14 Ways To Spot A Real New Yorker

Right now, NYC is populated by a great many transplant. So much so, in fact, that it seems they’ve almost outnumbered us born-and-bred New Yorkers. I mean, they’re certainly cooler than us, there’s no question about that. But it’s why, for instance, you might notice pedestrians leisurely walking around Brooklyn, as if they have nary a place to be. People think: “Oh that’s just typical Brooklyn,” when in fact it’s actually just the typical mentality of a Brooklyn transplant from the Midwest. New Yorkers aren’t getting calmer; New York is just getting overly-saturated by those disturbingly tranquil immigrants.
I have a theory on why coffee art is suddenly on the rise in New York: I declare it’s a result of the influx of serene non-New Yorker types. They’re scooping up jobs everywhere and can be found in abundance working at coffee shops. As non-New Yorkers, they don’t perpetually feel as if they’re followed by an aura of urgency and so take their time to make coffee and, accordingly, coffee art.

1. A suspicious attitude towards everything and everyone.

It was never easy to trust people in New York, but it seems with the recent inundation of genuinely happy people it’s become even harder. Back in the day the protocol was as follows: I don’t look at you, you don’t look at me. This may not have always worked in our favors—like the time we were mugged and everyone pretended they didn’t notice—but most of the time it did. Now I’m getting smiles from strangers every which way and I don’t know what to make of it. Which is why I’ve decided to play it safe and always have a rape whistle handy.

2. They have no patience for you.

You being the guy who decides the busy subway entrance is a mighty fine spot to take a conference call. Or you, as in the family who decides to take a quick peek at the subway map in the exact same spot as where everyone else is trying to catch their rush-hour train. Native New Yorkers will have no patience for you and they’ll typically show it.

3. An inability or lack of desire to drive.

One thing these transports will never have on us is the exceptional ability, at 25 years old, to say “nah, never learned how” when asked if we drive. Might not be a totally worthy boast, but it’s one way we New Yorkers like to stick together. #SOLIDARITY

4. An easy marker: a dog.

A 20-something with a dog in New York City is, more times than not, a native New Yorker. As Mos Def would say: it’s simple mathematics. It’s just less likely for a 20-something to have a dog here if their parents’ home (and amenities) isn’t a cab ride away.

5. An undue amount of shock when rejected from clubs.

Raised in NYC, it was a rather large blow to the ego when my friends and I started trying to go out, only to discover that most places wouldn’t let us in. As luck would have it, it seems bouncers and door girls would sooner have a tall, model-looking chick from Wyoming enter their club than a shorter and more stout New Yorker with a finely-tuned ear for sarcasm. Which is why a resentful-looking pack of babes near the Meatpacking District tends to be an accurate indicator of native New Yorkers.

6. Making cars stop for them.

The manner in which one crosses the street is, for New Yorkers, an abundantly clear sign of your origin. There’s a murky middle-ground, but by and large, a pedestrian who strictly adheres to what the crosswalk dictates is a pitiable transplant—clearly still a noob, trying desperately to not get killed.

Conversely, pedestrians who don’t even hesitate at the curb, but rather make the cars and cabs adhere to them, was probably born in New York.

7. A knowledge of uptown Manhattan.

There is nothing more foreign, more magical and more awe-inspiring to New York transplants than uptown Manhattan. For starters, they never venture up there—and why would they? For the finest gefilte fish? They also assume, right off the bat, that it’s stuffy, unapproachable, and somewhere they’d have a hard time fitting in. Hence a New Yorker who knows his or her way around uptown is generally a real New Yorker.

8. “Unfit” to watch Girls.

It just hits WAY too close to home in an eerie and startling have-you-been-spying-on-me-through-my-blinds? kind-of-way.

9. Barking directions at cab drivers.

New York novices often make the common mistake of confusing our taxi drivers with, say, the exceedingly knowledgable taxi drivers in London. Whereas a true New Yorker has learned long ago never to trust a cab driver and that they usually know where they’re going better than the cabbie anyway.

10. Moving from Manhattan to Brooklyn.

In a recent Girls episode Marnie told Ray, with regards to his Brooklyn apartment, “I could never live all the way out here. Once you move to Manhattan, it’s kinda hard to move back to Brooklyn,” expressing a general attitude applicable ONLY to New York transplants. For native New Yorkers—specifically the ones who grew up in Manhattan—they’re kind of smitten with the newfound charm of an old borough, are often tired of the Manhattan lifestyle, and tend to make that “reverse migration” that Marnie finds so despicable.

11. Discomfort in nature.

Someone who was raised in New York has not a shot in hell of becoming comfortable around nature. The mere sound of crickets and birds chirping gives them the kind of crippling anxiety and discomfort that could only result in loose bowels.

Conversely, a short list of things that will make New Yorkers feel back at home (and, in doing so, strengthen their sphincters): cat calls, car alarms, and nonsense gibberish spewed from the mouth of a homeless man.

12. Another quick way to find out if someone was born in NYC:

Ask them the name of their high school; open up Google search and type in the school name + scandal + New York Magazine. If this renders results, then you’ve got yourself a winner. Typically, the more results this search produces, the better the school.

13. Genuine confusion over Australians.

A real New Yorker is irreparably baffled by the mass migration of Australians. They find the accent rather aberrant, fake-sounding, and abhorrent. They’re curious as to why the whole move-to-the-other-side-of-the-world thing appealed to them. And they find the profusion of beanies distressing.

14. They’ve seen a man masturbating on the train.

NYC has about 30 of these guys, dispersed about the five boroughs. As a real New Yorker it would be a mathematical impossibility not to have ever witnessed at least one of them on the train. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Writer at Thought Catalog. Follow me on Twitter.

Keep up with Rachel on Twitter

More From Thought Catalog