Am I Still a New Yorker?
New Yorker in a state of confusion…that’s how I feel right now. As of this Summer, I’ve been living out of New York for 18 years. 18 years, WHA!!! That’s more than half my life. When I think about that, I wonder Am I still a New Yorker? I mean, really, what makes one a New Yorker? I remember Carrie Bradshaw saying that once you’ve lived in New York for 10 years, you’re officially a New Yorker. So does that mean that once you’ve been OUT of New York for over 10 years, you’re no longer a New Yorker? Frankly, that makes me a bit sad, if that’s the case.
I was born and raised in New York, the City, Uptown, the Heights/Inwood, the ‘hood. My parents and I moved to the Dominican Republic when I was 16, then I moved to St. Louis when I was 20. When I tell people I’m from New York, I get all different types of reactions. Some get all starry-eyed, or they’ll ask how I ended up in St. Louis (fair question). They might follow up with “what part?”. I often have to repeat myself, “New York…Manhattan.” They’re usually surprised that I’m from the City…Not sure why.
My favorite, by far, has to be “does anyone actually grow up in New York?” I never understood the reason for this particular question. Why would THAT be so shocking? Do they think everyone in New York is a transplant? When I heard that, I didn’t know whether to be offended or feel sorry for the person asking. Seriously, who asks that? I surely have never asked anyone (or even thought to), “Do people really grow up in St. Louis?” OY!
While writing this, I wondered what REALLY makes someone a New Yorker. I came across several different, “You know you’re a New Yorker when…” articles. Some were funny, others were made it sound like they were talking about the New York in Sex and the City. Don’t get me wrong! I love the show just as much as the next person, but the lifestyle is not realistic.
I went on my own “quest” to see what people think makes them a New Yorker. I asked a several of my friends/family what made them New Yorkers. Some were still living in the city, others had moved away. Here’s what they said makes them New Yorkers:
- Not putting up with bulls!t
- Tough exterior
- Appreciation of public transportation
- Appreciation for The City
I would say I have my moments with a few of these characteristics. I TRULY appreciate all that New York has to offer. Living in the suburbs in the MidWest makes really long for public transportation. I have my moments of impatience, my accent comes and goes at times. So, YES, I’m still a New Yorker. No matter how many years I’m gone. I’ll always be a New Yorker!
What about you? Are YOU a New Yorker?
*Photo credits: Forgotten New York and Google Maps