What am I doing here at 4:30 AM instead of sleeping? A week or two ago it was gunfire behind my apartment building; tonight it sounds like either a street party or a riot. I can’t directly see the street from my window (I have a lovely view of a brick wall), but I woke up a half hour ago to the sounds of a large crowd of people shouting, horns blaring, police sirens, and some asshole with his car stereo cranked up loud enough to rattle my windows. It’s still going on right now.

New York is the only city I’ve ever lived in where it’s apparently socially acceptable to park your car on the side of the street in a residential neighborhood at 4 AM, roll down the windows and open all the doors, and blast hip-hop music your car stereo while you and a dozen of your closest gangbanger friends hang out on the sidewalk and smash beer bottles on the pavement and yell at people. The police won’t bother to intercede unless there’s weapons involved.

Actually, I know this happens in certain neighborhoods of plenty of other cities, but this the only city I’ve lived in where I can pull in a good salary and yet still not be able to afford to live in a neighborhood where this sort of thing doesn’t happen on a near-nightly basis, at least not without involving a 90-minute commute.

Speaking of commuting, after work this evening I entered the Columbus Circle subway station and when I got down to the platform, I was immediately overpowered by the stench of body odor and human feces strong enough to literally make me gag… Luckily my train pulled in right away, or else I would’ve had to leave the station before throwing up, and take a different subway line home. WTF?

There’s a lot of great things about NYC, but quality of life certainly isn’t one of them, and I’m now remembering why I got so burned out and moved to Oregon the first time I lived here. Living back in the Cincinnati area (or Oregon or almost anywhere else, for that matter) will no doubt have its own set of frustrations, but at least I’d be able to afford to live in a neighborhood where I can get some sleep and not have to put up with this shit every night.

End of rant… I hate to sound so negative, but I’m getting seriously fed up. It’s now 5 AM and the local thug element seems to have moved on, so I’m going to try going to bed again.

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