When it comes to loving New York, you have to take the good with the bad ... and with its ugly pretention. Pretentiousness exists here, as it does in any other money-ruling, celebrity-obsessed, materialistic society, but this city still beats L.A., where I swear it's nearly impossible to gain any level of respect unless you are "somebody" or you have a name to drop.
In New York, for instance, you are more likely to be in a nightclub, where a wealthy patron orders four rounds of 10 bottles of Cristal during a birthday party, then buys a bottle of Cristal for every table in the club, and then further instructs waitresses to pop bottles of Cristal and spray the club goers.
My roommate recounted this exact scenario to me this morning while we were getting ready for work. After a Nike event last night, I had opted to retire for the evening while she continued on to Pink Elephant, where she witnessed the "look what I bought" sparkler parade of bottles constantly circulating the club. I replied in total Debbie Downer-mode with "What a waste of money! Think of all the charitable contributions they could have made instead!"
Ever the Devil's Advocates, we agreed that people with that much money must certainly make plenty of heartfelt donations, even if it is for the tax write-offs alone. Yet I still could not help but feel disgusted thinking of all the additional contributions that could have been made to the needy of New York City, the United States - and even the world - in lieu of hosing down already well-to-do nightclub patrons with champagne.
But as I walked to work, I had to ask myself if I was Debbie Downer about it because I would truly prefer to see the world become a better place or because I cannot buy bottle after bottle of expensive champagne to consume or waste as I please. Was I repulsed or envious? Being one to always question the deep-seeded motives of my own feelings, I decided to call Terrence while walking to the office and see what he thought of what my roommate had witnessed. His response was similar to mine: "Wow. That's annoying."
Good, I thought.
But I'll take New York either way. Give it your tired, your poor, your weary and your pretentious. The good, the bad, the ugly, and the freedom to be any (or all three) are, after all, what makes it so great.
"Things I Love" Thursdays are inspired by "I Love New York" (BNY, February 14, 2007).
A Year Ago Today: When I See New York
Two Years Ago Today: Wisdom and Chocolate