NYC: Medicine Cabinets & Condiments, Where have you gone?


Since moving to New York City, my husband and I have moved five times. In less than two years. There was the initial staying with a friend’s mom in her basement for a couple months, corporate housing for a week on the Upper West Side, the hellish month-long ordeal smack dab in Times Square, the heinous high-rise in Long Island City and now, the hippest place in America- Brooklyn.

I won’t go into all the details of all the moves and all the reasons, but I do want to address a few of the oddities of this city that have not gone unnoticed.

First of all, we prefer to choose apartments that are relatively new development. I want the fancy open floor plan kitchen/living room set-up, I need big closets and prefer floor to ceiling windows. I am a tad fussy and so is the husband. In New York City, these amenities are not rare; they are actually pretty standard in all new developments. So, what could be the problem, right?

Where do I begin? Besides having every neighbor above us stomp around like zebras being chased by Lions, we have the barking dogs, the weird dishwashers, the showers with half doors, inefficient heating and cooling (our first electric bill was $500!!) and the missing medicine cabinets.

Apparently the new thing in modern housing these days is the flat mirrors against the bathroom walls. Why yes, you may think, what a sleek design for a modern home! It’s clean, with straight lines, the type of bathroom look Brangelina would go for.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Where the hell am I supposed to put my night creams and my toothbrush and my contact solution? Where does my husband put his shaving creams and deodorant and cologne? Where does one put ANYTHING that requires standing up?

The answer: big vacuous spaces under the sink.


So, now, we must buy all sorts of little square/rectangular organizing type of boxes to put underneath the sink. I must buy a long skinny one to put the toothpaste and anything long in. I need medium sizes for hair products. I need teeny-tiny ones for my contact cases and floss. Because, oh yeah, there are no drawers either.  I am sorry, but clearly men in the development world are not consulting with women before they design these bathrooms.

Look, I realize this is a first world problem, but it’s a big pain in the ass and I don’t understand why we must lose functionality when designing something pretty. This is not like wearing strappy sandals in the snow in the middle of Buffalo to look cute at a restaurant. A bathroom should not be a fashion victim.

Next up: Salt and Pepper shakers.

New York City is pretty confident in their high standing when it comes to dining. And for good reason.  The abundant choices and quality and unique experiences here is like no other place. You can enjoy any ethnic food your heart desires. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I had never had Indian, Ethiopian or Turkish cuisine until I moved here. And I love all of it now.

But, the absence of the salt and pepper shaker on the tables is peculiar. Remember when restaurants starting making you ask for water? Or ice with your water? Well, New York seems to have taken it to a whole new level with this one.

I don’t know if it’s the chef’s way of saying, “My food is magnificent the way I have prepared it. For you to assume it will be better by pouring seasoning onto it, well, I will be offended. And then, I will spit in your food.”

I mean, that’s what I’m imagining it. Like every restaurant has a Gordon Ramsey in the kitchen, holding a tub of shakers behind his back, daring anyone to ask him for one.

Or, have food costs risen so high, that that’s where they are going to cut corners? Not on the truffle salt or the Caviar martinis?

Maybe the wait staff just doesn’t want to “marry” the condiments together anymore. They are sick and tired of their after-shift work of forcing half-full bottles of ketchup into half-empty ones, rolling silverware, scraping gum off the bottoms of tables and filling the salt and pepper shakers were just the straw that broke their tired little backs.

And, might I add, that when you do ask for the salt and pepper, you feel ashamed. Like you truly are insulting the chef and the whole establishment for insinuating that the food might be bland. I put my head down and almost whisper it. It’s condiment-shaming and it’s big here in New York.

I don’t know the reasons behind these nonsensical inconveniences, and while most will laugh at my absurd concerns, these issues are out there. I’m doing this more as a public service for anyone planning on moving to NYC or for the many, many tourists (you know who you are, Times Square) feverishly seeking out some pepper for their salad and wishing they had ice in their water.



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