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Monday, November 14, 2011

A Little Complainin'

I've been told that I am a complainer. Convenient, since there is no better place for a complainer than New York City. Here, complaining can be indulged in at any depth or breadth imaginable. One can cut a broad swath or can specialize. For example, a daily commuter traveling on a particularly troubled subway line could confine his or her complaints to just the interminable atrocities committed there on nearly a daily basis.

Today I discovered an interesting blog - I Hate New York City (.com). There, I found 265 comments over 150 pages, spanning the range of love/hate sentiments of New York City. Within those comments, I found the vitriol and outrage which many have over the city. It is a virtual shrine to complaints. The range of topics was well-covered: noise, dirt, rats, smells, trash, rudeness, crowds, costs, concrete, lack of nature, dangers, crime, hot summers, oppressiveness, and pollution.

I might add that even though many of us bemoan the lack of nature, there is still opportunity to complain about plant growth, even when considering plants generally seen as an element of old world charm, such as wisteria and ivy.

In neighborhoods such as Greenwich Village, with a preponderance of row houses, one can find many brownstones with ivy growing up the face or rear of the buildings. Its growth is, however, quite rapid, and for those who dwell in or manage the building, it is more an irritant than a source of charm. Not only do they grow very rapidly, requiring frequent pruning, but these climbers also are destructive to the masonry where they maintain an aggressive foothold.

In one apartment where I lived in the 1970s, my windows would slowly become obscured with ivy growing on the exterior of the building. Periodically, this required hanging out the window on a 4th floor and tearing the offending growth away. The task always felt like an annoyance which was someone else's job, but in New York, to wait for those responsible to tend to a chore is often to wait in perpetuity. I, like many, take things into my own hands. And why not? It just gives me more to complain about - ivy or wisteria creepin' 'round my window is just perfect for when I don't want to leave home but still want to do a little complainin' :)


Leslie said...

Beautiful...I couldn't tell if that was man made sculpture or Mother Earth made art. The resilience of Nature is something I've got no complaints about!

GahdShemaya said...

It's not just "complaining", it's kvetching.

Francis Oliverio said...


Your blog site is very interesting. I have always admired New York from afar and your blogs tell different stories of the city.