How To Be A REAL New Yorker

You’re not a real New Yorker until you’ve lived here for ten years, which coincidentally is exactly how long you have to wait on line to loudly complain to an underpaid employee about how long you’ve been waiting on line at the post office.

You’re not a real New Yorker until you’ve killed a roach or a rat or a dream with your bare hands.

You’re not a real New Yorker unless you’re the voice of a gentrification.

You’re not a real New Yorker until you’re in a cab that gets in an accident.

You’re not a real New Yorker if you take cabs.

You’re not a real New Yorker until someone asks you for directions, or a pigeon poops on you in Port Authority, or a pigeon—who looks like he really needs to poop—asks you for directions to Port Authority.

You’re not a real New Yorker until you fight the StayPuft Marshmallow Man to the death, by tricking him into attending his own Comedy Central Roast.

You’re not a real New Yorker until you were born here and you die here and you are reborn here and you give birth here to a second version of yourself—preferably in an outer borough, where real New Yorkers live.

You’re not a real New Yorker until you live in Manhattan. Or you drink a lot of them and puke on a really expensive street corner in Tribeca.

You’re not a real New Yorker until you have been to ALL of the secret cocktail bars—including the one in the Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles’ sewer lair and the one in your bedroom.

You’re not a real New Yorker unless you lived here in the 80s, the East or West 80s, and had a prescription drug problem.

You’re not a real New Yorker unless you “couldn’t help but wonder” how Carrie afforded that goddamn apartment or wasn’t murdered.

You’re not a real New Yorker if you refer to the subway trains by their designated colors. Or if you refer to them by their numbers, letters, or anything at all besides, “Where the fuck is the train?”

You’re not a real New Yorker if you refer to the sandwiches at Subway as “sandwiches.”

You’re not a real New Yorker until you’ve been mugged, or mugged someone, or bought a mug that says “I Heart NY” and thrown it through your apartment window because you’d rather climb through shattered glass than pay a locksmith $500 to open the broken front door that your ghost of a super will never fix.

You’re not a real New Yorker until you catch The Wet Bandits with a net made out of pizza cheese.

You’re not a real New Yorker if you weren’t here on September 11, 2001.

You’re not a real New Yorker if you weren’t here on September 11, 1609.

You’re not a real New Yorker until you’ve partied with Duane Reade, the youngest of the Reade family, and heir to endless wealth from a pharmaceutical empire—or just bought underwear from one of his stores.

You’re not a real New Yorker until you’ve high-fived the Statue of Liberty, low-fived a member of the Warriors, or medium-fived a storefront psychic.

You’re not a real New Yorker until you’ve performed in a production of my new play The Bodega Monologues. Excerpt: “My bodega is warm. My bodega is inviting. My bodega has a $10 minimum for credit cards.”

You’re not a real New Yorker until you move here.

You’re not a real New Yorker until you move away from here.

You’re not a real New Yorker until your bones have been completely replaced by untwisted hot pretzels.

You’re not a real New Yorker if you don’t become sexually aroused by sub-market rents, trend desserts, or public radio—or hate people who do.

You’re not a real New Yorker until you vote here, pay taxes here, and send your kids to the widely-varying public schools—or at least you maintain a healthy fear of parades, love of concerts, and cruise people while eating street hot dogs.

You’re not a real New Yorker until you see Woody Allen in person or in all of his movies—even The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, which is about a scorpion whose curse forces you to watch The Curse of the Jade Scorpion.

You’re not a real New Yorker until you’re in the New York Times because you’re getting married or using it as a terrible sleeping bag.

You’re not a real New Yorker until you have viewed the city as the love of your life, your nemesis, or both during the same L Train ride.

You’re not a real New Yorker until you’ve walked across the Brooklyn Bridge because it’s so incredibly breathtaking and romantic or there’s a blackout.

You’re not a real New Yorker until you’ve defeated Mayor Bloomberg in a test of wills, or just started making your own soda in a bathtub.

You’re not a real New Yorker until you get gentrified—not your neighborhood—you personally.  Like a Starbucks opens on that really cool, authentic arm you used to have all to yourself.

You’re not a real New Yorker unless you’ve finally given up defending our Mexican restaurants’ cuisine to Californians because it’s just not worth it.

You’re not a real New Yorker until you use a Metrocard to carve your name into the 300 year-old gigantic magical apple hidden in Central Park.

You’re not a real New Yorker until they use your street address on Law & Order.

You’re not a real New Yorker unless you don’t believe in pronouncing “R”s, but do believing in pronouncing marriage for gays.

You’re not a real New Yorker until everyone you know is taking classes toward an MBA, or to master artisanal knife skills, or to achieve whatever demented prize they give to people who do enough hours of sketch comedy.

You’re not a real New Yorker if you haven’t ridden the Cyclone, the Staten Island ferry, or a cross-town bus that, for no apparent reason, is technically moving backwards.

You’re not a real New Yorker until you take a bagel’s virginity, however you and your bagel define it.

You’re not a real New Yorker until you’ve cursed out or attempted to hookup with one of the Mets, a Time Warner Cable employee, or Sam Champion.

You’re not a real New Yorker if you’re satisfied by simply reading the newspaper, instead of having it read to you every morning by NY1’s Pat Kiernan, or the exact replica of Pat Kiernan made from an old ventriloquist dummy who sometimes fills in for him.

You’re not a real New Yorker until you know that none of these things are true and all of these things are true.

You’re not a real New Yorker if you have ever slept. TC mark

image – kevin dooley

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