The long weekend is the loneliest number

People like to go on and on about how great weekends are, when really weekends can be pretty lonely. Especially long weekends. Especially in New York. What makes New York weekends so lonely is how much importance people place on them, as though they don’t happen every single week of your life.

Whereas a New Yorker will pretty much grab a drink with any idiot during the week, the weekends are reserved for only the most prized in their social circle. You won’t know if you fall into this category until the weekend actually arrives, because New Yorkers don’t like to commit to any plans until they’ve made sure there aren’t any better plans. It’s just like when I was in middle school and no one would tell me which Y2K party they were going to, because how do you decide where to spend your last night on Earth? And where was Ben Arnold going to be?? That’s how people in New York feel about weekends — like each one may be the last Y2K party they ever attend with Ben Arnold.

So, it’s lonely, but it’s not because you don’t have any plans. There are more than enough plans to go around, way more than enough. You’ve already given a not-very-firm commitment to three plans, none of which you are going to go to, since by the time they roll around you’ll be too hungover from staying up way too late with the people you really wanted to make plans with in the first place. This is the catch 22 of plans: the only good ones are the ones that weren’t. Everyone in New York knows this, which is why they try not to make plans in the first place. In fact, the only real purpose plans serve in New York City is to give you something to think about during the week. As soon as Friday rolls around, all plans are immediately dispensed with and everyone just hangs out with whoever they hung out with last weekend.

This whole plan clusterfuck is the main reason why being in a couple in New York is far superior to being in a single. Couples are the only New Yorkers who never have to worry about weekend plans since the default mode of a couple is to have plans with each other — even if these plans are as non-specific as “be by each other’s side in several different locations.” Couples love the weekends and they should. Some say that the best way to see New York is by bike and some say it’s on foot and some say other things that are simply ridiculous, but the truth is the best way to see the city is while holding someone’s hand. If that makes you sad, I’ll remind you that you didn’t move here to be happy, but to get an entry level position in publishing.

If you’re not so lucky as to be at The Highline with your significant other, the weekend can become a time of lonely agitation. This hopped up sadness is a more emotional form of ADD. Your mind is filled with things to do, but you can’t decide on anything, because it all requires several steps and you don’t want to do any of it anyway. You end up running from your apartment in Bushwick to Prospect Park for no reason, except that it’s something to do. Unfortunately, once there, you find that everyone is involved in a barbecue except for you, which makes you sad even though none of the barbecues look like barbecues you’d like to attend, and you actually don’t like barbecues anyway, you’ve just decided. Barbecues are just a lot of standing around wondering if you need to ask for a hot dog or if they’ll put out a plate of them all at once. Your reward for finally getting a hot dog is sidling up to a group of strangers, taking a deep breath and saying, “What a NICE day!” You’ll do this over and over again until someone lights you on fire.

By the time you show up to work on Tuesday, having done a few plans, skipped a few plans and been generally unhappy the whole time, you’re starting to really look forward to the structure of the work week and, of course, the weekend ahead.

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3 Responses to The long weekend is the loneliest number

  1. Rob in Vacaville says:


    I loved this! Thanks for continuing to post these short little stories of life in New York. If I was having a barbecue, I would invite you to have a hot dog.

    Have a NICE day!


  2. Pingback: How to See New York | Dunlap Dabbles

  3. amyleblanc says:

    sigh. this drives me crazy.

    SF has a similar problem but they always have some other reason even more ridiculous for not making plans:

    (fwiw, i’m in NYC and i’d make plans with you. and keep them.)

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