August 5, 2013

Top 15 Signs You’re a Real New Yorker Abroad.

It’s six in the evening and you just touched down in another country.

At first chance, you grab your roller suitcase, and push past the obnoxiously excited and chatty group of other tourists gathered near baggage claim, rolling your eyes at their ostensible ‘tourism-ness’: the sun visors, Canon Rebel T3/EOS 1100D cameras, air head pillow and fanny packs and sling bags.

As you walk away, you anxiously check your iPhone 5 hoping it has properly adopted the wireless signals in the foreign land. Of course, you curse the country as soon as you discover Facebook, Twitter or e-mail loads slower in the airport area than it does back home at JFK. A headache and panic set in as you realize you had your last caffeine fix at Terminal 4. This, my friends, is what it’s like to be a New Yorker… abroad.

Top 15 Signs You’re a Real New Yorker Abroad:

1) When you see people in other countries wearing ”LOVE NYC” T-shirts, sweatshirts or hats, you roll your eyes and cringe in disapproval.

2) When people ask you what it’s like being from New York, you have about five answers prepared, and not one of them starts with ”OMG, New York is the best; you should totally come visit or move here!” Most of your answers include the words: big, fast track, fast-talking, stressful, over-caffeinated, Adderall-driven, Red Bull-dependent and over-rated.

3) If foreigners brag about New York being the best city in the world, your general retort is: ”Well, that’s probably because you don’t live or work there.”

4) No matter how good the bakeries are and no matter how much people rave about it, you snobbishly proclaim that they do not compare to New York-style delis with their deep-dish pizzas and calzones, double-stuffed sandwiches, and tuna white fish, lox or cream cheese-filled sesame, poppy or onion-flavored bagels.

5) You get impatient when people stop in front of you to look at, or take a photo of something, or talk to someone in the middle of the street, to which you exclaim: ”Hey, I’m walkin’ hea!!!”

6) If the city does not have a subway or a 24/7 drug store like Duane Reade, Walgreens or CVS, you freak out, thinking you might be in a 4th world country, where people turn into zombies or pilgrims after hours.

7) When people comment on your accent, you get all excited, assuming that the people think you’re from France or Rome; until you realize, they’re talking about your thick New York accent which they compare to Fran Drescher or Robert DeNiro.

8) If there isn’t a Starbucks in the country you’re visiting, you actually jump up and down for joy; the absence of the green and white universal sign that delivers over-priced and over-rated lattes and cappuccinos, is actually quite relieving.

9) You compare the distances between European cities with the distances between US states (i.e. Belgrade to Budapest is like New York to Massachusetts.)

10) You picture backhanding anyone who asks if your life is just like that of: Carrie Bradshaw, Tony Soprano, or any of the Gossip Girls or F*R*I*E*N*D*S stars.

11) You condescend to assure people that paying $0.75 or €0.56 for public transportation is a godsend compared to the $18 one-way LIRR (Long Island Rail Road) ticket price, $2.50 one-way MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority) subway fare, or $13.75 one-way ticket on Metro North

12) You feel like a lottery winner when you discover a one-bedroom apartment with a dining area, kitchen space, living room and bathroom available in a foreign country for less than $650/month; a one-bedroom for €250 doesn’t even pay for a studio walk-up in the South Bronx.

13) When you ask foreigners where they’ve been in New York and they proudly tell you that they’ve seen Times Square, Madison Square Garden, Broadway, the Empire State Building, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, you generally have to explain to them that you, like most other New Yorkers have a) actually never been to these places and/or b) avoided spending more time than necessary in any of these places.

14) When you tell people you’re from New York and they automatically assume you are from Manhattan, you roll your eyes and dread explaining to them that there are other areas  besides the Big Apple that constitute New York: i.e. Upstate (i.e. Buffalo, Albany, Syracuse or New Paltz), the ‘Islands’ (i.e. Long Island, Roosevelt Island and Governor’s Island), and even the other Boroughs (i,e. Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, and Staten Island).

15) You curse the time differences and zones, finding it impossible to differentiate between, and keep track of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) and UTC (Coordinated Universal Time); why doesn’t anyone understand Eastern Standard Time (EST)?!?

Back at the departure area, you check in your bag, take a seat at the gate away from everyone else, plug in those headphones and zone out to Springsteen’s ”Streets of Philadelphia,”only to be interrupted (of course) by another passenger inquiring about the take-off time. Inevitably, he or she comments on your accent and you find yourself explaining your origin, your line of work and your reasons for not idolizing New York the way tourists generally do.

But at the end of the day, after all is said and done, you do find yourself craving Cafe Grumpy coffee and John’s pizza, missing the stimulating, yet sketchy and paranoid, people on the A, C and E trains, and the spectacular, unparalleled Manhattan Skyline.

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Ed: Sara Crolick

{photo: via Pinterest}

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