The New York “Ick””

  1. Wow, Caralyn. If I were in your situation, I would move back to Ohio or somewhere. I hope your ceiling is repaired very soon! ❤️

  2. “Whoever is born in New York is ill-equipped to deal with any other city: all other cities seem, at best, a mistake, and, at worst, a fraud. No other city is so spitefully incoherent.”—James Baldwin,

  3. Sad to read this, a city full of life and not another one like it. I think this is the first summer I had no desire to visit because of the rise in crime. I’m sure many businesses are struggling.

    • Thank you Alice, you’re right it is certainly sad indeed. the crime is out of control~~ thank you fr stopping by!! Hugs and love xox

  4. Last I knew, Toledo, OH – my home town – had a population of just over 300,000. NYC lost a whole city the size of Toledo and then some!

    Focus on the good. When I had a job offer tp be based n Memphis, my first thought was “Great! Detroit, TN!” Which it is with the crime and shootings. But we’ve focused on the good, made friends, found a great church, and plan to retire here.

    • you’re right! there has been a MASS EXODUS from NYC — and you can certainly feel it!!! that’s great advice — focus on the good — and there is certainly a lot of good happening right now. amazing. thinking of you , Jeff! hope you’re well!!! Hugs and love xox

  5. New York is not alone, I am sure, in terms of how the pandemic changed its culture, habits, face. The whole of our world is just not the same. The old normal is no more … and a new normal has not yet been established. It’s an interesting time to be living.

    • Hi Jan! You’rw right – the whole country has been rocked by the pandemic indeed. and the world at large! i know, i am praying that the new normal is not this. Hugs and love xox

    • Thank you Greg – yeah, you definitely know the feeling then — i think Cali and NY can give people the ick pretty severely! hahah Hugs and love xox

  6. Sorry to hear about your apartment, I had a leaky sunroom about a year ago, but I am thankful they finally fixed it. But as for N.Y. it has always been too big for me, it doesn’t fit me, but Calif. I learned to get used to. I hope things get better for you. We have to make the bust of things, the bad and good, leaning unto God, and not our own understanding.

    • thank you friend – oh gosh that sounds pretty terrible! a leaky sun roof!!!! yeah, it is definitely a big place. And amen – leaning into God! Hugs and love xox

    • I’m sorry you know this feeling too, Aimee!! You’re right- sometimes you just get the ick!! Hugs and love xox

  7. This makes me sad to read because I used to take business trips to Ny & my buds that lived there would get angry at me cuz I wanted to go walk around, hang out. They said Don’t ever go alone… as the years went by it didn’t dazzle me like it had, I don’t like big crowds of being squished together. So here I am in my warm, state of Arizona, sitting by my pool & usually by the lake, canal enjoying happy hour at least every week or 2 with a group, laughing, loving life! I hope & pray that things get better for all of us, but I too am happy to be alive, praying everyday, & feeling blessed!

  8. It sad to see and hear what the Democrats have done to many great cities all over the United States. The garbage, the crime, etc., etc., etc.
    The Eagles had a song, “New York Minute”
    It is really sad to see a city that was so vibrant, full of life, just turn out the way that it is now.

    • you’re right about that. it is so sad to see what has become of this great city. thanks friend. Hugs and love xox

  9. That happened to me in Vancouver, just before I moved to England in 1985. It’s funny how that happens, when a place you have loved for a long time starts to repel you. It’s time to move on.

  10. “Just send me to hell or New York City; it would be about the same to me.” (Hank Williams, Jr.) 😉
    Hank aside, the most important feature of anyone’s life is to know that you are following Jesus (as if YOU did not know this!).
    Friends in China report of people being arrested for attending church, but they are where Father wants them to be. This is true for friends in Pakistan, Nigeria, Mongolia, Tunisia, Peru, India and Nepal. All of them COULD move to better standards of living, more comfortable life, quieter neighborhoods, less crime and less Grime, but each feels they are in the center of His will, and when the dust settles each day, they praise Father for letting them serve in some of the most uncomfortable places, and like Paul and Silas in the Philippian jail, they sing praises and find their “chains” are released.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGYjKR69M6U
    ❤️& 🙏, c.a.

    • hahah oh gosh – that quote is funny accurate. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. I know, it is so sad to think about all the strife happening all over the world. Lord, help us!! Wow,sounds powerful – looking forward to checking out that video. Hugs and love xox

  11. Our downtown in San Diego reeks of urine and feces, so I get it. Many businesses downtown have recovered, but there are still some boarded up. We have a smaller city too. LA on the other hand in disgusting. I head there tomorrow for our Kingdom Writer Association meeting. I think more are forming across the country, You may want to check out their website, which is also linked to the Hollywood Prayer Network, which is how I learned about it.

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