“Real” New Yorkers

If I haven’t told you before (I probably have because, let’s be honest, I tell you guys everything) I’m pretty obsessed with How I Met Your Mother. Nina introduced me to the series early this year when I was going batshit crazy from my job at The Flower Company and I was so taken with the show that I used a solid stream of all seven seasons and calzones to self-medicate. See also, those six weekends in a row that I didn’t go out.

Ever since then, Ted Mosby, Robin Scherbatsky, Lily, Marshall and Barney Stinson hold a special place in my heart for getting me through a tough time.

I love you guys

Today I was thinking about the episode where the gang outlines the things you have to have experienced in order to qualify as a “real” New Yorker.

  • Seen Woody Allen
  • Stolen a cab from someone who needs it more than you
  • Cried on the subway and not given a damn what anyone thinks
  • Killed a cockroach with your bare hand

Now that I’ve been here two years, I’m starting to notice changes in my behavior that reflect a transformation. Sure, a born and bred New Yorker would scoff at these changes but to me they represent my joining the ranks of so many who’ve come before me. Those once fresh-faced transplants from the Midwest, the suburbs, or any other place on this whole planet who now consider themselves New Yorkers.

While I haven’t done everything on the HIMYM list and I can only hope I’ll never have to kill a cockroach with my bare hand, I do have my own set of experiences and skills I’ve acquired living in New York.

Here’s a list of ten of them:

1. Learn to sleep through the night, despite how ungodly loud it is outside always.

In my opinion I think the real reason this city never sleeps is because outside our windows is freaking insanity. On any given night, I can expect to be awoken by any or all of the following sounds:

  • Greyhounds and tour buses
  • Screaming couple fight (“I love you” “NO! I LOVE YOU” “NO YOU DON’T” “FUCKKKKK YOUUUU”)
  • Ambulances/ cop cars/ the exhaust pipe from a car that could only have been created by the mechanics of Pimp My Ride.
  • Jackhammering. I want to meet the dude with the 11PM to 3 AM jackhammering shift. Shit seems rough.
  • Above, below and side neighbors moving furniture, learning how to salsa dance with elephants, having some sort of orgy, getting tortured/ killed – ok, I get scared sometimes when I wake up to weird sounds.

This is a very recent skill I’ve acquired and I’m particularly proud of it. Sure, when I go anywhere else the first night I go to sleep with that buzzing in my ears that you normally only get after going to a concert because my ears don’t understand silence anymore, but as of late I’ve been waking up in the morning and feeling downright well-rested. Hell yes.

2. Actively select where you board all your subway trains in order to minimize time spent walking through your destination station.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/06/technology/personaltech/06smart.html. You’re welcome.

3. Know how to walk over grates in stilettos without falling/ getting stuck/ breaking an ankle.

I wracked my brain for the male equivalent of this and came up with nothing. Guys, any ideas?

4. The ability to recommend restaurants in every Manhattan neighborhood below 96th street.

Extra points if you know their happy hour special.

Double extra points if you didn’t read about it on New York Mag/ Gothamist.

Triple extra points if you places above 96th street.

5. Have your go-to source for NYC-specific news.

Mine is Gothamist. I read that shit erryday. I’m sure there’s a more hipster one, but I’m not that cool.

6. Knowing which supermarkets are the best for specific items and building your purchasing habits around that knowledge.

  • Wholefoods for meat and produce (unless you can go to the Green Market)
  • Trader’s for basic ingredients/ frozen food/ wine
  • Pre-made deliciousness comes from Westside. Just don’t buy their maraschino cherries (Thanks to Clare for that nugget of wisdom!)
  • Zabars for Cheese… the list goes on

7. Fall in love.

OMG you guys this one is SO good. If you can pair it with things like a promotion at work and a post-date cab ride down Park Avenue when the Empire State building is lit up extra pretty, you’ll be updating your FB status to something obnoxious like, “Maybe I CAN have it all…” in no time.

8. Learn that you can’t have it all.

And accept the fact. No, you can’t be the next up-and-coming executive under thirty and have an awesome body and have a perfect relationship and have an awesome social life. There’s a line in Sex and the City that perfectly describes this point – “ln New York, you’re always looking for a job, a boyfriend or an apartment.”

Anyone who tells you otherwise IS LYING. You people know who you are… Thanks for trying to make the rest of us look bad you jerks.

9. Have a no good, very bad, shitshow of a day.

Lock yourself out, throw away your unlimited monthly metrocard two days after forking over the $104 to buy it, step in something that may or may not be poop/piss/semen/blood, order lunch from that place you’ve been wanting to try and have it suck so bad you whisper curses under your breath and contemplate writing your first Yelp review ever because of the principal of the thing, talk to your ex on gchat at work and then cry in the bathroom after he mentions the girl you’re positive he’s now sleeping with, and then finish it off by getting stuck with one of those super talkative cab drivers who’s intent on teaching you the meaning of life.

New York is a great place to be happy, but it’s also a great place to be upset because it’s full of fuel for your fire and having a massive public blow up is occasionally necessary, and cathartic. I once told a guy who was being rude to me at the deli I went to every day to “HAVE A TERRIBLE DAY” in front of 15 people and stormed out.

10. Start to imagine that you just might alter your life plans so you can stay in this fantastic metropolis a few more years… or you know, forever. 

You definitely can’t have it all at once, but if you stay long enough you might be able to have all of the pieces you want at different times.

What are the things that make you a “real” New Yorker/ Atlantan/ Botoga-vien (Robin is that what you call it?)/ San Franciscan?

Peace, Love and Bagels that you can’t get anywhere else, 


PS – One more thing about How I Met Your Mother and how much I love it: I recently woke up and discovered that I had drunkenly purchased the entire seventh season on iTunes because it wasn’t on Netflix. I’m gonna go watch some episodes. Right. Now.

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