“After a job was finished, we’d stand on the street drinking beer or foul-tasting Gatorade. The tip would be discussed, as would the disadvantages of living in this particular neighborhood. It was generally agreed that a coffin-size studio on Avenue D was preferable to living in one of the boroughs. Moving from one Brooklyn or Staten Island neighborhood to another was fine, but unless you had children to think about, even the homeless saw it as a step down to leave Manhattan. Customers quitting the island for Astoria or Cobble Hill would claim to welcome the change of pace, saying it would be nice to finally have a garden or live a little closer to the airport. They’d put a good face on it, but one could always detect an underlying sense of defeat. The apartments might be bigger and cheaper in other places, but one could never count on their old circle of friends making the long trip to attend a birthday party. Even Washington Heights was considered a stretch. People referred to it as Upstate New York, though it was right there in Manhattan.
Our bottles drained, Patrick would carry us back to what everyone but Lyle agreed was the center of the universe.”
– from the story, “The Great Leap Forward” in Me Talk Pretty One Day, which is completely hilarious