Dear Amare Stoudemire,
Welcome to New York. Despite our collective despair over being spurned by LeBron James, we are certainly happy to have you here. In fact, I will go so far as to say your decision to sign with the Knicks is the most admirable( and maybe even courageous) of any free agent this summer. Instead of doubling up with someone else or making the safe choice to stay home, you’ve decided to take the hopes of an entire fan base, put them on your shoulders, and try to win. I won’t get into my opinions about the situation in Miami (A different open letter pretty much covers that,) but I will say this. If you can take the Knicks and beat the Heat, you will have a home in our fine city and a place in our hearts for the rest of your life.
Speaking of your new home, please allow me to take a few minutes to give you a quick tutorial on living in New York City.
Don’t live in the suburbs. Live in the city. Walk to the Garden every day before your games. Eat in local restaurants. Shop at Food Emporium. (Not Gristedes. That place always looks like the food is a week past expiration.) Buy your Gatorade and VitaminWater at the local Bodega. Feel the pulse and the excitement of the city. Become a man of the people. We like Men of the people.
By “the city,” I mean Manhattan. Don’t move to Brooklyn. The only people who should live in Brooklyn are people who were born there. Anyone who moves in later in life is just a poser looking for a scene. Hipsters are annoying and I doubt they make skinny jeans in your size. “TV on the Radio” is not a good band. They just sound like noise.
The Knicks practice in Westchester, so you’ll need a car to go to and from there. But, aside from that trip, I would forget about driving. Take the subway instead.Â Here’s a secret tip. Not only is the Subway significantly cheaper than a cab in this city, but 9 times out of 10 it’s quicker. But, if you’re going to ride the rails, here are a few pointers:
1. Let the people off before you get on. I know it gets hot on those platforms in the summer and the AC in the train is beckoning. But there’s a name for people who push their way onto the subway before letting the riders off: Asians. I hearÂ the subway in Tokyo is nightmare of pushing, shoving and groping. We aren’t like that. Have a little patience.
2. If it’s the middle of a hot afternoon and you see a subway car with lots of available seats, DO NOT GET ON. Empty seats during rush hour are symptomatic of one of two possible situations. Either the AC is broken on that car, or there is a homeless man who has soiled himself lying down in the corner. Either way, it’s not a pleasant thing to sit through. Standing in a packed car that is cool and relatively odor free is always a better option.
3. The right side of the escalator is for riding, the left side is for walking. This is a major problem at stations where various train lines converge. The New York City Subway system is full of very long steep escalators. It’s also full of impatient riders. Those of us in a rush like to walk briskly up the escalator steps. Those with more time on their hands (tourists) stand calmly on the right side and stare at the back of the person in front of them. We leave them alone as long as they don’t breach that imaginary barrier. If they do, though, there may be yelling. You have been warned
4. DO NOT TOUCH THE PAY PHONES. That is how you get AIDS.
Do you own a pet? Do you plan on buying one?Â Here are some pointers.
-If you buy a dog, think of others while you are walking it. Pet lovers in this city tend to forget that other people need to use the sidewalk too. I do not enjoy walking through rivers of dog piss. Please have your pet urinate near the curb, so it goes right into the street, instead of near storefronts where the piss trickles across the entire sidewalk.Â Also, I understand that dogs like to sniff other dogs. This is fine. But don’t stop and have an entire conversation with a fellow dog owner while the two animals play onÂ the sidewalk. The two leashes create a giant barricade which prevent other pedestrians from getting buy.
– Don’t buy a cat. They are useless animals that add nothing to the world. Also, you start to smell a little weird after you live with one for awhile.
– Don’t buy a ferret. They are illegal in New York City and people who own them are creepy.
– Don’t buy a lion. You may be laughing, but we had a guy a few years ago who kept a lion in his tiny apartment. That was ill-advised.
-Pizza: No one really knows where the Original “Original Ray’s” pizza is. Don’t worry about it. Whether it’s Ray’s, Original Ray’s, Ray’s Original, it’s all good and its all open really late. Enjoy a slice or two. Don’t eat chain pizza. No Dominos, no Papa John’s. There’s no reason
-Coffee:Â They put it in bags here. If you buy a cup of coffee at a bodega, you will walk out with a brown paper bag with your coffee, two packets of sugar, a stirrer and a stack of napkins. The sugar and napkins will be covered in coffee and completely useless by the time you reach your destination. Yes, it’s strange but we don’t ask questions.
-Chinese Food: Order the lunch special, but always have it delivered. If you call a chinese joint and order L-6, you will get chicken with cashews, pork fried rice and soup all for about 7 dollars. And it will arrive at your door within 10 minutes. This sounds miraculous, but it’s true.Â The most important key to enjoying this meal, though, is to never EVER go to the restaurant. It’s best if you just imagine how clean the kitchen is.
-Street food:Â Sometimes you don’t even have to go inside to get dinner. There are a number of gourmet food trucks which set up shop on streets all over the city. They serve restaurant quality Dumplings, fancy ice cream, waffles, baked goods, whatever you want. We also have food carts. These are giant tin boxes with grills inside. What a bargain! 5 dollars will get you chicken and rice, with salad and a soda, all topped with ridiculously hot red sauce. The most important lesson, though, is this. Never, for any reason, eat a hot dog from a hot dog cart. Hot Pretzels or beverages are fine. Never the hot dogs. Just trust me.
So, Amare, there you go. Follow these tips (and any more that our NYC readers may add to the comments section) and you will become a full fledged New Yorker in no time.Â It’s truly a title to be proud of, and it allows us to look down on residents in every other major city in the world. Miami, for instance.
Justin and all your friends at SportsCracklePop.