Are you relatively new to this fine metropolis? Hey, 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.
This week's question comes from an area man:
How long do you have to live in New York City for you to be considered "a New Yorker"? I usually joke that everyone's answer to this is "one day less than however long the person answering it has lived here," but I am always curious where people decide to draw the line. Some people have really convoluted equations: "take your age, divide it by the number of places you've lived, multiply that by how long you've lived in NYC, square it, and turn thrice widdershins and spit over your shoulder." Any rule of thumb you prefer?
Ten Year Transplant.
A Native New Yorker replies:
The first rule of Being a New Yorker Club is you don't ask other people how long you have to be here to be a New Yorker, you dig? It's not like a heart attack, where one day you're just walking along Broadway and BLAM, it hits you. It's more like hepatitis, where you've been feeling like shit for so long you don't really remember feeling well, and one day you go to the doctor, and he's like, wow, I hope you have good insurance because I've never seen a case this bad.
It was John Updike who said that "the true New Yorker secretly believes that people living anywhere else have to be, in some sense, kidding", but I think he lived in Westchester or something, so just based on that he was wrong. The true New Yorker is not someone who secretly believes anything—he's someone who has to share his beliefs with everyone else, particularly people from other cities, to make them feel bad about themselves.
Like I'll be in San Francisco and some friend who smells like patchouli is taking me for a burrito, and he's all "isn't this the best burrito you've ever tasted?" and I wait a second, so I can really savor his heartbreak, and then I say "well, it's pretty good, but there's this place in Bushwick that makes this taste like a pile of dogshit wrapped in newspaper."
So in conclusion, real New Yorkers don't have a lot of friends, and just seeing that you signed off with "sincerely" I can tell you'll never fit in here. Call your mom in Philly and tell her you're coming home.
Ask A Native New Yorker anything by emailing our Tips address here.