If you’re a New York City local but you weren’t born here, you’ve probably heard it at some point – “you’re a transplant,” or “you’re not a real New Yorker.” Yes, a significant chunk of people living in New York didn’t actually grow up in this city. So, what’s so bad about that? Some of NYC’s most successful and well-known residents hail from around the world, and it’s this collection of New York City transplants that makes Gotham unique.
Back in the day, immigrants sailed in from places like Ireland, Italy, Germany, and Puerto Rico. Is the concept of today’s New York all that different? People come here to find everything from a dream job to adventure to love – and there are several reasons why it’s not so bad to be labeled as a transplant.
Transplants have a different set of experiences.
Whether you grew up in the Midwest, on the East Coast, or somewhere on the other side of the globe, being a transplant means that living in NYC is an experience you can add to your “completed” list. Living in different parts of the world gives you much more perspective than staying put in one place your entire life.
It shows you can take risks.
Taking risks doesn’t necessarily apply to someone who moved to Manhattan to live with their wealthy aunt in a Fifth Avenue penthouse rent-free. But for most transplants, moving to NYC takes a certain degree of courage and the willingness to risk comfort and financial stability in hopes of a worthwhile award. It’s a pretty admirable character trait to have.
Non-natives aren’t as jaded.
For born-and-bred New Yorkers, epic views of the NYC skyline, limitless things to do, and grandeur of the city isn’t exactly something new. For many transplants, however, the sights and sounds of the bustling streets never get old. It’s also much easier to appreciate what NYC has to offer when you know what it’s like to live somewhere without as much culture and excitement.
It’s a good conversation starter.
What would people have to talk about if everyone was a “real” New Yorker and grew up around each other? It would be the equivalent of staying in high school your entire life without going to college and meeting anyone new. A transplant is like the new kid at school, and each newcomer has different stories to contribute to the conversation. Being a newbie especially comes in handy if you find yourself in social settings and you’re not sure what to talk about.
Transplants add to the diversity of the city.
Let’s be real – transplants are what made New York City what it is today. The reason so many people flock to this part of the world is because NYC offers a level of diversity that you can’t find anywhere else in the country. If you’re not a New York native, you’re simply fortifying the city’s longtime reputation as a place in which people from different countries, cultures, and ethnic backgrounds can come together and coexist. And that’s something to be proud of.
Many thanks to Eric Barao for the images in this post. You can see more of his work on Flickr.