Archive for the 'New York' Category

Jun 27 2009

New York’s Not My Home

Published by under New York

It seems fitting to quote the late great Jim Croce at this moment, as his ballad clearly states the New York is a fine place to visit but ‘he’s gotta get outta here.” And so must I.

The deal is, quite frankly, that I can’t afford to live here. The New York area is firmly a two-income market. Houses that are 100 years old and upwards of 1000 square feet regularly sell for $400K or more. There are local taxes, state taxes – that are sometimes layered if you work in New York but live in the “tri-state area.”  Can you say AMT? I knew you could. Also there are just tons of job openings here – saying loud and clear that no one wants to come here. Predictably the meltdown on Wall Street caused a multi-BILLION dollar short-fall in tax revenue. And even when the financial district recovers, they can carry all the money they lost ahead for the next five years so that tax revenue isn’t coming back any time soon. Also predictably, all governments between the MTA and Albany are figuring out new thing to tax or levy fees to make it up. Everything from taxing health benefits, to reinstate the commuters’ tax, to charging a $.06 fee on those  plastic bags from the grocery store. Certainly income and sales taxes will go up. The affluent are already saying ‘New York’s a great place to visit, but I’m tired of paying to live here.” And so it goes.

I do have to say that I love my job – the company is great. It’s great work, with great people, and great benefits. I know definitely that I’m a better programmer and engineer from the experience. The problem is a stark contrast to the quality of the job – I just can’t make enough money to live. Moving my family here would put me solidly on a treadmill, one that I would never recover from.

This part of the country is solidly subject to Elizabeth Warren’s theories detailed in The Two-Income Trap. That is, so many households here have both spouses working that the price of everything has increased to meet that household income, to the point where no one can afford any kind of lifestyle unless both spouses work. So if you want to have a traditional household where the father works and the mother stays home and actually raises the kids (as opposed to the school system) then you’re just plain SOL.

So I’m going back on the job market. I need to find a job in Texas – a place where I have family and things cost something sane.

So, If you’re looking for a top-notch C++ systems level programmer and you’re not in New York – give me a call. I’ve updated my resume and it’s available at the link to the right.

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Oct 12 2008

Duke’s Ain’t It

Published by under New York

As my quest for enchiladas was less than spectacular, but did expose me to Paul’s, I decided the next quest would be to find an authentic chicken fried steak. Being from Texas, I’ve eaten a ton of chicken fried steak, and I know what the best looks like. The steak should be fairly thick and properly tenderized, seasoned and breaded but not battered, and lightly fried until crisp but not crunchy. The gravy is a white cream pan gravy that is thick but not pasty, and lightly seasoned – as in “that’s what salt and pepper shakers are for.” You serve the steak on a platter with one-or-two mounds of mashed potatoes topped with the same cream gravy, and a hot green – such as beans, peas, sprouts or the like. This is all topped off with a slice or two of Texas toast – to sop up left-over gravy after you’ve devoured the steak and potatoes. That is chicken fried steak.

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Oct 09 2008

New York Used Bookstores Suck

Published by under Books,New York

One of the neatest things about living in New York is that I get to use my commute time to read. Rather than sit behind the wheel and listen to music or the radio, I get to actually stand in a crowded, sometimes air conditioned car next to complete strangers and work on my reading stack. It’s worked so well, in fact, that I’ve had to go out any actually buy books to read to keep myself busy.

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Sep 22 2008

The Best Burger In New York City

Published by under New York

So I’ve been in NYC for five weeks now – living off of sandwiches and Chinese food mostly. I decided this past Friday that I would go get some Mexican food, specifically Tex-Mex to see how it rates with home. Plus I wanted to actually sit down at a table to eat for once. So I google around and find a couple of places with really good reviews, and settle on Mary Ann’s Tex-Mex Cafe on 2nd Ave and 5th Street (4X to Union Square then 6 to Astor, one ave E to 2nd Ave, then four streets south.) The first thing I find about Astor is that it’s a college section of town – with a major NYU campus just to the north. (Actually, the first thing I found out about Astor is that there’s a K-Mart with an entrance in the subway – could come in handy.) So, there are tons of college kids around – and I mean tons – scurrying here and there. Being Friday night all the street vendors are out selling – interestingly enough – belly rings, tattoos, body piercing and piercing jewelry, shirts, hats and other jewelry. Along St. Mark’s Place all of the brownstones have been turned into shops and boutiques of all kinds – all catering to the college crowd. So I walk through all this, taking it all in until I reach 2nd street and turn right – because I know that will take me south and ultimately to enchiladas. The first place I pass is a dive called Paul’s that brags the “Best Burger In New York” in red, white, and blue neon. I don’t know if this is self proclaimed or earned by some survey – but I press on.

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Sep 15 2008

NYC at Four Weeks

Published by under New York

Today marks my fifth Monday in NYC – so I’ve completed four weeks of urban living. My status is that I’ve secured a “decent” room in Brooklyn for $800/month in an apartment with three-to-five roommates (depending on how you count) where we split the cable, electricity, and gas bills. We don’t pay for water. The guy that had this room before me split leaving unpaid bills and his security check bounced, so although the landlord gave me two weeks free rent, he’s asked me to chip in for his part of the bills that he left unpaid, to the tune of about $100. Since $100 for two weeks rent is a bargain in any town, I agreed.

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Aug 27 2008

My New York City Blog

Published by under New York

Okay, so I’m “borrowing” a neighbor’s wireless connection to write this, so I have to be brief. I’ve taken a job in New York City that pays pretty well, but I’m having all the expected troubles of adapting to urban life. I hope to chronichle it all here, but I have to get internet connectivity first! And, I don’t even have a TV. Right now I’m renting a room in Brooklyn and have five roommates, all of whome are less than 30, and all of whome stay out until 3am. More on that later. I have to go.

Thanks to all for your letters and prayers – please keep it up.

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