A Year In New York

A Daily Bite of the Big Apple

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Day 62: Am I a New Yorker Yet?

August 27th · 5 Comments

Today I read with great interest a story in the New York Times called “Newcomers Adjust, Eventually, to New York” about the thousands who arrive each year and their challenge of assimilation. Exactly when does a newcomer become a New Yorker?

I asked myself that question and, man, I just don’t know. My fifth-floor apartment is all decked out and I love being there at the end of the day, but last week, while on the West Coast, I asked myself where home was, and the answer that bubbled up was…San Francisco. 

I know where to find a good pumpernickel bagel in my neighborhood but am clueless where to get a haircut, as my bushy mane attests.

I know which treats I like from the street vendors (gyros, chicken on a skewer, honey-roasted nuts) and have noted which sidewalk grates produce an especially nasty smell. I know where to get a decent price on red peppers, but orange juice? No idea.

In a conversation two weeks ago, I was embarrassed to admit I didn’t know that Brooklyn and Queens are actually on Long Island.

I know one subway line pretty well (the 6) and another with passing familiarity (the A), but ask me where the D or J or M goes and it’s deer-in-the-trainlights. I have not been on the LIRR and don’t know what PATH stands for. On the other hand, I am no longer feeding my MetroCard into the bus reader upside-down, and I can gripe convincingly that I could walk 2nd Avenue faster than the stupid M15 Local.

I paid $40 for a t-shirt and thought I was getting a good deal.

I don’t think I’m walking any faster, but maybe I was a fast walker to start with. I have been blatantly rude to only one person, but that was over the phone.

One litmus test is how broad my list of contacts has become. I have a few new acquaintances, but (with the obvious and welcome exception of Joo) I have no one I can count on to join me for a movie or a beer. For me, that’s the telling and lonely question.

Can I say I’m a New Yorker if I don’t yet have any New York friends?

Tags: Deep Thoughts

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Sulley // Aug 28, 2008 at 1:54 am

    A rolling rock has no flock.

  • 2 Bev // Sep 7, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    Just finally read the newcomer article. I really really envy your unique situation/opportunity. I hope you end up envying yourself. I’m so glad you have Joo to be there with. I’m sure it’s waaay better than landing there yourself and floundering. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy! I WISH it were me! Maybe I’ll do a summer swap with someone.

  • 3 mohi // Sep 8, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    You could ask Kevin on a man-date 🙂

  • 4 anne // Sep 10, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    Now now dave, enough with the stereotypes.
    You misunderstand most New yorkers are not blatantly rude, they are concise (and maybe on occasion terse). Which I myself appreciate.
    Re: the bushy mane. Go to Astor Place immediately lest you start resembling a chia pet.

  • 5 Gabrielle O'Sullivan // Nov 8, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    I read this with a sigh of relief. I don’t WANT you or Anju to become too cozy in the big apple. Remember you left your hearts on the west coast. You can’t take the California (or Washington state!) out of your soul!!!!!! 🙂

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