The privilege of being vegan in NYC

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Vegan Hop

“New York City. Center of the universe.”

New York skyline taken from Queens

New York skyline. Photo credit goes to Dan

New York City has been the center of my universe my entire life. I was born here, I was raised here, it is the place I am always happy to come home to. It is not, however, the place I went vegan. I went vegan in college, upstate in Rochester, New York. Rochester is also where Dan and I met. But immediately after college Dan and I moved down to the City so I could be back where I belong. With my people. People who understand my need to walk as fast as possible at all times. New Yorkers are a special breed and I feel lucky to be able to call myself a native. But New York isn’t just full of people who have places to be, it is full of vegan food.

Dan and I have been spoiled. His entire vegan life, and mine since college ended, has been spent in a place with (according to supervegan.com, my favorite site for all things vegan in NYC) 64 vegan restaurants and 120 vegetarian restaurants. We don’t eat out much, as it is expensive and not conducive to saving money to travel the world, but when we do it is almost exclusively at vegan or vegetarian restaurants.

Now, when I am outside of the City and I am in a place that doesn’t have easy access to vegan food I get grumpy. Iceberg lettuce and french fries? AGAIN?!? But Dan and I will have to learn. We will have to learn because “vegan” is not common everywhere. Including many of the places we are heading off to. 6 months on the road internationally will certainly teach us where “veganism” is a thing that exists and where it isn’t. I’m sure there will be gems along the way, and we will certainly search out vegan restaurants, but we will not be eating exclusively at vegan restaurants. We will be explaining to people all over the world what we do and do not eat. To mangle a quote from Finding Nemo: “Animals are friends, not food”. Though there may not be vegan restaurants in every city all over the world, I know there are vegans everywhere. If they can do it, we can too.

Time to learn the words for “meat”, “dairy”, and “eggs” in 50 languages!