Are you relatively new to this fine metropolis? Don't be shy about it, everyone was new to New York at one time... except, of course, those battle-hardened residents who've lived here their whole lives and Know It All. One of these lifers works among us at Gothamist—publisher Jake Dobkin grew up in Park Slope and currently resides in Brooklyn Heights. He is now fielding questions—ask him anything by sending an email here, but be advised that Dobkin is "not sure you guys will be able to handle my realness." We can keep you anonymous if you prefer; just let us know what neighborhood you live in.
Our first probing question comes from Williamsburg:
Dear Native New Yorker,
I recently moved to Williamsburg and thought life was perfect until I was awoken last night by a GIANT COCKROACH CRAWLING THROUGH MY HAIR! Is this normal? What's the worst thing that's woken you up in the dead of night?" Signed, Look At This Fucking Roachster
A Native New Yorker replies:
You're looking at this the wrong way: that vermin is part of the original, authentic Brooklyn environment, and you are the intruder in its ecosystem. So rather than ask what the cockroach is doing crawling through your hair, you should put yourself in his eight little shoes and ask yourself what your hair is doing gentrifying his neighborhood.
I learned this empathetic approach to vermin from my father. When we first moved to Park Slope, in the mid-70s, and discovered that the house was largely controlled by a native gang of mice, he insisted that it would be wrong, politically, for us to have beds when they didn't. This led to a number of years of sleeping on futons. I recall many a night falling asleep to the peaceful pitter-patter of dozens of little feet running through the crawl spaces and once in awhile across my face.
Years later, I lived in Morningside, and there was this one block where a giant rock outcrop separated two buildings. Rats had colonized it, and occasionally, when you'd walk by, they'd jump right out on top of you. Some people say pigeons are flying rats, but I say you're not a real New Yorker until an actual rat has flown through the air and attacked you in the dead of night.
So pardon me if I find your little roach problem underwhelming. Maybe sleep with a hairnet or something?
Ask A Native New Yorker anything by emailing our Tips address here.