New York City is the rusted, dinged-up pot of gold that people mistook for a trashcan to toss away their stale pizza crusts, Liquiteria cups, and empty spray paint cans. It sits brilliantly at the end of neon rainbow personally designed by Jay-Z and funded by John D. Rockefeller. Allegedly.
New Yorkers’ way of life could perplex anyone, but perhaps the transplant with the most to learn is the humble country bumpkin, a rare genus of American prevailing from the so-called Flyover States. Even history textbooks confess that Thomas Jefferson only bought this land because it was on clearance—an irresistible “Buy New Orleans, Get Everything Else Free” deal.
To the rural transplant, the language they grew up speaking no longer suffices. In addition to learning how to phonetically differentiate between “cot” and “caught” and say “soda” instead of “pop,” Americans hailing from tiny rural towns must dispose of every word and phrase they thought they knew upon arriving in The City.
Before: That thing you do because the nearest Target is two hours away.
After: That thing you do because you’re too lazy to go to Target.
“Sorry, we’re closed.”
Before: It’s like, 9 pm. Go home. Heat up a frozen pizza.
After: It’s like, 2 am. Check Yelp to find the nearest restaurant that’s still open.
Before: The person whose baking soda you “borrow,” sidewalk you shovel when you’re feeling generous, and yard you search when your cat goes missing (again).
After: The voice you faintly hear in the hallways or on the other side of your bedroom wall. You’ve never actually seen their faces.
Before: You actually had to come to a full stop at this intersection and wait for TWO VEHICLES to go by!
After: Being crammed onto a sweltering, Brooklyn-bound J train with someone’s briefcase poking into the back of your knee, someone’s armpit pressed against your face, and someone else’s elbow jammed into your left boob.
Before: This bar has Blue Moon on tap!!
After: This bar carries a craft ale that’s infused with blackberries grown an organic farm 45 minutes from here and hand-picked by magical fairies!!
Before: Not even in your vocabulary. Your town is too small to have neighborhoods. It’s all just one ‘hood, basically.
After: A unique section of town with its own character, demographics, ambiance, food scene, nightlife, noise level, and architecture, and the train service in yours is ABSOLUTELY worse than your friends’, but your neighborhood has better coffee.
Before: Drop what you’re doing. Run outside. Investigate. Figure out where the sirens are headed. Immediately call your grandma to make sure she’s not having a stroke.
After: That loud thing that disrupts your sidewalk brunch at Petite Abeille every ten minutes.
After: The process of hauling your Trader Joe’s bags three blocks to the subway station, down two flights of stairs, off the train to transfer from the 6 to the F platform, back up two flights of stairs, four blocks east and two blocks north, and up five flights of stairs to your overpriced apartment.
Before: This bacon cheeseburger comes with a side of iceberg lettuce drenched in ranch dressing. I’m so healthy, you guys.
After: My burger is made from walnuts, quinoa, and millet and topped with alfalfa sprouts, avocado, and heirloom tomatoes, and it comes with a side of arugula dressed in a citrus vinaigrette. I’m so healthy, you guys.
Before: Something that you instantly dispensed from a machine bafflingly labeled “hazelnut latte cappuccino” into a 16 oz. Styrofoam cup at a gas station.
After: Six ounces of heaven composed of toasty, rich espresso and a thick foamy layer of steamed milk floating at the top. It is life. Coffee is life.
Before: $2. Drinks all night, baby!
After: $7. Drinks all night, baby!