On Desire: 3 Things All New Yorkers Want…

This week, I am getting my life together.


Cartoon by the amazing Aliie Brosh

Above is my “I’m feeling really good about myself” stance. I do it all over my apartment. (especially after laundry) The stance is making realize all kinds of things…

For starters, it is completely important that I finally learn how to ride a bike in a dress and heels.

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As an automatic mood stabilizer more powerful than Prozac, I am convinced that by doing this at least once a week, I will become a better person to be around. Even people who can’t stand me will find a new level of tolerance for my ridiculousness.

But more importantly, this exercise in responsibility has wrought a certain clarity… I’ve realized that there are 3 universal truths out there about what people everywhere want most in life. I used to think it was all just existential chaos, but New Yorkers (coupled with doing my laundry) have made me see the light.

1) A sandwich.

As Liz Lemon, my all-time favorite fictional writer, once attested… all of humankind just wants to sit and have a sandwich.

From the towering Rubens of Katz’s Deli to the impromptu doughiness of the Ethiopian hoagie, every culture wants a sandwich. No place on earth exemplifies this desire more than New York City.

My favorite sandwich, the combination falafel-lamb gyro with extra white sauce, is sold at carts everywhere here by The Halal Guys. I love The Halal Guys not only because they are the best street meat on this glorious island, but also because they have the best (and simplest) slogans ever:

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Many are exuberant run-on sentences:

“Yes we serve the masses Oh yes, we serve masses! They love our food You can too just come on down.” and “You can’t make up your mind between chicken and Gyro you don’t have to, have chicken and Gyro combo.”

My personal Halal Guy is the opposite of the soup Nazi. He’s like a sexy Forrest Gump. It’s never an issue of denial. He thinks I do not eat enough. Every time I find myself at the window, he says, “You must to eat more falafel! Deep Fry, my skinny friend. New York requires!” (Marvin would disagree with this sentiment, but no drag queen trainer from Queens will ever stand in the way of me and my street meat)

The other great is that The Halal Guys are only one $ on Yelp, which means I can still pay my student loans (which I will probably have until my next life kicks in, but I’ve come to terms with it SallieMae. You should too)

2) A T-shirt.

A t-shirt, worn without a light sweater or jacket, is a universal sign that the weather is perfect. Since, I am pigment impaired, I tend to like mine with sleeves. I also prefer uber honest messaging, so I’ve started designing my own:

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(I was so terrible to my ex-husband)

Also, this one’s a keeper…

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You could wear these all over the city and people would wish they had one too.

3) A neighbor.

Cranky or caring, every New Yorker needs to know at least one neighbor–even if they are like this:

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Manhattan is a place of intrinsic conflict. Everyone is always in your face. The consequence of this conflict is a certain brand of intimacy that allows you to say whatever the hell you want. This is why it’s always wise to keep a little bit of a buffer with one’s neighbors. To this is end, signs like the above are completely appropriate. Why? You’re not yelling at anyone, you’re simply expressing facts and desires.

So, there you have it… I am finally owning my Manhattan truth because, in the enduring words of The Halal Guys, “You can too… New York requires.”

Deep fry my friends…