I'm a "native New Yorker". Which means I was born here. Which means I can call myself a New Yorker. Now, if you weren't born here, whether or not you can do the same gets a little fuzzier, but how about we start here: if you haven’t at least done all of these things, let's go ahead and say you’re definitely not a New Yorker. Yet.
Also a qualifier: a "Brass Monkey", aka a 40 that's been half drunk, then topped off with orange juice.
2. Hate the European mustard barons or whoever else is creating the luxury condo market
And ensuring that you will never, ever be able to buy. The only thing deader than the New York City middle class is me after angry mustard barons find where I live after they finish reading this sentence.
3. Ride in the empty train car
Hereby risking permanent nostril damage by exposing yourself to whatever noxious fumes evacuated that car, because "it’s 5:30pm and I’m tired and I’m going to be on the F for like two hours and my capacity to care about anything has reached depths heretofore unknown to mankind". Note: you don't have to do this multiple times to lay claim to the NYer moniker.
The biggest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing people that $15 scrambled eggs are good. I think New Yorkers actually hate brunch (that’s my opinion), even though they say they like it. This confuses and angers me. But, such is the duality of man and New Yorkers, that both a hate and love of this institution can define us as true participants of this mighty metropolis.
(Screw brunch in the armpit, though.)
5. Drink a quarter water
So named because they cost $.25. Downing these was a key part of growing up here. Childhood lore had quarter water causing every kind of cancer. In reality, they’re like watered-down Kool-Aid where the water is some kind of industrial chimney solvent from 19th century London. That said, they probably don’t cause cancer and actually taste okay! Initiate yourself fully into the deli elite by buying the version that’s blue, the most unnatural of drink colors.
6. Give tourists the wrong directions
Not on purpose! You’re gonna get ambushed by some fanny-packed family brokenly asking where the "potato store" is and you’re going to say "did you mean Apple?" and they’ll just twist their heads sideways in what could be a nod? Maybe? And then you’re going to direct them someway they probably didn’t want to go but, hey, you tried, right?
7. Stop being a buckethead who bemoans transplants
And instead realize that it’s the massive influx of the kind of people brave enough to try and make it here that created one of the greatest cities in the world. Nothing is more tedious than hearing people whine about "kids from Ohio" or whatever. My man, you’re probably from Scranton, so just pump the breaks.
8. Swim in a public pool
Risking a staff infection to cool off in the summer is a right of passage everyone should take. Also, antibiotics.
9. Survive a blackout
Now that hurricanes apparently hit New York every other year, you won’t have to wait until a really hot summer to experience all the fun of no power for days! Maybe weeks!
15. Refer to Manhattan as "The City" no matter where in the world you are
It’s the Highlander of municipalities.
16. Walk fast
New Yorkers understand that slow walkers are the ISIS of pedestrians. This is a cliche, but it’s true.
17. Realize that every parade is terrible and parades in general are just a bad idea
You know who liked parades? Hitler.
18. Watch basketball at The Cage or Rucker Park
If only for the smack talking and the repeated fantasy that will run through your mind where someone goes down with an ankle injury and a player looks at you and points and you’re like, "me? Whu? Okay." and then you just mercilessly reenact NBA Jam for 45 minutes followed by walking off the court to whispers of "who was that guy?".
23. Have a very strong opinion on the best slice in the city
Doesn’t matter what pizza you think is the greatest, but you have to pick one. "I dunno, I really like the sauce at Grimaldi’s, but the cheese at Lombardi’s is probably..." shut your mouth. Shut it. Shhhh. Having strong opinions -- and strong opinions about pizza especially -- is a quintessential New Yorker trait. And if you think some place outside of New York has better pizza, you’re the reason bad things happen to good people.
24. Play dominoes outside
Park chess is for nerds and bad movies that want to show how intellectual "urban" people can be, which is offensive and insulting and stupid. Plus, slamming domino pieces against a rickety card table is way more satisfying than smugly whispering "check".
25. Have a good train story
Whether it’s a homeless man... um... loving himself, an "it’s show time!" kid kicking someone in the face, or falling asleep and waking up in Far Rockaway and being totally weirded out because, holy crap, there’s like this funny little beach town in New York City -- you gotta have at least one good MTA tale to share with friends. Because, really, that’s what the city is all about: telling your pals about that time someone really got to know his right hand on the R train.
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Jesse was born in Beth Israel hospital sometime in the 1980s and continues to live here now. You can angrily disagree with him via Twitter.