I may have mentioned this once or twice, but I am madly in love with New York City, as much or more as when I moved here almost 20 years ago. Plenty of people love visiting of course, but living here is not for everyone. The city is a harsh mistress: you either learn to obey her commands, or you suffer terribly.One of her more important commands is “Do not have a lot of stuff.” I may have balked at first, but I consider this one of the greatest lessons she has ever taught me. Growing up in the sprawling suburbs, where everyone has attics and garages and closets and basements and storage sheds, it just goes without saying that there will always be room to store more and more things. Why throw anything away? (“I might need that awesome commemorative beer mug some day! And that jacket will totally come back in style!”) The great irony, of course, is that modern suburban lifestyles generate colossal amounts of landfill, and waste unconscionable amounts of energy. It’s entirely unsustainable. But much like a dysfunctional family, when you are raised in such an environment it is just “normal” to you: it becomes synonymous with “home.” But back to the lesson. Cramped apartments, with or without roommates, impose a strict discipline that necessarily orders one’s life. Haven’t worn it in a year? Donate it to Housing Works. Love love love that funky $12 umbrella stand at the flea market? Figure out what are you going to get rid of to make room for it. There is no way Costco or Sam’s Club will ever gain a foothold in Manhattan, because no matter how deep the discount may be virtually no one has the room to store 12 rolls of paper towels. If it sounds difficult, it sometimes is, at least for a privileged middle class white girl from the Philly ‘burbs. But the upside is that you learn to live simply, within your means of budget and space, with what you need — not necessarily what you want. Not that existence here is akin to monk-like deprivation. Hardly. For one thing, you learn to appreciate quality over quantity. This is not a bad thing, although it does tend to turn New Yorkers (like yours truly) into insufferable snobs. But as it turns out, the corollary to “collecting stuff is bad” is “collecting experiences is good.” Not only does the city provide an endless, all-you-can-eat buffet of experiences, there are no space restrictions. And provided you know where to hunt for bargains, there are no budget restrictions either. Twilight moon to the East. Hawt man boobs, Christopher Street and 7th Ave. South. Turkish figs on sale at Gourmet Garage, served tonight with spicy pepperjack, mixed nuts and red wine. Gotta run — I hear my lover at the door.