A new frontier

Recently a person and I were having a conversation about, basically, “You have spent too much uninterrupted time in New York [7 years] and you should spend some time away.” I disagreed with him. “There are whole neighborhoods I haven’t been to yet!” He was like (all sarcastic): “Oh no, you’ve never been to Midwood! You don’t want to die without having seen Midwood!” It remains true that I’ve never been to Midwood, but right now I am in the midst of a lifetime-first visit to Kips Bay. Kips Bay is, basically, Murray Hill but slightly further north south. Like most of East Manhattan above 14th St. , it appears to be first and foremost a safe place for people to move into generic parentally-funded high rise apartments right after they graduate from college. At the street level there are pretty much just Duane Reades and Thai and Mexican restaurants. Everything is very boring and quiet during the day because everyone is working in different high rises a few blocks west. If you want to find some local color — some bohemian types — you’ll have to go to the public library. Even if you are not looking to find local color but are just looking to find free wifi you’ll have to go to the public library.

So here I am, sharing a table with a middle-aged man with no neck who is tsking loudly whenever someone speaks or answers their verboten cell phone because, I guess, these noises distract him from his perusal of the encyclopedia. To his left sit: a severe cardiganed lady from severe cardiganed lady central casting, a large person of indeterminate gender reading the latest Catherine Coulter, and a black dude who is evidently so surprised by everything he is reading in AM New York that he has to have some kind of grunted verbal response to each sentence. Well, that Lehman Brothers stuff is shocking! Also someone, I am coming to realize, definitely smells like poop.

11 comments to A new frontier

  • Tim

    Please edit this post and describe the perverts looking at porn on the computers. I’ve never been in a library where at least half of the patrons using the computers are middle aged men oggling at pornagraphy. It happens all the time at the library near Houston and Crosby.

    *breathes and pants heavily*

  • Nerdalie

    FYI, Kips Bay is actually from 24th St. to 33rd St. beginning at 2nd Ave. going East to the river, meaning that it’s south of Murray Hill. I should know because I live in one of those bland high-rises funded by my parents. Yes, the neighborhood is boring and there are no good bars save for Rodeo Bar and the food choices aren’t great and my neighbors are old people or frat dudes, but it’s not all bad. The East Village is close by! Cabs home from the LES are cheap! It’s almost Gramercy Park! I figure I’m not the only one who would move from Greenpoint to Kips Bay given the opportunity.

  • surlybastard

    Please post more descriptions of New York’s flotsam and jetsam.

  • emily

    Thank you, Nerdalie: I have corrected my geographical mistake, lest anyone get lost on his way to Kips Bay.

  • bennett willi madd


    also the movie theater!

  • Aaron

    If you like Kips Bay, you’ll love Turtle Bay. And then there’s Tudor City…
    And it’s refreshing for someone to admit that their parents pay the rent, so good for you Nerdalie. I don’t think I’ve ever met a trust funder who didn’t cling to the fiction that sweet daddy didn’t pay the bills, no matter how many unemployment spells and days spent running ‘errands’ I heard about.

  • the library on jersey street in Soho has the best clientele I’ve experienced. Most people look like grad students and there’s only the occasional homeless and/or religious patron. The entrance smells like a Chelsea gay’s bathroom. Plus, there’s a teen zone!

  • arthur

    I was born and raised in NYC and I have lived in and out of it for some odd 40 years and I must say you are really a New Yorker.

    What the H**l are you doing in a public library, didn’t anyone school you that that is where the public goes?

    Keep on keeping on.

  • Gay Blade

    @ Rebecca-

    After reading gay fiction at Housing Works I trek down to the Jersey street SoHo branch to get my daily fix of gay internet pornography. That place is like a huge underground lair of gayness. Descending the stairs is like descending into a Dante-esque world of anarchy. I’ve met many lonely gay men there who I’ve taken home and demon wrestled with. I know these hot grad students you speak of. Mmmmm…

  • Nerdalie

    I would like to clarify that I and my boyfriend pay rent to the ‘rents – it’s not a trust-fund situation. But yeah, they own the place and were nice enough to help us get out of our crumbling Greenpoint loft before the roof came down on us.

  • quarterempty

    hey I live in a dump in GRIPS (between Gramercy and Kips Bay) and you’re totally right: this neighborhood blows. On my walk to work in the morning, i pass by three D’Agastinos and four Dunkin’ Donuts. On my walk home I have shove my way through the ex-jocks and douchebags on cell phones crowding the streets in front of the many overpriced irish bars trying to explain to people how to get here. There are two Subway sandwich shops between me and the nearest subway. The only takeout open after 10P is ziggis, whose pizza tastes exactly like government cheese squares we used to get in middle school. Still, rent’s slightly cheaper than most neighborhoods in Manhattan, and it is surprisingly centrally located, a 15-minute walk from the east village, astor place, union square, chelsea, midtown. I never came through the neighborhood before I moved here, and I’ll never come back after I leave, but it’s fine suburban living in the city. In 20 years, we’ll have the T line to swiftly carry us down to the lower east side, which by then will look exactly like Kips Bay anyway.

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