Lifestyle

Why I will never raise my kids in NYC

Published On 07/20/2014 Published On 07/20/2014
CARRIE DENNIS

I live in New York City. I love it, I think. This place is so tremendous, in fact, that if/when I do become a Dad, I sure as hell won’t let my kids grow up here.

Before you say I’m wrong, don’t: this is MY OPINION about where to raise MY CHILDREN, who are EXTREMELY HYPOTHETICAL. This will stop approximately none of you from defaming me in the comments, but it had to be said.

I won’t raise my kids in New York City because this place is a sprawling cesspool of failure and falafel. I don’t want Beatrice & Lucifer (that’s definitely what I’m going to call my children, whatever my wife thinks) growing up feeling like irrelevant specks of matter in a reasonless concrete jungle; that comes later. New York makes you hard & emotionless. Just look at me. I can’t allow NYC to rob my TBD twerps of compassion right off the bat -- I’m counting on them to restore childlike wonder to my heart, not shutter it forever like Gray’s Papaya.

Yes, my heart is a closed hot dog stand. But if I raise Beatrice and Lucifer somewhere else, perhaps their hearts will become artisanal charcuterie boards. I’ve gotta give them a fighting chance, dammit.

CARRIE DENNIS

I want to raise my theoretical spawn free-range and cage-free, so they’ll grow to love sports and become more popular than me. I want them to know what grass looks like. Actually, I want Beatrice to dare Lucifer to eat grass, and watch his dumb ass do it, and swell with pride because MY SPECULATIVE SON DOESN’T RUN FROM A DARE. In New York City, I can’t let Lucifer eat grass, because everyone knows the average blade of Gotham green has been peed on by 7.5 people. In addition to just being unsanitary, that’s a real bummer. Life has plenty of bummers in store for my kids, so why start ‘em early?


Have you even SEEN Kids? Q.E.D.


Beatrice and Lucifer should know what a non-cartoon deer looks like. Not because it’s a graceful woodland creature, but so that later, while they’re driving a ZipCar through Rockland County on their way to Storm King for a weekend away because the city “is just too much right now”, they’ll know that the brown furry thing on the side of the road may SPRINT DIRECTLY INTO YOUR CAR FOR NO EFFING REASON. You can’t learn defensive deer driving at the Bronx Zoo.

On a borough-by-borough basis, I don’t want to raise my kids anywhere near this place. I’m a pretty bad writer, so I’ll never have a prayer of affording family digs in Manhattan. Ditto for Brooklyn, plus I don’t want BeeBee and Big L to spend their early years drenched in kombucha and ennui. In Staten Island, they will inherit The Wu-Tang Clan’s latter-day shortcomings as their own. Should they take their first steps in the Bronx, I’ve condemned them to a life of small talk with out-of-towners about how bad the Monkey House smells, a fate far worse than smelling the Monkey House. If I raise them in Queens, they’ll root for the Mets.

I won’t raise my kids in NYC because I love the subway system, and I want to keep loving it. While I have all sorts of respect for the parents that sherpa strollers up and down steep station stairs, I’m currently in terrible shape and have no plans to make major fitness improvements by the time I sire offspring.

Bagatelle does not offer paper tablecloths for doodling.


Speaking of trains, I know I’ll have to make sacrifices for the gift of parenthood. Namely, commuting. I’ll rise at the asscrack of each weekday morning to catch a carpool to catch a train that arrives in Manhattan’s steaming bowels precisely at rush hour. I’ll remember I forgot my umbrella in the mudroom at home right as it starts to pour. I’ll skip happy hour with my coworkers EVERY GODDAMNED THURSDAY AT THE BLARNEY STONE just to hop back on that train to get back in that carpool to see Beatrice & Lucifer before bedtime. I won’t even drink four tallboys on the way home, like all my fellow commuters who don’t have kids.

While we're on the topic of drinking: behind .GIFs of puppies curing cancer on tricycles, and, like... money, there is nothing better than bottomless brunch. I shalt not blaspheme its altar by bringing my children to pierce hangovers with their hysterical squeals. Elsewhere, restaurants are huge. I will ask them to seat us far away from other customers, and request crayons to keep their nimble young minds quietly occupied. Last time I checked, Bagatelle does not offer paper tablecloths for doodling.

On another note, have you even SEEN Kids? Q.E.D., breh.

NYC’s Winters suck, and when I have kids, I want to spend that season comfortably ensconced in some suburban den with a roaring fire while they make lopsided snowmen in the yard. I want Beatrice & Lucifer to know the majesty of the season, not Daddy’s unbridled rage because he sunk to his shins in a slush puddle. I want to come into Midtown to see the tree at 30 Rock, then get the HELL out of there. If they eat yellow snow, I pray that it is their own creation.

CARRIE DENNIS

Growing up in New York City makes you prematurely cynical. I went to college with a dude from the Upper West Side, and he didn’t believe in nihilism. Nihilism! It’s the -ism of not believing in things! How the hell does a kid develop so much jaded skepticism towards the world around him in such a short life?

By growing up in NYC, of course.

I want Beatrice & Lucifer to know the lonely thrill of being in an empty movie theater. I want them to understand what a gas station is. I want them to understand it’s a luxury not to tote your entire life around in a bag at all times. They should know the cheap pride that comes with claiming the school bus’s back seat as their own. Do you think Lucifer is good at climbing trees? I’d better not raise him here, or else I’ll have to schlepp him to Park South just to find out HOLY HELL HE IS NOT GOOD AT IT.


Does anyone know any good school districts in Jersey?


I won’t raise my children in New York City because I am a know-it-all. If I raise them here, on this people-covered rock teeming with culture, germs, and drugs, they’ll think they know more than I do. I’ll be damned if I can’t enjoy at least a few years of lying to my kids before they get wise.

Beatrice & Lucifer should have real friends, not third-marriage turd-scions of some ruling-caste NYC art family. I’m talking about boys named Billy and girls named Michelle. You know — normals. Amidst these milquetoast suburban monikers, my kids may come to appreciate their oddball appellations. But in this godforsaken place, there’s a Lucifer on every corner.

I won’t raise my kids in NYC because I’ve been selfish for a long time. It’s been great, really. Once I become a parent, I want to be them-ish. But this post-apocalyptic asphalt animal eats your selflessness for breakfast. If we lived in the city, I’d say, “Hey Beatrice & Lucifer, want to go to the planetarium to learn more about our universe?”, hoping to share with them the joy of the cosmos. Three hours later, we’ll be halfway to the Rose Center, waiting for a goddamned shuttle bus transfer that’ll never come. Beatrice will be demanding 16 Handles. Lucifer will be farting profusely. I’ll hate my brood for ruining my Saturday.

New York City is a glorious paradox: a light in the darkness, yet a grim blemish on civilization. It makes you grow up fast and grow up mean, and yes that’s a Johnny Cash lyric but just go with it. From their youngest days, I want Beatrice & Lucifer to look at New York City with healthy fear. That way, if they ever move to this halcyon hellscape as adults, they’ll treat it with respect, and -- if I’ve done my job -- earn their self-confidence by surviving & thriving within its boundaries.

Totally unrelated: anyone know any good school districts in Jersey?

Dave Infante is a senior writer for Thrillist Food & Drink. He does not have children. He’s not trying to tell you what to do with your children. Follow him on Twitter (@dinfontay) and tell him to keep his goddamned parenting opinions to himself anyway.

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