Recently I went to an after-work gathering in Hell’s Kitchen with my boss. As we walked along, we discussed some of the ins and outs of living in Manhattan. She lived in New York for years before being dragged kicking and screaming into the suburbs. One of her key observations was that compared to other cities, in New York you can be ‘younger for longer’. This is a sentiment I can entirely relate to, and on asking around seems to be true.
In your thirties, in many places (both in the UK and the USA) it’s common to be settled down, with at least one of an assortment of a mortgage, spouse/long-term partner and children by your early thirties. As a result, nights in with DVD box-sets suddenly seem to become the norm. Your days of crazy partying around the clock are well and truly over. Well, not in the Neverland that is New York.
Manhattan is stuffed with people in their thirties who think nothing of staying out late on a schoolnight and then ratcheting it up yet another notch at the weekend. I had four different social commitments yesterday (lunch, coffee, cinema/drinks and then out to a club) – which to be honest, is something I rarely had in London – well, at least, not in a single day.
One of my friends from London is currently on an assignment in Sao Paolo, Brazil. Her experience so far has been the very opposite. As a thirty-something, she’s surrounded by people of her own age who want to be at home with their kids, not out with a cocktail in their hand. On the other hand, this extended adolescence – fun while it lasts – does have a slightly darker side. New Yorkers are not younger for longer in the way that people are in LA (the land of a thousand face-lifts).
But it does sometimes feel like denial, staving off the evil day, or even partying while the Titanic goes down. When I see British friends on Facebook gushing about the arrival of new tiles for the kitchen, sometimes I do wonder if I am merely delaying the inevitable. I’m beginning to suspect that I’m turning into one of the bachelors in denial from Three Men and a Baby.