To Carl’s surprise, I imagine, the post drew guffaws not from New Yorkers but from Torontonians themselves — so much so, in fact, that Carl published a followup essay called “Torontonians don’t know how good they have it.”
We’re all tired of blissed out expat essays about why such and such city is infinitely more “zen” than NYC, but in this case, it’s personal. As Brokelyn’s chief Canadian correspondent, having lived in both Toronto and New York City — the former for 18 years of my life and the latter for 7 — I’ve got at least a decade’s worth of memories and experiences to refute any viable arguments about moving from this city to the 6ix. (Did you know Drake makes us call the city that now? Did you know our patriotic t-shirts mix numbers and letters together like some kind of Captcha password for citizenship bots?)
I just can’t bear to lose perfectly decent New Yorkers to my Canadian hometown, as nice as it would be for the US dollar exchange. And frankly, anyone considering moving out of New York after reading an essay like Carl’s needs a hard reset and a reality check (with GIFs):
Cori Carl decided she “wanted to stay forever” AFTER 48 HOURS IN TORONTO.
There is no city on the fucking planet that will equip you with enough information to make such a life-changing decision in that short a window of time.
For someone who has spent a decade in New York City, and has presumably had to contend with the dreaded tourists who take one brunch selfie and then decide they want to stay forever, Carl should know better than to imagine that one should or can make any meaningful, let alone accurate, statements about a city after spending just two days there.
The time stamp on her decision to move to Toronto also probably explains why she seems to think it’s “more affordable to go out” in Toronto than in New York City. That’s patently untrue. There is a glut of free and cheap arts and culture going on at any given moment in this city — we cover a lot of it — and it is soooo much easier to find a $3 PBR to go alongside any of it than at a Toronto venue.
The last time I was in Toronto, my friend took me to a rooftop apartment where a cover band played Pink Floyd. The cover was $10. That’s the best they could do.
Real estate is only better in Toronto … if you’re rich enough to compare condos to condos
“Canadians think that $2000/month for a one bedroom right downtown […] is expensive.”
Of course they do! That’s expensive anywhere! While New York City may not be a terrific place to own — and BK is actually the worst place for that — cheap rental options are still to be found less than $2,000 for a one bedroom apartment. But even a bracket below that, in a studio or shared apartment, the concessions that we of the five-figure salary make in space and amenities are more than made up for in the spaces and amenities this blessed city affords.
I mean come on, this blog only exists so we can tell you how you can turn this whole city into your home office and cupboard-scrounge on the borough’s free samples if your kitchen is too small to do it at home.
“Toronto’s condos lack the charm of a pre-war apartment, but instead they have balconies, roof decks, gyms, pools, and game rooms.”
Newsflash: That’s all of Williamsburg now.
Have you SEEN our subway map?
“You’ll spend half as much time on the subway.”
THAT’S ONLY BECAUSE THE TORONTO SUBWAY SYSTEM IS A SINGLE U WITH A LINE THROUGH IT. As New Yorkers we may have to ride a “urine-soaked tin can full of crazy preachers and showtime” to get to our destination, but those destinations cover a much larger swath of the city than Toronto’s subway map, which only has one line cutting East to West and one going North to South along two major central and western avenues.
Case in point: I grew up in a central neighborhood called Rosedale, just a 12-minute drive from downtown. By contrast, it was a 10-minute bus ride to get to my closest subway station, followed by a 10-minute subway ride to get to the exact same downtown destination. If I missed my bus, it was another 20-minute wait because ONLY ONE BUS serviced the neighborhood. Sometimes the bus would just skip a time slot and it’d be 40 minutes.
Also, I don’t care how clean a subway is if it closes at 1:30am. There is literally no contest between public transit that shuts down at night vs. one that doesn’t. Give me 100 urine-soaked subway preachers and the Nutcracker on any train that’ll pick me up at 3am, I’m happy as a clam.
“Skyline view?” MORE LIKE “BYE!”LINE VIEW, thanks folks I’m here all night
“My last place in Brooklyn had plenty of windows, all of which faced a brick wall. Now I have a skyline view.”
Cori, Cori, Cori. I don’t know how to tell you this, but Toronto’s skyline isn’t going to be visible from the city’s side of the lake for much longer. Condos are lining up along the entire waterfront and they quickly spring up wherever they aren’t.
Whereas the bulk of New York City’s skyline is made up of iconic buildings and long-standing skyscrapers from the 20th century, Toronto’s skyline has a far shorter history to its name… and it’s not a cultural one. It’s literally just condos, catering to the same upper crust of society that rents out those waterfront-blocking monstrosities in Williamsburg. Also, Ghost Airbnb units are just as much of a problem there as they are here.
The only other notable building on the skyline besides the big boring CN Tower is the former SkyDome — now dubbed the Rogers Centre, btw, and devoid of all the things that used to make it fun to go. Give me a Mr. Sub sandwich pass, the KissCam, the seating section truck race on the Jumbo-tron and I might just move back one day. But right now the ROGERS CENTRE is just a sad place to watch the Blue Jays, which as we know can be its own major (league) disappointment.
Toronto is going to bum you out.
“No one cuts me in line. No one shoves me on the subway stairs. Creepy dudes don’t shout rude things at me. People don’t scream about Jesus. Not everyone is trying to rip me off.”
How can I put this? I guess like I just did: Toronto is going to bum you out. For all its shiny functions, the city just feels sleepier. Some days you’ve actually got to feel around for its pulse. Sure, people give you a wide berth on the stairs and crazy people don’t yell things at you, but something about that is sad.
“I had a great apartment in an up-and-coming Brooklyn neighborhood, a job doing work I loved, and an amazing bunch of friends. But life in New York is like being in an abusive relationship — things are terrible except for when they’re amazing. The more time I spent traveling around the world, the more I knew there had to be a city that didn’t make me work so hard for every victory.”
It sounds like for Carl, the decision to move to Toronto was motivated by the desire for more stability and less self-doubt. I can’t fault someone for wanting a simpler happiness, and I’m sure that all of the above reasons why New York seems worth it now may fade once I’m out of my twenties. But I certainly wouldn’t call living in New York an “abusive relationship.” Abuse makes you feel weak. New York makes me feel strong.
Carl does get one thing right:
Canadians are totally in love with New York City. Potential employers are impressed by your experience working for New York companies. People at the bar automatically think you’re that much cooler. You can impress them with your harrowing tales of New York’s underworld and impress them with celebrity stories.
This is a tried-and-true statement. So yes, by all means, VISIT TORONTO! Regale the locals with tales of that time you fought Anne Hathaway for a t-shirt in an Urban Outfitters, they’ll love it. But for your own sake, don’t leave New York for it.
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