New Yorkers: They still find D.C. wanting!
So says the Washington Post's Monica Hesse, who today wrote about a gathering of transplanted New Yorkers [TADC note: Actually, I very much enjoyed the WP article], who deliver tired criticisms of D.C. — or any city that's not New York, for that matter: you can't eat on Metro, there's sales tax on newspapers, the bagels, oh gosh, the bagels.
But here's the thing, and I, a real New Yorker, want to be explicitly clear: These people are not real New Yorkers. They're Manhattanites. Even their name, Fellowship of Unassimilated Manhattan Exiles, admits that they're not New Yorkers. Yes, there's a difference between New Yorkers and Manhattanites; there's a huge difference. Real New Yorkers have lived some of their lives in the outer boroughs...
And I think you can see where this is going... The whole thing continues on for another couple of paragraphs doing exactly what Binckes accuses FUME, which by the way Hesse points out chose the word "Manhattanites" instead of "New Yorkers" for the catchy acronym (how very DC of them!), of doing -- generalizing and complaining. TBD is exhibiting a classic case of reverse haterism, which is never effective because of its inherent, unintentional irony.
While Binckes is upset that FUME rags on the lack of delicious bagels in the District (a legitimate complaint, actually, considering this eighth largest metropolitan area in the United States so far boasts just one bagel shop I've found of note and it's in Arlington), or that people talk about their jobs too much here, he has no problem ragging on "Manhattanites" for not being "real New Yorkers" and, worse, being all just a bunch of close-minded, rampant snobs. He writes:
Manhattanites have a tendency to stay sheltered on their little island and rarely venture across the East River, except to get out of town. Ask them where you can find a street littered with excellent South American steakhouses (Northern Boulevard in Astoria) or where to find some of the best Jewish bakeries (Avenue M in Brooklyn), and you'll get ice-cold stares...
While that may be true for some Manhattanites, I know for a fact that's not true for all. I know plenty of people from Manhattan, including my former roommate with whom I lived in an East Village walk-in closet, who is privy to a lot of what the boroughs have to offer. In fact, this particular woman does most of her shopping in Queens because she knows they boast the best and cheapest tailors. Then there's the couple I know who, despite being New York, I'm sorry, Manhattanite lawyers (I guess they must have taken the Manhattan Bar?), still manage to make it out to parties and shows and random warehouse raves in Brooklyn on the reg (and please pronounce that as Kenny Powers would, thank you). Then there's also one of my best friends who lives in Elmhurst, Queens, which is *gasp!* even farther away from Manhattan than Astoria and which also, I suppose, makes him the realest of the real New Yorkers that Binckes opines about. But guess what? This friend of mine complains about DC with a fervor that sometimes even irritates me when he visits!
Look, DC can be a difficult town to move to. Actually, scratch that, any town can be a difficult town to move to because, much like pimpin', change also ain't easy. When I moved from Moscow to Boston I became near-clinically depressed. I was complaining nonstop about all the Ugg footwear and Northface fleece. Then of course, having gone from Boston to New York, I complained incessantly about the high rents and trash-filled streets. And then came my move to DC and, well, you've read the title of this blog, right? Bitchin' and moanin' and droppin' metaphorical bags of flaming dog sh*t on things that are initially off-putting is the human way!
And here's the thing: complaining, whining or whatever you want to call it isn't necessarily even a bad or negative thing. Actually, it's quite enjoyable and often a positive signifier for the organization of a real community. As seen via FUME and this mind-blowingly awesome blog you find yourself reading right now, besides being entertaining (especially if it's combined with humor), kvetching also has the power to bring people together, not only to bitch, but to create community, to allow like-minded individuals in a town that sometimes feels wrong to come together. Now I ask you, is that such a horrible thing? In my mind, as long as no one's going around hurting people or dropping literal bags of dog sh*t on this city, I say it certainly is not. It's good! In fact, a lot of the best ideas are born out of complaints about the inadequacies of others. Take, for example, my post yesterday about horribly outdated, lame and otherwise totally inadequate DC tourism videos. I vow to make a better one. See? It works!
And so I say go for it FUME, as long as you're having fun doing it. And who knows? Maybe while you're at it, you'll all pool your resources together and remedy the dire bagel situation...