“Whoever is born in New York is ill-equipped to deal with any other city: all other cities seem, at best, a mistake, and, at worst, a fraud. No other city is so spitefully incoherent.” – James Baldwin
This September marked my seven-year anniversary of living in New York and because of that milestone, I’d like to consider myself somewhat of a New York veteran. Besides feeling super old and poor, I’ve picked up a few habits that help me fool people into thinking I’ve been here since the 90s.
There are just some things that you learn and realize after being a five-year veteran versus a two-year newbie. To be quite honest, I’m a master of all of them.
You can balance on the subway without holding on to the pole
This is not only a great skill but on that could also save you from a nasty cold and/or infection.
True Story: I once saw a little boy eat an entire bucket of KFC chicken, throw it up all over a subway pole, then swiftly exit while his mother yells at him.
Bonus points if you can ride the L train from 14th street to Bedford Avenue with no hands.
You start seeing the same people on the subway each morning
Now that I’m making more of an effort to get to work on time, I officially have a subway buddy. I’ve been seeing the same few people, one person in particular, on the subway each morning. I’m not sure why but it gets me so pumped to see her in the morning even though she’s always looks much more refreshed than me.
Bonus points if you can actually be real life friends with your subway buddy and/or they acknowledge your presence.
As soon as you get in a cab you begin giving the driver directions
I live in the East Village, specifically Stuy Town, so cab drivers tend to get very confused with the area. I also do not make a lot of money, therefore, when I do treat myself to a cab, I don’t play around. I need you to take the quickest and cheapest route to my apartment, which is NEVER through Times Square.
Bonus points if you can tell the cab driver how to get home from LaGuardia.
You can master the art of walking in heels in the Meatpacking District:
When I first came to New York at the tender age of 18, all I wanted to do was go to clubs, dance in heels and essentially be a video honey. Imagine my delight when I discovered the picturesque streets of the Meatpacking District. After purchasing a pair of sensible 5-inch stilettos, I was ready to go. I didn’t realize, unfortunately, that cobblestone and heels that are .5 centimeters in diameter do not mix. Lucky for me, on the rare occasion I do go out in the Meatpacking District, I can now walk without breaking my ankle. The fastest way to spot a newbie in New York? The I’m-a-new-born-deer strut that so many girls shamefully display on these historic cobblestone streets.
Bonus points if you know to never venture to the Meatpacking. It’s overpriced and bougie.
You know where to stand on the platform during the summer to avoid melting into a puddle
During the hotter months, understanding where to specifically stand near the exit to avoid sweating your ass off is absolutely essential. I recently read an article about how subway platform temperatures normally rising above 100 degrees.
Bonus points if you know where the SW side of any subway exit will take you. I always find these signs less than helpful.
People stop trying to sell you things when you walk on the sidewalk: I am a chronic and longtime sufferer of resting bitch face, but since I moved to the city it’s actually morphed into resting I-want-to-murder-you face, so much so that people don’t even bother to ask me for directions on the sidewalk. The advantage? People don’t try to sell me things on the streets either — not a comedy show, not tickets to the Empire State building, I can’t even get a free Time Out magazine on Wednesdays without running up on the people handing them out. Not sure if this is actually a good thing, but it works in my favor.
Bonus points if you can see people on the subway and the streets going out of their way to avoid being near you.