New York City is a world class city, arguably one of the greatest cities in the world. You can’t compete with the culture, the museums, the nightlife, but I made a move recently from the crowded, colorful neighborhood of the Lower East Side to the North End foothills of Boise.
Maybe I’m trying to convince myself, but there are many reasons why Boise living trumps New York.
Living in Boise Idaho
Here are 8 arbitrarily selected reasons why I am happy I made my way to Boise from the beautifully twisted hell-hole of New York City, a place I proudly called home for many years.
Rivers you can swim in
Ok, so you certainly can swim in the East or Harlem Rivers. You may not die of cholera or viral meningitis, but bodies are dumped in into the rivers all of the time, so you may find yourself swimming past one. Who would really want to swim in those waters? Who would want to swim in the green, murky alluvial channels full of pollutants, waste, and deal souls? It’s not my thing.
Floating down the pristine waters of the Boise River is a summertime pastime of many here in the Treasure Valley.
And you can fish in those waters, feed the ducks, and bask in the promise of a another sublime day in Boise.
Treefort started as a scrappy local indie rock festival, but it’s been gathering momentum since it launched five years ago. What’s unique about this festival is that it takes over the entire city for five days.
This is the first year I’ve attended, which is a bit surprising since just about everyone I know here in Boise seems to be in a band.
It worked like this: On Monday I was turned on to the release of a new video by Charles Bradley, a cover of “Changes” by Black Sabbath. Started listening to his catalog and new album throughout the week. Got some friends and my fiancée into his music. On an early Friday afternoon, my day off, we watched a moving documentary about his life, Soul of America, and determined to see him perform at some point. We checked out his tour schedule and discovered he was playing that night on the Treefort main stage. A couple hours later, we were taking in Built to Spill (a great Boise band) before Charles Bradley took the stage for an electrifying performance.
We were next to the stage, as screaming, ecstatic fans, and my girl even received a rose from him at the close of the performance. It was a magical night. Magical things happen here in Boise.
Night-time gatherings around the fire pit
According to the New York City fire code, the open fire pit, if using wood, is illegal. In my old neighborhood on Clinton Street, long-time residents (Dominicans, predominantly) would take over a small gated park at night. They would occasionally have an illegal fire going and sing traditional songs in Spanish. I joined them there on a couple occasions on my way back from the liquor store, but I was definitely the outsider there.
Everyone seems to have a here in the Boise area. When the sun goes down, in any season, people gather around the fire pit to feel the burn. The conversations turn. This is nightlife in Boise.
Along the banks of the Boise River flowing through the city is a 20 mile stretch of tree-lined greenbelt. There is nothing in New York that really compares. You can walk along both rivers on either side of Manhattan, stroll along pathways in iconic Central Park, walk along the elevated Highline (arguably Manhattan’s most impressive recent public works project), but riding bikes along either side of the river is an experience one can’t find anywhere in New York City.
There is nothing like spring in Boise. Beginning in early to mid March, Spring happens months before there is even the faintest hope of good weather in New York.
Sitting outside, admiring the new blossoms of the daffodils and daisies in 70 degree weather, I was checking out news stories of another brutal winter storm covering the Eastern seaboard.
New Yorkers love to cling to the promise of spring when temps hit 60 and it’s sunny out, but April is a cruel beast that comes out to taunt the urban denizens for a few days before retreating into another wintry spell. May in New York brings a couple of solid spring-like weeks until the unrelenting heat and humidity take hold, tuning the subways and the streets into sweltering furnaces. Like the smell of burning piss and garbage? Summer in New York is for you!
Wrecking havoc on the minds in public and private spaces of New Yorkers for more than a decade now, bedbugs continue to be a growing problem in New York. Every week there seems to be some new chilling report about how bedbugs are mutating and are becoming tougher to eradicate.
You never hear about bedbugs over here in Boise. Why? Well, it just does not seem to be as much of a problem here west of the Mississippi. At least you won’t find Boise on the list of America’s most infested cities.
Watch your back, New Yorkers! Also, watch where you step. The rats and cockroaches are taking over the streets.
The Idaho (Ada County) Democratic Caucus
History was made here when Boise (Ada County) had the largest Democratic caucus in the history of the country. It was nuts! It was exciting to be a part of it. It gave me another reason to be proud to live here.
This state is and probably always will be intractably Republican. It’s one of the reddest of the red states, which is quite a culture shock coming from a city where coming into contact with a republican seems as rare as encountering a double rainbow.
This double rainbow!
Captured from our front lawn, this double rainbow appeared gloriously in the sky a couple weeks ago. Sure, there are rainbows in New York City, but good luck finding them in the canyons of buildings obstructing your view of them. I’m making prints to send back to my New York friends to remind them that there is an amazing world out here in the West, beyond the polluted waters of the Hudson River, and the garbage-strewn, piss-smelling, rat-conquered streets of New York City.