My Grand Theft Auto Life


The most embarrassing thing about NYC is the constant reminder of how many hours I sunk into Grand Theft Auto 4.

For those that don’t know, the setting of Grand Theft Auto 4 is Liberty City, which is basically a video game New York that’s filled to the brim with every stereotype that you’ve ever heard about New York. There are about nineteen prostitutes for every square foot of sidewalk, people constantly shout random inanities at you, and crime and corruption run absurdly rampant. It would be nice to meet at least one character that wasn’t auditioning for a bit part in Goodfellas 3, but nope. Even the cashier at the Cluckin’ Bell is a morally tortured gangster that wants to get out of the game, but just needs to complete one more heist.

Sections of Liberty City are also modeled after places in NYC, which really makes it hard to appreciate the beauty of it, or any aspect of it at all. I walked with some friends through Central Park on Sunday, and rather than think “Oh, that’s a cool little bridge over there,” all that enters my brain is “Man, remember when I hid under there and fired my rocket launcher at helicopters?” Instead of taking in the busy glory of midtown Manhattan, all I can think about is the time that I crashed so hard into another car that I launched Niko Bellic through the wind shield and into a building a half mile away.

New York City, man. It’s truly magical.

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