In reality, Manhattan isn't Sex and the City, Law and Order, Selling New York, the combined works of Woody Allen or even (sigh) HBO's Bored to Death. New York City is a place where....
- Ten percent of your time is spent submitting out-of-network and flex-spending claims because doctors can't afford to work/live here and take insurance.
- A good super or doorman is worth three last-minute summer-weekend car rentals plus one genius hair colorist.
- The $500 bucks a month to the garage is just for parking. The $2 each time you take your car out and bring it back buys a 30-50% reduction in dings and scratches. The $200 you give to the daytime manager at Christmas has no discernible effect on anything whatsoever.
- People book playdates for their dogs.
- You have to schedule a playdate a month in advance with the 8-year-old next door whose bedroom shares a wall with your kid's.
- Schlumps outnumber supermodels 10 to 1, and there are just as many Merrells as Manolos.
- People from your hometown will look at you like you are an alien when you try to explain that in addition to those out-of-network claim forms, you spend most of your time trying to get your kid into a decent school, searching for an "affordable" place to live and casing your apartment for bed bugs. Those same hometown friends will be lining up for a spot on your futon every chance they get.
- It is safer to talk about politics than Mets versus Yankees.
- A high-end maternity-wear sample sale in the garment district is a bloodier sport than boxing.
- You will develop a love-hate relationship with taxi cabs: They stink like soap in a public restroom, the ride is bumpy, but you will feel pure bliss when you spot one on a rainy day--even if you have to disengage your gag reflex and ride nose-to-partition in a claustrophobic hybrid.
- Everyone says they read the Times but they devour the Post.
- On the private school admissions tour/interview, you are not the one doing the interviewing. You are doing your best Nancy Reagan impression: Smile, nod, freeze, repeat.
- In addition to paying for grocery delivery, you will be expected to tip (and suck up the cost of the broken eggs, because you should have known better).
- If a grocery store, dry cleaner, nail salon, bodega, or coffee shop is more than a two-block walk, it just seems too far.
- Your children will lag behind their suburban peers when it comes to mastering stairs and two-wheelers, but they will be able to hail a cab at age 3, explain the difference between a co-op and a condo by age 5, and by age 13, compare tutors like other kids compare rock/pop stars.
- You will spend as much time plotting your (occasional) escape from New York as you will thanking God/Allah/Buddah/etc that you don't live anywhere else.