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To Brooklyn or Not to Brooklyn: the Abusive Lover known as NYC

I spent about 36 of the last 48 hours agonizing over whether or not I wanted to give up my Brooklyn apartment. I’m over New York, the abusive boyfriend who is the kind of beautiful of Idris Elba and Prison Bae combined. He punches you in the gut when you least expect it, but is always there to nurse the wounds he causes, massaging your back and deeking you down without warning.

After many years of praying some immediate family would join me in this jungle, now three of my siblings live here, and I’ve fallen out of love. Fortunately for me, I can likely impose on them and other family and close friends if and when I choose to visit.

I’ve held onto my beloved duplex apartment while grad-schooling in CT, but it’s seeming less and less worth it. So…I’m keeping a running tally of reasons to leave and not to leave. Feel free to add your own by commenting.

Reasons not to move back to NY

1. Stress

2. Random guys going on diatribes on the train

3. Woman with excessive dandruff on the train

4. Bitches who push you to get to the stairs…in the subway or anywhere really

5. Random terror attacks

6. NYPD racists

7. Isolation

8. Everyone is obsessed with building their brand at the expense of having genuine relationships

9. Everyone is pretending they’re more successful and happier than they actually are

10. You never know if your seat on the train / subway platform was peed on just hours ago

11. Constant commercialization of everything

12. Having to always wear shades so random trash doesn’t blow into my eyes

13. City workers who sit around gossiping about celebrities instead of providing customer service

14. The wet dog smell in the subway on the hottest summer days

15. Gorgeous old buildings whose gas pipes burst at a moment’s notice

16. Overpriced apartments in neighborhoods that lack the soul they once had

17. Working long hours to be able to afford that overpriced apartment

18. Making–and spending–more money than you’ll ever have time to enjoy

19. Focusing on true success that doesn’t involve schmizing or pretense

Reasons to move back



Header photo by Katherine Lorimer

About Lolade

Lolade is a Gates Cambridge Scholar, starting her PhD in Sociology with the 2019 class. She recently graduated with her MA in African Studies [Sociology discipline] from Yale University where she researched ethnic identity formation among Nigerian immigrants in New York, Tokyo and Mumbai. She is the author of 'Market of Dreams' a radical poetry collection about love and freedom. She obsesses over indigenous textiles, cultural preservation and innovation, and intimately connecting the African Diaspora.

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  • Martinvenue

    Posted April 29, 2018 at 3:10 am

    Hellow my name is Martinvenue. Wery good-hearted article! Thx 🙂

  • Jared Purdy

    Posted May 10, 2018 at 8:53 am

    I recently read a story about an African American woman who travelled to Nigeria a few years ago, under great apprehension, as all she had ever heard about Africa was from a narrative of total negatives. Kind of like the “danger of the single story” type. Well, needless to say, when she got there, she was floored at the beauty, and the embrace of fellow Africans. She was no longer a second class citizen, her blackness no longer mattered the way it did in the USA, she felt that she was finally home. Her and her husband went back to the US, sold everything they had, and moved to Nigeria, and love the life they live. You may be able to find the interview. It was done by a Ugandan journalist who works for the BBC. Her name is Nancy Kacungira. She had it recently posted to her FB page. It’s really interesting to listen to. I’m not suggesting that you move back to Nigeria! However, when I think about Adichie’s “Americanah”, and the story of the protagonist in the novel, I am constantly amazed at what allure the US holds for people who know that they are going to experience near relentless hostilities? As a Canadian, my wife (who’s black, originally from Jamaica) and I have sworn off travelling to the US – for at least as long as Trump is in power. It’s not that things will magically change if a democrat gets in, but the level of racial animosity under his “leadership” has gone through the roof. A Canadian journalist (Shree Paradkar) who writes for the Toronto Star, recently posted an opinion piece where she was talking about racial discrimination in Toronto. She was reminiscing about a conversation she had with her father when she was getting ready to relocate here from India. Her father said to her that he’d rather be a first class citizen in a second world country than a second class citizen in a first world country. I thought, “wow, that puts it pretty well perfectly”. I’ve been to NYC/Brooklyn, several times. Fun place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there, or any where else in the USA, for all of the reasons you’ve listed, and then some. It’s not perfect in Canada, not by a long shot. We have issues with racial profiling, carding, etc. And then there’s the treatment of First Nations people, which is on a whole other scale. I guess it’s a matter of degrees and the idea that Canada is a nation of immigrants, and continues to be, and the majority of Canadians welcome and accept that. Many of us have gotten over the idea of “Britishness”, and continue to push for change in the narrative of the colonization of this country. Canada is, metaphorically speaking, the mouse in the room with the elephant, and the elephant in the room is the USA. The mouse has to constantly watch the elephant and in doing so is more aware of what the elephant is and does than elephant is aware of it’s self. We watch the “horrendousness” of social relations in the USA, and it’s like watching an experiment, and I believe that what happens there affects our own electoral and policy decisions on a whole range of things. Many of us will say something to the effect of,” Ah, I don’t think we should try that, they’re doing it in the US, and just look at that mess!”. “Nope, we don’t want to be like that”. Enjoy your blog posts, and so sorry about your recent experience at one of the so called “ivory tower” establishments. At this stage in that woman’s life, I’m not sure what hope there is for her. I doubt a “sensitivity” training course, or a “race relations” training course would do anything for her. Regards, Jared Purdy. Toronto.


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