Or without the voiceover and with raw natural sound:
The first time I went to New York was with my Mom a long, long time ago. We were on this Amtrak trip from Georgia to Boston, New York and Philadelphia. We went to all of the states that Southerners would call the Yankee states.
So we arrived at Grand Central Station and we got out of the train, and that was my introduction to New York, was getting out of a train inside Grand Central Station and just being like:
Because I was living in Athens, Georgia, at the time which had a population of like, I don’t know. 30,000. I think the population of Athens, Georgia, would go up to like 60,000 during the school year, because that’s where the University of Georgia is.
So anyway, we step out of the train at Grand Central Station and you can imagine (I’m like, you know, 9 or 10 years old, or maybe 11) and I was just like:
Wow, look at all these people!
And then my mom was like:
OK, come on, let’s go outside and we’ll get a cab.
So we walk outside Grand Central Station and it’s even more bananas! It was like millions of zillions of people outside. I couldn’t believe it.
And then we got in this cab. We get in the backseat, and I am not lying to you, we were in the back of that cab for, I don’t know, a couple of minutes, two minutes, three minutes — and we didn’t make any progress!
We were stuck in a traffic jam the second we got in the cab, so we didn’t even get to the end of the block after minutes! And it wasn’t looking like it was gonna get any better.
So my mom paid and we got out.
And then we walked a million miles to where we were going, because New York is so gigantic, you know.
So then my mom took me to go to Chinatown, which was wild, and we took a tour and I remember, during the tour, the tour guide was talking about how there were more people in one square mile in Chinatown than most American cities or something.
It was pretty mind-blowing.
I remember at the time thinking like:
Why do people even live here? It’s just too big. It’s just, it’s such a big city.
I just didn’t understand it.
So then I never went back as a kid, and then I didn’t go back as an adult until many years later when I was starting to see this woman, and she lived in New York, and I was living in Chicago.
I was working for the Chicago Sun-Times as the TV critic. I was there the same time as Roger Ebert.
So this woman sort of swept me off my feet sexually and romantically. I was just spending a ton of time flying to New York, and she was flying to Chicago.
And the Sun-Times, my employer, they let me work at home, so they didn’t even know that I was flying to New York and staying there for like four weeks at a time, or six weeks at a time.
But it worked out, because one time I was in New York and I was staying at my lover’s tiny little apartment that cost 2,400 bucks a month for like 350 square feet, and one day I got a call on my mobile phone from Good Morning America. They wanted me to come on the show first thing in the morning, and they thought I was in Chicago. So they were going to have me do some kind of remote, but I was like:
Hey, I’m in New York. I can actually come to the New York set.
They were thrilled, and they put me in a limousine.
Anyway, I guess at that point during that relationship, New York to me was a very wild thing. Because, I mean, I was having a ton of sex, just an amazing amount of sex that was really wild. It was like honeymoon amounts of sex.
And then I’m on Good Morning America.
Plus, my lover gave me my first real glimpse of New York.
Oh, there are things about it, like it’s a walking city, and all that stuff, that was really super great.
And then I left the Chicago Sun-Times and I went back to Las Vegas, where I had lived and worked before, because Vegas is home to me.
My lover from New York followed me to Vegas, and then that relationship didn’t work out, and that was very upsetting to me and probably to her as well …
But let’s just stay on track with New York.
Several years later, I got into a relationship with a different woman from New York who was living in Las Vegas, and occasionally we would fly to New York and the Hamptons.
We would take in New York, and those trips with her were not as good, because we were staying in hotels and people’s homes.
She knew some billionaires, so I got to meet some billionaires, hang out with them, and I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but they were really great. Apparently not all billionaires are awful.
So, anyway, that relationship came to an end and then I didn’t go back to New York for a long, long time.
And then in December, I went with yet another lover from Las Vegas who was not from New York, but had been before.
This December 2022 trip was really not a good trip for a lot of reasons. I’m not going to get into it, because I don’t feel like having a big therapeutic pity party about why this trip sucked so bad.
I will say that we had a lot of great times at four museums.
But here are my top thoughts about New York.
One: I love that it’s a walking city.
You can walk anywhere, and you can jump on a train, and you can end up at Central park.
Two: Central Park is incredible. I love the park, man. If I lived in New York and I had a bunch of money, I would definitely live on the park, like John Lennon did for Howard Stern.
Three: … I guess I don’t have a third thing.
Let’s do the cons list.
The cons list starts with how impersonal the city is.
There’s a lot of debate back and forth between people about whether it’s a nice city or whether it’s a mean city, depending on your viewpoint and what kind of person you are, and if you’re there long enough.
But here’s the thing.
I’ve known a lot of people in New York and from New York, and I still have friends from New York that have left New York and don’t live there anymore, and …
I don’t mean to disparage the people of New York, but I guess my experience is that a lot of New Yorkers see other people as disposable, because you’ve got millions and millions of people.
So it’s like that Seinfeld episode where he would just break up with a woman, because she has big hands.
You just dispose of people.
I think the dating app culture across America is similar to that now. If you’ve ever been on a dating app, you’ve got like 500 people who like you and you’re trying to figure out how you’re going to keep or get rid of them.
I think New York is very similar to that, it’s just one big mass level, face-to-face, disposal, all the time.
I don’t like the fact that I feel like I’m in a high school in New York. Like, if you’re in high school, you’re walking down the hallways and it’s just locker, locker, locker, locker, locker.
When you’re in New York, you’re walking down the street, and instead of lockers, it’s restaurant, bar, shoes, restaurant, bar, shoes, restaurant, bar, clothes, restaurant, bar, shoe repair.
I actually don’t mind the dirtiness of New York. Some people, like if you’re from Oklahoma, you probably think New York is super dirty, and I just have not had that experience.
I know that a lot of New Yorkers have these experiences where they say like:
I walked over a dead body.
But I never had anything like that.
Anyway so that’s my experience of New York.
A lot of people love it.
A lot of people hate it.
I’m kind of ambivalent about it.
And I’m always glad to come home to Las Vegas, and I just can’t wait for that plane to arrive and see my city.
That’s it for New York.
I love you very much. I hope you’re having a great day, and enjoy New York if you go.