100 Reasons To Not Kill Yourself: #80.

As one resident I recently met told me: “The exteriors of the buildings are covered in a thick layer of filth, and the streets smell like cat piss… But there’s just something about New York that makes you love it and want to be there.”

That’s as good as a description, besides, “It’s the dirty version of Toronto!”, that I’ve ever heard of the Big Apple, so we’re going to go with it.

#80: New York City.

While there are certainly more enlightening, serene and geographically stunning locales on the planet, NYC is one of those places you just have to visit before you die (of natural causes, of course).

Schmackary’s Cookies (the best thing about Hell’s Kitchen besides Daredevil). NBC HQ. Midtown Comics. And of course, Broadway. For me these places define my New York experiences.


To be clear, no one told me that you really don’t need a police escort when visiting NYC for the first time…


But I’d never have visited the Big Apple in the first place without my daughter and her incredible passion for live theater. She was so overwhelmed the first time we strolled down 42nd street that she couldn’t string two words together. I’m still not sure if it was a commentary on my parenting skills or not but I’d never seen my kid that happy.

There’s usually a chemical inducement at play when a young person is that loopy but it was all about Hamilton the musical, baby! Broadway has helped my child to open up and be transformed by something so much bigger than herself. 

Granted, she’s never gripped my arm tighter (kid’s like a boa constrictor when she really needs to be) than when were making our way across Times Square and NY’s other pedestrian highways and byways for the first time. She eventually learned to accept that New York (and all big cities) are populated by individuals who wander about and spout colorful declarations like…

“Why did that tramp leave me for potato salad? I loved that bitch!”

“The Day of Divine Judgement is coming… So clean your socks!”

“Got any spare change, pal? I got a penguin to return home and I don’t have bus fare to Hoboken!”

That last guy was obviously a big Bugs Bunny fan. (Google it, kids.) But in all seriousness, if you’re a student of human nature you HAVE to go to New York someday. There are performers of every stripe and motivation; some actually care about the craft while others care only for the coin. You’ll encounter souls who were once kids who were full of life and dreams, but are now lost, some beyond saving. I actually began to cry as I watched a man many would regard as a hobo gently rock back and forth against a dirty wall on a dirty building on a dirty street. If you looked hard enough you could see a little boy playing in a field of green; the boy was long dead and the man was soon to join him.

Lovers, fighters, dreamers, two-legged animals, criminals, watchmen, politicians, they all congregate to this bustling metropolis for reasons all their own.

New York is a living, thriving (though it sometimes appears otherwise) organism. It has it’s own ecosystem (and yes, part of it does smell like cat pee), and tribes. There are towering testaments to glass and concrete beside enduring monuments to architecture of a bygone era when human beings actually cared about what they were building. If you can, take your time and really explore the seemingly-endless facets New York’s dual nature; the city is cutting-edge and retro all at once.

Seeing it for yourself, and seeing how it changes you, is certainly worth living for.

See you in the lobby, kids…

About The Hook

Husband. Father. Bellman. Author of The Bellman Chronicles. Reader of comic books and observer and chronicler of the human condition. And to my wife's eternal dismay, a mere mortal and non-vampire. I'm often told I look like your uncle, cousin, etc. If I wore a hat, I'd hang it on a hat rack in my home in Niagara Falls, Canada. You can call me The Hook, everyone else does.
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28 Responses to 100 Reasons To Not Kill Yourself: #80.

  1. Theresa says:

    Yes! It is an awesome experience! I was dumbfounded, speechless the first time I went there on a bus trip to see The Phantom of the Opera. My head was on a swivel and my sense of smell was on high alert! LOL! I grew up in Philly, so naturally I didn’t think NYC would be any different than Center City Philadelphia. Was I wrong! Yeah there were the usual suspects, but the city itself is magnificent! Everyone should go at least once in their lifetime! It’s an experience you’ll truly never forget.

  2. The trip with your daughter is familiar. But hey! I’m the last person to criticise recycling on WP. As for, New York my very first trip outside the UK took me there. My then girlfriend and I thought, ‘Couple of days max. Then trains to New England for the fall trees.’ Didn’t happen, but we did survive the Apple’s earliest snowfall for 27 years.

  3. Doug in Oakland says:

    Never been to NYC, but the Bay Area had a similar effect on me to what you describe. It just felt like anything was possible here, and I very much wanted to be a part of that. Sometimes when I’m feeling lost or overcome by the rat race, I go up to the Lawrence Hall of Science on the hill overlooking the East Bay and get a little jolt of that original feeling that drew me here like a big magnet.

  4. I lived in the NYC metro area for four years. Loved it. Had a place on W57th between 8th and 9th.

  5. Mark Myers says:

    Hope you helped with the penguin.

  6. jessierenea says:

    New York is on my traveling bucket list !!! I’m determined to go one day!! I’ve heard so many good things about it. One of my close friends went last year and she didn’t get to stay very long but in the time she did stay…. she said there was SO MUCH to explore! I’m definitely going one day! Great post !!

  7. Tara says:

    It used to be my home! I went once with my then-boyfriend and two friends in my freshman year in college, saw NYU and said – I want to be HERE. And a year and a half later, I did it. Best three years of my young life. Once it grabs a place in your heart and soul, New York never leaves. Haven’t been for a few years, but planning a weekend soon.

  8. Barbara CASWELL says:

    Hook, I love your Blogs so much🤗
    Libraries are a real great place to go when life get in the way. The piece and quite is what I love best and the BOOKS. You can have any Adventure or several History lessons. A library is so important to a community it’s a place your children can and have fun and adults and seniors can enjoy time with family and friend or make new ones. Hook, you are one amazing writer so please keep em coming ok. I truly truly enjoy them. ❤❤❤

  9. curvyroads says:

    Yes! NYC is a must-see!

  10. LOVE NYC! It has been a while since I was there but I want to go back in the worst way! There are things to do, people to see, food to eat… etc! Great reason to be alive!! 😉

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