Tuesday, December 05, 2006

When is it Official?

I once heard that you are officially on your way to becoming a New Yorker when you can give someone directions without referring to a subway map.

I left work early today to await a furniture delivery at my apartment this afternoon. My bed arrived without mishap. Now I just need a mattress. But I was almost more excited by a transcending experience I had prior to boarding an uptown 2 train after leaving work.

As the 2 pulled into the station, an older woman tapped me. I paused my iPod and she asked, "Does this train stop at 57th?"

"No," I replied as the subway doors opened. "This is an express. But the Q stops at 57th. Where are you trying to go?"

"57th and Broadway," she answered.

"You can wait for the 1 train on this platform and get off at 59th Street."

"Thank you," she called after me as I boarded the 2. I looked over my shoulder and waved back at her, pressed play on my iPod and took a seat. It was only then that I realized what I had just done.

I had just given someone directions without pulling out my subway map! Granted they were simple directions toward the easy-to-navigate Upper West Side. It wasn't like I'd just explained the downtown mazes below Houston Street, but nevertheless, I recalled what I had once heard about subway directions.

While waiting for my bed to be delivered, I researched the makings of a New Yorker. Here are my findings:

You Know You're a New Yorker When ...
and You Know You're a New Yorker When ...
and my favorite You Know You're a New Yorker When ...

From Lizzie Breyer's review of "Trading Up" in Knot Magazine:
There's something about New York that makes you a snob, if you live there long enough.

New York is one of the greatest cities in the world. It's diverse, convenient, eclectic and constantly engaging. But for that very reason, it makes you totally spoiled. Describe yourself as a New Yorker once, and it means the city's in your blood -- along with everything that comes with it.


You'll notice little changes in your attitude at first. You'll still appreciate nice cars -- they become pieces of art to be appreciated, daydreams enjoyed as you ride the 4 or Q subway lines under the traffic. You start eating brunch every Sunday, and mimosas creep into your regular diet.

But most importantly, you'll start to get annoyed by people who aren't quite as chic and, well, urban. Leave New York for a minute, and it becomes crushingly clear. Even Chicago doesn't seem so great after a summer in the Big Apple. The Midwestern accents? Ugh. And who wears khaki shorts and flip-flops to a bar? Where was the bouncer when THAT happened?

New York gets under your skin like that.

But no matter how guilty you may feel for becoming A New Yorker, remember this: you're not as bad as Janey Wilcox, the protagonist of Candice Bushnell's new novel, Trading Up. And I should know -- I'm a twentysomething blonde fresh from a stay in New York -- just the kind that Candace Bushnell likes to write about.

I'm a twentysomething brunette fresh off the boat in Manhattan, who plans to spend the next 10 years writing about her life in the city - the good, the bad, the ugly and even the boring. When I first started this blog in North Carolina back in July, I had 10 years and 30 days to go - as 10 years is widely considered the official benchmark of official New Yorker-ship.

As it stands now, according to both the 10-year minimum and the New York subway anecdote, I am four months in and well on my way.

4 comments:

Fairley said...

So you may be on your way to becoming a New Yorker (la de da) but you are still listed as an area contact at the Well House in Dillsboro, NC! So you are still very much a Western North Carolinian. I wonder if you can have dual citizenship?! ;)

Shelly said...

Ah, but you're truly a NYer when you can give wrong directions without batting an eye. ;)

BNY said...

Uh oh ...

mike said...

Just for the record - I have never worn flip flops & shorts to a bar. Not all "us" Chicagoans are barbarians. Some, but not all!