Now that I’m going into my fifth year in New York City, it’s safe to say that I’ve carved out my own little lifestyle as a local. As one would expect, I’ve grown accustomed to certain habits over the years, such as avoiding eye contact with strangers and making sure never to stop while walking in the middle of the sidewalk. Like so many other females in the city, I also wear a lot of black and carry around a Longchamp tote (I don’t care that everyone has them – it’s the most sturdy and useful accessory in the world). Still, there are five quintessentially New Yorker cliches that I don’t fit, and, to be honest, probably never will.
I avoid the Sunday brunch scene.
NYC is the country’s brunch capital, boasting all-day menus on Sundays with bottomless Mimosa and Bloody Mary specials. It’s a great way for foodies to enjoy themselves, even if they’re on a tight budget. Since I moved here, however, I think I’ve done the brunch thing about four times in total. Maybe my inner college party girl hasn’t yet retired, but I’d much rather stay out insanely late on a Saturday night than have to wake up at a certain time on a Sunday and trek out to a restaurant. Also, I’ve never understood the whole brunch culture obsession. I just can’t get that excited about eggs.
I refuse to cram into the subway.
I realize I sound crazy for this one, but I refuse to shove my ass into a crowded subway car during rush hour. If I see people smashed up against the windows and nobody gets off at my stop, I simply wait until the next train arrives. For whatever reason, the next one is always less packed. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve done it before and had more than enough instances when a random businessman pressed up against me for so long that it felt like a breakup once I got off the train. But now, I just leave home 15 minutes earlier if I’m traveling during peak times in case I have to let an overloaded subway or two go by.
I don’t snatch selfies with celebrities.
I’ve never been a celebrity stalker, so I think snapping selfies is kind of lame. For tourists, I completely understand if they’re in awe when encountering a well-known individual. But as a local, I would think other locals should be used to living among the rich and famous by now. I constantly see fans stopping celebrities around town, or even interrupting their dinner in order to take a photo. I’m not against taking a picture with celebrities, of course, but it’s not my personal style to ask for photographic evidence whenever I have a run-in with one.
I prefer to hang close to home.
It’s safe to say that many New Yorkers frequently travel around the city and its surrounding boroughs, and become pretty familiar with the “it” places, particularly in Brooklyn. But as Samantha Jones said in Sex and the City, “I don’t do borough.”
It’s not that I dislike everything outside Manhattan; it’s just that I can’t always be bothered with the commute. Plus, I’ve found my own niche as an Upper East Side girl, (I don’t care what anyone says – I love the area and vibe). So even when I have to venture over to the West Side, my first thought is “Ugh…” Once in a while, I’ll find myself in Brooklyn or Queens for an event, but, for the most part, I’m totally content with staying on the East Side of the island.
I won’t play the numbers game.
It’s hard not to equate NYC with money. Penthouses here sell for $100 million, rent prices are extortionate, and New Yorkers regularly discuss who is making how much per year. While I’m relatively “in the know” about record-breaking real estate sales here and there, I don’t preoccupy myself with how much money other people have.
In this city, it’s not uncommon for people to bluntly ask “How much do you make?” But where I come from, it’s considered rude to ask such a question or discuss one’s finances with casual acquaintances. No matter how normal the topic of money is in the average New Yorker’s dialogue, I can’t bring myself to make it part of mine. I’m just not the type to ponder over what someone else has – I’d rather put that time and energy towards improving my own life and career.