The first time I visited New York back in 2014 it made a real impact. I remember leaving Penn Station and getting my first glimpse of it. 34th street. Magnificent! Its skyscrapers immediately entered my dreams.
For a man bored by nearly anything I found this place genuinely interesting. It was a shot of adrenaline. People moved with purpose and had a few fleeting moments of what might have been happiness.
Two years later I return and this time the city does not escape my scathing analysis. The streets are full of homeless people. Inequality and disconcerting contrasts abound. Everybody is fake. Everywhere a saccharine nasal while. Our waitress in IHOP doesn’t even break her “have a nice day” character when she spills boiling hot coffee on her hand (despite my obvious concern).
The citizens are deluded like Kenny Power in Eastbound and Down but without the humour and the self-reflexivity.
Beneath the surface everyone is miserable. This is evidenced by the rank manipulation of New York advertising (much worse than normal advertising). Ads on the subway invite you to augment you breasts for a few thousand, obtain some life-changing medical assistant qualification or self-diagnose yourself with ADHD in order to obtain Adderall.
This extends to billboards in Brooklyn which allow pretend freelancers to not feel guilty for not having a real job. All the while girlfriends complain bitterly aloud on the subways about how their freelance boyfriends are not going anywhere and they want to dump them.