Real New Yorkers

Hey guys! Recently I read Time Out New York’s article on “Eight ways to tell a real New Yorker from a fake New Yorker“. It was published in 2016, but it was recently re-posted on Facebook. People chimed in down in the comments – I’ll post my 2 cents here 🙂

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1) Real New Yorkers will sit by the rail at all costs. 

You will have to look at the article to understand what they mean. But they are basically saying that in the subway, New Yorkers prefer to sit at the end of the row of seats where the rail (that people who are standing up hold) is. It’s nice to lean up against, or rest an arm on it (provided that it’s not a crowded train). And who would want to be squished between two people? I would rather stand, to be honest.

2) Fake New Yorkers will wait for the walk sign.

I remember one of my younger cousins would say, “I’m from Brooklyn – I know how to cross the street!” while running out into the street while the cars still have the light. I would sigh and cross the street with him in most cases.

If I know the streets and how the lights run, then I will cross even if it doesn’t say “Walk”. If I don’t know the street enough to predict how traffic is flowing, or if I don’t feel as alert as I should be, then I will wait. However, if there is a crowd crossing against the light, then of course I will go with them. Safety in numbers, right? We used to do that a lot in high school – used to piss off the drivers. And this was in downtown Brooklyn too…lmao.

For my high school senior trip, we went to Kings Dominion and.. forgot the other popular park in VA/DC area. But I do remember we were in DC and we were walking around. One of my friends was like – hey this isn’t NY- remember to cross at the crosswalks! We were like yeah – we don’t want tickets lmao.

There is a trick that I (and probably others) use when crossing in the middle of a long block. There is a small window of opportunity where both traffic lights are red at the same time. That’s the best time to cross the street because all cars should be slowing down or stopped. Noticed the operative word is SHOULD. Again, I only do this for blocks that I regularly cross (would never do this in the city).

 3) Fake New Yorkers are still offered mixtapes in Times Square.

That’s because real New Yorkers are too busy walking to pay attention to what is around them. The tourists stop and take pics of EVERY LITTLE THING. When my ex sister-in-law and my niece came to NYC, I was amazed how all of these peddlers would come up to her. She had a heavy southern accent and loved to talk to people, so she was I guess easy prey? One person even tried to sell her an expired MetroCard (that you use to ride the buses and trains). The guy was like, “Oh, I can tell that you’re not from around here.” I was like “No, but I am, and we’re not interested”. Guy shut up really quick and walked away.

The most I would accept is a flyer, because I know that they at times get paid for how many flyers they hand out. And plus it’s easy to take a flyer as you are power walking down the block. But that is if you want to be friendly 🙂

4) Real New Yorkers will have a strong opinion about the city’s best burger.  

This kinda threw me off. I was like, “Burger? Ehh…” Then when I was reading down in the FB comments, someone wrote, “I think everyone has opinion on the best “pizza”. . . Not so much the burgers”. I would agree with the pizza more. I am always thinking about which pizzeria currently makes the best pizza (and no it’s not Domino’s or any of the chain restaurants).

5) Fake New Yorkers won’t eat from food carts.  

Hmm…I never tested this. But I love getting food from the Halal carts – chicken over rice and veggies with salad, red & white sauce is my favorite. But I will only order when they are located at highly populated areas. I feel that the food is fresher that way. As a kid both of my parents and I used to get hot dogs from the carts. I remember one time someone gave me a soft pretzel and I took a couple of bites and dropped it into my bag…yuck.

6) Real New Yorkers will give an intersection, not an address. 

I had to think about this too, but it’s very true. Someone in the FB comments said,Real New Yorkers will give an intersection, not an address. – #FACTS! I get so confused when people tell me an address. Or worse, say “the Southeast corner of _____.” Tell me it’s on 125 and Lenox by the chicken spot! Or something like that! You can give an address, but cross streets are better. Because you will see the cross street way before you will get the numbered address. In some places like Queens, the numbers have the cross street built into the address because most places in Queens are numbered streets. To me it’s very confusing with the way they name their streets, but they say named streets are hard.

7) Real New Yorkers won’t wait in line for food.

It’s because there are too many places to go in NYC to eat. For instance, I have never been to Shake Shack because there is always a freaking line every time I pass near one. It seems v3ery hyped up…and for what? Because they sell wine? Go to a restaurant or bar then lol. I can see waiting to be called for a restaurant but that’s about it.

8) Real New Yorkers will just walk.

Yeah – depending how long the blocks are, you may as well just walk if the buses are running slow.  Walking down on Broadway from 34th street to 14th is a nice leisurely way to get acquainted with everything. I think once I walked from 111th to 14th after I was told on my birthday that if I didn’t get a certain email, then I couldn’t participate in a research seminar that they were holding on that particular day. So how did I know to go there then? Smh. I also walk on 3rd Avenue in Brooklyn because the bus that runs down that street is super slow, and the blocks are short.

Okay – let’s see what other comments Facebook has…

All true. I had not walked in rush hour in Manhattan for years. Had my mojo back in a flash and moved at lightening speed.

I admit, when I went to the city after my dad was admitted to the hospital, I felt a bit intimidated. I hasn’t been to the city at rush hour in a long time. There is no time for dilly-dallying – you better walk fast, and you better know where you are going. The next time I went, however, I had no issues walking with the flow. And yes, the people who commented after that person said they were not a real New Yorker because she called it Manhattan…lol.

Someone else said,Just to clarify for everyone – If you live on the island of Manhattan, you’re probably using the term “Manhattan”, or more likely your neighborhood (Harlem, Chelsea, Alphabet City), to describe where you live. This rule also applies to people in areas of Queens like Astoria, Flushing, and LIC because these neighborhoods are still considered a part of the metropolitan area so saying you are from “the city” if you live in these areas is too generalized and can be confusing in conversation. If you are a Manhattan or Queens resident, you are likely to use the name of your neighborhood.

Those of us from the outer boroughs in Bronx, Brooklyn, far Queens, Staten Island, Long Island, Westchester and Jersey simply say “the city” referring to the general metropolitan area. This is because people from the outer boroughs are less familiar with where one neighborhood ends and another begins.

In the north Bronx and Westchester, the old timers still refer to the general metropolitan area as “downtown” because all the trains run south headed “downtown” into “the city”. But this is rare and if you are still using “downtown” in your vocabulary… You are a REAL New Yorker. The new school young kids these days are simply going to refer to the neighborhood. “I’m headed to Union Square” or “I live in Astoria” and “my boyfriend works in Tribeca”.

A person from Harlem won’t tell a person from Washington Heights I live in “The City” or “Manhattan” because they both live in “The City” and “Manhattan”.

Also a real New Yorker doesnt get worried when subway performers start swinging from pole to pole in the subway car . I have yet to see someone slip and hit anyone by mistake. But tourists get so scared lol we just read our books or listen to our music and clap when it’s over lol

Yes – I have seen people do literal flips on moving trains…magician acts…synchronized dancing, singers…panhandlers of all kinds…it’s just something to be expected.

Real New Yorkers will remember Alexander’s, Gimbels, and A&S Department Stores. Electronic shops Like Crazy Eddie’s and The Wiz. Seduto ice cream. Zum Zum Hot Dogs and when you could eat at counters in Woolworths and Chock Full Of Nuts. Real New Yorkers will remember the double RR trains (double letter trains in general), Mayor Koch, and the Train to the Plane. Real New Yorkers remember when Times Square was peep shows, and Port Authority smelled like bum piss and you had to watch your luggage. Old New York you couldn’t walk in Flatbush, or Red Hook, or Greenpoint, now there are high rises and condos there going for millions.

I would say this guy is from old New York for sure. I don’t remember Gimbels except from Miracle on 34th Street. But I believe it used to be where the Manhattan Mall is today. I definitely remember A&S , Woolworths and Alexander’s because my mom would  take me shopping all of the time as a kid. We had a deal – she could look at clothing all she wanted, as long as we stopped by the toy department before we left. And I didn’t even ask her to get me anything most of the time 😀

My dad used to love Kung Fu movies…when I was little he would take me to Chinatown and would go to movies…like 3 movies for $5 or some really cheap price. It could easily be an afternoon out. The few times I went or passed through 42nd Street I remembered all the lights and the XXX. I didn’t really know what it meant though. Years later when I went back it was weird because I didn’t recognize it at all. I almost thought that I never went there before, until I read that Guilani had cleaned up Times Square.

And I would watch my luggage at any place…who leaves their bags unattended? Stupid people. This includes asking others to watch their bags.

Real New Yorker doesn’t say Times Square, they say 42nd Street. It isn’t New York City, its Manhattan. Born and raised New Yorker and still living here. Grew up in Spanish Harlem and the South Bronx.
Went to Cali for work recently and found myself way out my element because I was walking against the traffic, walking zig zag through the crowds to get where I was going faster. People there walk straight lines. I don’t have time to walk your pace. I need to keep it moving.

Yeah…usually for Times Square we would say 42nd street (never mind that there are 3 possible places on 42nd street that the trains can take you too lmao).  And yes, if people are walking slow it is normal for people to zig zag across. I walk in front of people if they are walking too slow. I hate when people do that to me because it means I wasn’t walking fast enough :/

I am trying to remember what we did the one time I went to Cali…when we did go out maybe we did zig zag? Can’t remember.

Want to know a Real New Yorker from a faker? Easy. Ask them to read anything that says “Houston St.’ Real New Yorkers know its pronounced “House-ton.”

Yeah. I have another example. My supervisor was dating a guy, and she was like she couldn’t pronounce his street. “Court -a-lou”. I was like huh?  Then she spelled it – Cortelyou. I was like oh Cor-tel-you Road (even though I say it Cort-till-you most of the time lol).

Real New Yorkers know better than to get on the empty subway car


Real New Yorkers don’t walk looking up and blocking sidewalks. We walk like we’re on a mission.

Correct. I used to get told that all of the time because when people see me on the street, I never see them unless they literally block my path. At the office one time, a secretary was like you literally walk from point A to B and don’t care what is in between (this was after she had told me about office drama and I was clueless lol). My own mom used to say I would have a happy look on my face until I would see her. I think it was because I would get self conscious and wonder was I doing anything wrong.

Real New Yorkers don’t go to Times Square

I go because my friend lives in Queens and sometimes it’s easier for us to meet there. But everything is so much more expensive there :/ Applebees has some promotions on entrees, like 2 for $25 or something like that. When we went to eat at the Times Square location, we had asked the server, who never heard of it. I had called the Applebees office, and I was told that the franchises in Manhattan were different than in the outer boroughs, and maybe I could try Harlem. I was like um no…if we would go there we could easily go back to Brooklyn or Queens in the same time and we would know the specials are there. She sounded snotty as shit when she said that. Obviously we could afford the meals – it was just that if we ate at several Applebees and they all have the same menu, one would think Manhattan would have the same. we eventually stopped going there because my friend was obsessed with happy hour, and we kinda got in trouble at every place. One location she slipped the server her number, another we filed a complaint because they gave us watered down drinks, etc.

Real New Yorkers don’t use the phrase “in line” when talking about waiting for something.

We say “on line”, yes. Didn’t really notice that until now.

Real New Yorkers will use the original names of bridges.

And streets…I think it’s whatever you grew up saying. For instance, when I was going to college, when I would go by car we would have to take a certain parkway to get on the BQE (Brooklyn-Queens Expressway). Depending on who drove, they would say either the Interboro (Parkway) or the Jackie Robinson.

A real New Yorker can fall asleep on the train or the bus and wake up at their stop.

Most of the time, yes. I recently told people that after a night out I totally missed my bus stop and I went into the next neighborhood. Luckily as I was walking back I caught the bus again and he let me go for free.

The thing I dont understand is when the light turns green and you are crossing the cars don’t let you cross . They make you run lol Especially cabs and Buses . Why do buses not stop ? In NY cars have the right of way always it seems

I don’t know why, but if you care about your safety, you better walk or run quickly.

So, what do you think? Whether you’re from New York or not, let me know below ^^

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