How to be like a real New Yorker It’s hard to believe that soon it will be five years since I moved to New York. So many things have happened during this time. I learned to love the city and how to navigate its streets and metro stations. I’ve not only ceased to notice behaviors that initially irked me about New Yorkers, but actually embraced them. Things that even three years ago made me laugh have become my own habits 🙂
Here are seven things I once scorned and now embrace.
1) I call Manhattan ” the city”
Although New York City consists of five boroughs and each borough is an equal member of the city, New Yorkers refer only to Manhattan as “the city.” If someone asks whether you live in “the city,” she is asking if you live in Manhattan.
2) I complain: “The city is dying ” or ” New York is not the same as it once was “
New York is changing fast. Come back from a week of vacation and find that your corner coffee shop has disappeared and has been replaced by a new one. New York changes constantly and New Yorkers are always beating the drum for what has disappeared. Recently, I came across the EB White’s book ” Here is New York” and in the first paragraph the author complains, that unfortunately, ” his city is dying and New York will never be the same” … and the book was written in 1948.
3) Fitness, yoga and exaggerated health care
Like everyone here, I was ” forced ” into regular physical activity. This city requires tremendous energy. Like most of New Yorkers I start the day with a glass of water with lemon, drink wheatgrass juice and regularly visit the gym.
4) I order (almost) everything by phone at any time of the day … and night
In New York, you can order everything by phone – all meals, alcohol, movies, sex , laundry – whatever you want. Last year one of the local animal shelters organized a kitten delivery service. For $20, a kitten could be brought to your home or office for a twenty minute play period. I haven’t ordered either kittens or sex, but almost everything else.
5) I have all meals outside my home: breakfast, lunch and dinner
In New York, there are so many different restaurants that eating out is not only convenient but it is often even cheaper. That is why kitchens are so small in New York City apartments: no one uses them.
6) I ask everyone how they feel and I wish them a nice day
This is not just New York , but everywhere I go in America. Questioning someone about how they feel is not natural for us non English speakers. But when you begin to think in English, it comes naturally, including the response “thank you , I feel fine.” After that you are automatically in a good mood. Smiling, talking to strangers on the street. This is the American way.
7) I eat lunch in front of a computer at work
I’m not proud of this and long tried to fight it. Unfortunately, this is a city of workaholics . Nobody has time to go out for a lunch. And you can get lunch delivered by making a phone call. See number 4 above.
Here are six things I don’t do yet, thank god.
1) I never yell “taxi”
New York is so noisy that there is no way a taxi driver can hear you. Moreover, taxi drivers very often come from India or South America, places where music accompanies them everywhere, especially in cars.
2) I do not run around with a coffee in my hand
I drink only espresso in the morning. By contrast, most New Yorkers go through the day with a large cup of coffee. Nobody here drinks regular coffee. It is doctored with soy or almond milk or done up as a fat-free-decaf latte.
3) I do not go on detox vacations
For New Yorkers daily meditation and yoga are not enough. I often hear colleagues say, “I have to go on the holiday cleanse, you know what I mean” … well, I don’t
4) I don’t say “Let’s get together.”
New Yorkers don’t make plans. They say, “Lets get together! I’ll call you” And they don’t call for two months.
5) I don’t spend $10,000 a year on a trainer or a gym
I do not spend a fortune on super gyms, which are a bit like a religious cults. Members wear ridiculously expensive shirts denoting their membership and swear that “this gym has changed my life.”
6) I do not spend (every) weekend in the Hamptons
New Yorkers travel to the Hamptons, or Upstate on every vacation weekend in order to “get away from the stress of living in New York. ” Of course, just to realize that everybody else had exactly the same idea. Which in practice means several hours of traffic jams and spending the weekend recreating New York.
Did I forget something? 🙂
Clearly “do’s” are winning … I’m becoming more of a New Yorker every day.