Friday Special: 5 Things I Miss About New York City

by Alexander Marcus

While everyone loves this city, Alexander Marcus has some things to say about the city.


Last weekend saw me take a quick trip to my hometown of Manhattan. Having been in Philly for over a month now, it didn’t hit me how much I truly missed the city until my first breath of air outside of Penn Station. Here are the five things I miss most about my beloved borough that just aren’t the same at Penn:

1) Korean Markets

What the fuck is Wawa? Apparently, a store full of stoner food with one refrigerated case of processed fruit and gross sandwiches thrown in. There are also subs that you can wait fifteen minutes for, and space-age, laser gun sound effects at the checkout counter. And they don’t even sell microwave popcorn! Seriously! I don’t care how much everyone from Jersey and Philly inexplicably loves “The Wa,” my allegiance still lies with my local “2383 Broadway Happy Fruit And Vegetable,” a twenty-or-so square foot store with more merchandise crammed in than your average Bed Bath and Beyond—and that includes microwave popcorn.

2) The Hobos

I’ll be honest, I expected a little more from Philadelphia here. See, the hobos I’m used to are professionals. When you’re in line at a food cart and they ask you for money “to get something to eat,” New York bums have the professional courtesy to pretend to wait in the line until you’re at least fifty feet away. Philly bums, by contrast, are off the moment the green hits their hand. Although the money is clearly going to the same place in both cases, I find this completely inappropriate. Perhaps Wharton should start an initiative to teach Philly hobos appropriate decorum for transactions like these.

3) The Subway

Sure, I like walking down a 750-step rape tunnel as much as the next guy, but there’s something, shall we say, nostalgic, about a subway entrance that looks like it’s actually been used in the past 15 years. And call me old-fashioned, but I find it equally romantic when the train actually comes. The one leg up that Philly has in this department is the lack of an “L” train, which severely cuts the douchebag quotient throughout the entire system.

4) Everyone’s from the New York Area

Wait, nevermind.

5) Chipotle

Chipotle is the single most important thing missing from Philadelphia. For those of you who haven’t had it (and do consider yourself insane if that’s the case), Chipotle serves burritos and tacos, plus guacamole that’s laced with crack. At least that’s how it seems; I ate there three times a week at home, and coming to Penn made me feel like a heroin addict quitting cold turkey. Then one day someone took me to Qdoba on 40th Street, suggesting that it might be a good substitute. Eating there was like someone saying to the heroin addict in me “Here, take this cigarette, that should do it for you.”
Fortunately, a Burrito Bol at a New York Chipotle this weekend restored my faith in humanity (and in food in general, which Penn Dining hasn’t been helping). Plus it led me to send a rabid, all-caps email to Chipotle on Monday that read:

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE OPEN IN PHILADEPHIA!!!!! I CAN’T STAND QDOBA ANY LONGER!!!!!!!

I guess Penn brings out the junkie in all of us.

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