What Kind of New Yorker Are You?

What kind of New Yorker are you? I have a few friends that pose this question often. If you say that you have never eaten a Gray’s Papaya hot dog they will say, “You’ve never eaten a Gray’s Papaya’s? What kind of New Yorker are you?”. If you mention that you have never walked over the Brooklyn Bridge another friend will answer with, “What? How could you never have walked over the Brooklyn Bridge? What kind of New Yorker are you?”. Hell, I’ve even been asked, “What kind of New Yorker are you?”, based on which hospital I gave birth in. Columbia Presbyterian…thank you very much. I don’t mind being asked this question, but it did get me thinking, “What kind of New Yorker am I?”

New York, as many people know, is a city of transplants. People the world around move here for many different reasons. Some people mover here for work. Some people move here to follow a dream. Other people move here to follow love. Other still aren’t sure why they moved here, but they knew that they must live here. And then there are the natives. Sounds wild doesn’t it? I am part of this odd bunch of ducks who grew up here or in one of the surrounding boroughs.


This is a city of police officers, fire fighters, teachers, construction workers, cooks, waiters, and clerks. There are high powered business people, celebrities, lawyers, doctors, and trust-fund babies. There are also the actors, dancers, singers, and writers all chasing a dream, some finding it and others still searching.
Some might say that you are a New Yorker after you have lived here for ten years. Others define being a New Yorker based on what restaurants or clubs they have gone to. I once heard someone say that getting your New York driver’s license makes you a New Yorker. I couldn’t disagree more, but to each his own.
People have so many different opinions when it comes to what makes a New Yorker a New Yorker. After I started writing this I asked a few people in my life, “What makes someone a New Yorker?” One person said that being able to navigate the sidewalks makes you a New Yorker. People who are not from New York walk diagonally and just stop short to look at things, I was told. Very un-New York behavior. Another person said that knowing how to use the subway system makes you a New Yorker. A good friend answered that a real New Yorker would ask you how much rent you pay for your apartment and wouldn’t think it was rude. I love that one!

The point is that everyone I asked immediately had an opinion. Some would argue their opinion with me to make sure that I understood how right their opinion was. Each person’s answer was very personal. Some answers were really funny and all the people I asked seemed to take great pleasure in answering the question and everyone, without exception, was extremely proud to say that they were a New Yorker. I have my own opinions as well, but mine are just as personal as everyone elses. Being a New Yorker is a state of mind, as Billy Joel might say. You either feel it or you don’t.
So, what kind of New Yorker am I?? I am my own New Yorker and no one can make me feel any less or take that away from me.
What do you think makes a someone a New Yorker? I would love to know!

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Filed under Billy Joel, Brooklyn Bridge, Gray's Papaya, New York

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