“Let’s be honest, we’re still going to be getting this drunk in our 30s.”
“Fair… But eventually we’ll have kids and settle down.”
“Nah, we’ll just be drunk around the kids.”
New York is often hailed as the epicenter of arrested development – the perfect little petri dish for nurturing one’s bad choices and self-obsession. It’s so true, and it’s exactly why so many people sigh and say, “Oh, New York… What a great place to be young.” It’s exactly why so many of the married and child-rearing move outside the city to places like Ohio, or Jersey City.
When I first moved here, one of my friends referred to the city as The Adult Playground. I didn’t exactly know what to expect from that description, but I liked the phrase so much that I’d bounce up and down yelling, “Adult playgrounddddddddd!” every time we walked down the street doing something New York-y.
My first night out as a New York resident, I ventured down to Alphabet City. I’d never been to the East Side, but I’d heard Alphabet City in so many of my friends’ cool new York stories.
“They have a bar that’s camping-themed! You can get s’mores there!!”
I love s’mores.
As I walked up the subway stairs to the fabled city, I had high hopes that here I’d find The Adult Playground. I assumed that Avenue A was a grown-up-fucking-Candyland; the streets would be lined with sex, they’d lead me through the magical forest of illegal substances down to the river of sample sales and never-ending happy hours.
I ended up in a 200 square foot AC-less basement apartment. I drank grape juice mixed with some old vodka out of a cup that had definitely not been washed since its previous use and got hit on by a guy whose hard sell was that he could fix my guitar for free. When I got home I threw up on my American apparel dress.
And this, ladies and gentleman, is exactly what it’s like to live in The Adult Playground. Sure, you might have a job, and a life, and a bunch of other things you use to justify that you’re different than you were in college, but you know you’re just one happy hour invite away from waking up at 4 AM in your bed, next to the wrapper or something you assume you ate, but you’re not sure what it was, and a bunch of missed calls from your coworkers and/or friends. Even the most responsible New Yorkers I know have stories like this… It’s not us, it’s New York! We promise.
As you may know from Facebook, I’ve requested the help of all of you in providing me with solid examples of life in the playground. I don’t feel that simply explaining what it’s like is enough, so here are items I’ve pulled from your emails, gchats, AIM, texts, conversations, etc, etc, etc. Don’t worry, I’ve changed identifying details – thank you all so much for helping me out!
Here’s what it’s like to be a 20nothing in New York City. If you’d like to turn this into a drinking game, take a shot every time you see the word ‘drunk’:
1: did you have a good night?
2: yeah i did
worked out a tiny bit, but not much
then we made dinner and ate pot lollipops which was fun
1: do those really really work?
we ate two and i felt a little relaxed
and like, body high-ish
we also had had some wine
but i didn’t feel drunk
so I think it worked?
I was a bouncer at a series of parties that had a reputation for getting VERY out of hand. Fifty percent of the time the cops shut the party down before 1am. One night in particular we used a Venue called “Castle V”. It was owned by a 50-year-old who called himself Vox Illuminati. Vox may have had a few screws loose. We were setting up before the party when the FNDY and NYPD, who’d gotten wind of the party, came by to give us a friendly warning that if the party happened it would be shut down. This friendly conversation ended in Vox screaming “You’re going to tell ME WHAT TO DO?!?!?! I WILL END YOU!!!!!” while the terrified looking FDNY fire inspector quickly ran out the door.
a couple thing
that you’ll find funny
i’m still drunk
just walked into work late ‘ from my doctors appt’
“I assumed he was as unserious about the plans we made as I was, but I forgot he probably wasn’t drunk on a Tuesday.”
Email, attempting to attend a party:
Last week they sent me home when my cold became too conspicuous. Maybe I can be conspicuously drunk and they’ll send me home for that too.
We talked for a few minutes, and I gathered that she was quite wealthy, just from the way she rambled on about her dad and his jet, yacht, etc. I must have really hit it off with her, because I was invited out for a night on the town with her and her friends. “I don’t have any nice clothes…” was the best excuse I could muster. Her reply? “Fuck that, we run this city.” And with that, we set off.
We made it back to her suite on 5th Avenue at about 6:30 in the morning. I slept for about 45 minutes, and then woke up to her, out-of-her-mind and yelling that it was time for me to go to work. She said my ride would be ready in about ten minutes. It was a helicopter. No shit. I hate helicopters. I puked. I got back to my hotel, showered, changed clothes, and went to my meeting.
1: how was your weekend boo?
I was laughing thinking about fri
until all the sudden i was too drunk and Manuele, who I’ve never spoken to before and I don’t think he speaks English, was trying to convince me to come home with him
and i was like NO. what?! NO
1: SHUT your mouth
2: so Susie pushed me in a cab and i went home and got sick
are you alright?
2: yeah, luckily when i’m too drunk my reaction is to leave immediately…
it’s the one smart thing i do
My friend was throwing a “Dance Party at the End of the World” event, in which he’d crafted a dance mix, interspersed with Orson Welles’ radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds. We were to dress in our 1920’s finest, and the drink menu was strickly gin martinis. I have an unfortunate (impressive?) ability to appear only slightly intoxicated when I am in fact bordering on black out drunk. I don’t slur my words, but had anyone known how far gone I was, they would’ve been watching me. I joined my friend outside to have a cigarette, and before I knew it I was agreeing to share a cab with her back uptown. Without my bag. Without my keys. Without my phone… Dressed in only a black velvet gown and duster.
1: How was the night?
2: Oh you know… drunk emailed my boss…. drunk emailed that guy I was dating earlier in the summer.
1: Ohhhhhh, and?
2: It wasn’t bad though. I was just drunk-eating something he likes, so it reminded me of him.
Needless to say, the cops did come to shut the party down at about 11 PM. Instead of opening the doors for the cops when they came knocking, Vox made the bouncers lock and barricade the only entrance to the building. A 30 minute stand-off ensued while Vox stood behind the door, screaming obscenities at the cops. This was ended by an FDNY latter truck lifting 2 FDNY fire fighters, and 6 cops in the bucket onto the roof. When Vox saw this he jumped out one of the windows, onto the neighboring roof, and then ran across to a tree, where he hid from the police for 2 hours.
I got into my building because the outside door never locked properly, but it turned out my roommate was visiting his family in NJ. I spent the night (which dropped down to 12 degrees) shivering, drunk, crying, kicking the door, and dozing in our stairwell. And that’s why I don’t drink gin martinis.
The road may not be paved with adderall, and gingerbread houses would result in terrifying rat infestations, but we do live in the closest thing to an adult playground I can imagine. It’s pretty fantastic.
Peace, love and Candyland,