How to: Move From NYC to DC

February 4, 2010 at 3:53 pm 2 comments

This isn’t just a tutorial. It is a shoulder to cry on. Despite the promises of lower rent, better quality of life, and space to breathe, it will always be hard to leave New York City. And so, after completing this brutal task last year, I’ve compiled a list of things that make leaving the world’s best city just a little more bearable when switching to our nation’s capitol.

1) Gloat in spacious luxury

Sit in your brand new apartment, wherever it is you are. Run around the room. Do jumping jacks in front of your couch (couch!), because hey, you have the space, and your parents didn’t even need to help you pay for it.

2) Find new, interesting foods to replace your NYC faves.

Stock up on bagels, knishes, hamentashen and bubble tea (sigh) while you’re still packing. Save all of those Gristedes deli coffee cups so you can brew coffee in your new pad and still have that grimy, burned taste at hand (so necessary). And, once done, revel in the fact that wherever you are, Chipotle will probably be cheaper, and the mexican food less shitty in general.

3) Drive you car.

Oh my god. You have a car, yet you don’t live in the suburbs. How is this possible? Oh wait, it’s just not possible in NYC. This has pros and cons, of course. While you used to resign yourself to taking the subway, you can now jet from point A to point B at your convenience. And while you used to get shitfaced knowing you could take the subway home, you now have to carefully plan on your next DD. God bless little sisters below 21.

I must confess, however, that having this mix of urban living and car mobility is really hard for me to soak in. Sentences like “Yeah, I’ll meet you at the cafe then we can walk over to the bookstore, but wait, let me drive to the supermarket and get some groceries” just BLOW MY MIND! And while we are on the subject of grocery stores, let’s just take a minute here to scream with joy over the fact that the ones in DC are wide enough for TWO PEOPLE TO WALK IN AT THE SAME TIME. Holy. Shit.

4) Make friends with sincere, genuine people.

I always knew I had made a new friend at an NYC cocktail party when they somehow managed to get snarkier and more cynical than even I could stomach. Unfortunately, that doesn’t fly so well in the district. What? You have to make positive insights and encouraging statements? I guess it’s OK, since the reverse of that is having people be incredibly nice and heartfelt, to the point of being totally disarming.

Shit, I can’t remember the last time I took a straight compliment in NYC. Now, it is hard for me to add a “NOT” to the end of every encouraging word I utter. Maybe I am going to become a better person? Who am I kidding? I still haven’t seen Requiem for a Dream.


I think there is a lot to be said for having your “neighborhood”. As a little girl, I used to believe that waving at your grocer, bank teller, postman and bartender in the same block was something only reserved for Disney’s Belle. But no, that’s just how DC works. It should be claustrophobic, but the truth is that it always keeps you on your toes, adding weird layers of meaning to your life:

“Wait, there’s that dude I made out with, picking up his dry cleaning! OMG- do we have the same jansport backpack??” “Hey, is that my high school teacher buying groceries? Why is he buying Luna bars? Doesn’t he know those are for women??” and, my favorite incident of all, “Whoa, there’s that ultraconservative judge with his black boyfriend!”

6) There is enough shit to do that you don’t get bored, but not too much that you go batshit crazy

I remember the times I would decide to “stay in” in NYC and feel terrible guilty. “But there’s a Pixar showing at the Met!” “Today is free concert day in the park!” “A DeerPark truck on 139th broke down and is having free, filtered-water slip-n-slide rides! (I wish)” ALL ON THE SAME DAY. The result? I would just end up having a panic attack and eating icecream on top of my dishwasher.

I guess that’s the good thing about DC. I’m never overwhelmed, but there’s always weird gallery openings/house parties/electro-club shindigs/impromptu dance parties to be had. And, of course, you can always count on running into your favorite barista.

7) Concerts here are better. Period.

I fucking hated going to concerts before I moved here. Going to places like Pier 54, Hammerstein, Bowery, McCarren or South Street Seaport always made me nauseous. The crush of people, the overhyped lines, and the soaring ticket prices were enough to turn me away. But for some reason, DC continues to score awesome bands at its smaller, intimate venues. I find myself going to concerts at least twice a month (WHOA), finding enough room at the bar to get a drink, and never having to shove to the front just to catch a glimpse of the band from my short vantage point. I used to hate live music, but thanks to DC, it’s growing on me.

8 ) Scale.

Manhattan may have skyscrapers, but DC happens to have weird, poorly zoned monuments. I can’t tell you how many times I have left some sweaty, cramped, bar only to accidentally walk on the steps of a masonic temple, coming face-to-face with a sphinx. I guess this is normal…but I still can’t get used to it. Just looking out the window of my small-scale, bohemian neighborhood and looking at the Washington Monument is enough to make me realize that life can be so, so much more. Crap.

9) Hmm

10) Okay, listen, DC ain’t no NYC. But it’s cute. It’s small. It’s the perfect mix of urban sanity. And it’s my new, adorable city.


Entry filed under: Miscellaneous Musings, Olivia. Tags: , , .

Gary Oldman Bono Called In Sick

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Tom  |  February 5, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    I here there is a bar in DC called The Science Club.

    I must go to this bar. Or you could and tell me if it sucks! Hopefully it’d be a good time…NOT.

  • 2. parkrangerolivia  |  February 6, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Oh snap! Do I smell an assignment? Getting shitfaced for my readers and reporting back? DEAL.


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