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How to be a New Yorker 

 

I moved to this grand old city at the tender age of 19, and it was at my first job here that I was instructed by a dear colleague on the fine art of how to be a New Yorker (not exactly sure what gave away my status as an out-of-towner. Perhaps it was my use of the term “gym shoes” for sneakers?). Anyhoo, after living here for more than two decades, and in the spirit of Purim, the time has come for me to transmit some of the wisdom I’ve amassed. If you were born here, you can just skip to the back cover and admire the library ad. But if you’re wondering how to acquire the finesse of a true-blue New Yawker, this page is for you. 

Honk before the light turns green. Just in case the person in front of you is snoozing, I presume. I wouldn’t know because I can barely reach the horn. But I have come a long way since the time a truck driver leaned out of his window to yell, “Go back to Maryland!” (I still had my Maryland plates back then.) 

Double-park even though there is an open spot down the block. Because why walk? Also, you might get blocked in by the next double-parker if you’re in a proper spot. And just ignore the hapless out-of-towner who’s fighting back tears as she tries to pass without scratching her mirror. 

Start shopping for summer before the snow melts. Global warming! Just kidding. You have to be on top of your game or everything will be sold out and your kids will be stuck in J Crew next season. You snooze, you lose.

Love the country. No, not this country. The country! You know, the place where you catch a glimpse of those tall brown and green things with branches. Even though it’s only two months a year, it’ll dominate your life. Unless you own in the country, and then things will be really exciting! You’ll be able to go for every Yom Tov! 

Listen to how amazing it is out of town. I know I’ve been living here for a long time, because I’m actually starting to get insulted. What is it about visitors that makes them feel as though they can insult this city? If one more person asks me, “How can you live here?” I’ll block them in with my car. On second thought, I’m not sure why I care. They do say that Brooklyn is the new out of town. 

There’s plenty to add to this list (midwinter in Miami, anyone?) but I’ll stop here. I can also write another article on how warm and welcoming I’ve found the folks here, how much chessed they do, and how much I appreciate the local schools. But it is before Purim, and I don’t want to get too serious – or insult anyone.  Besides, I’m one of you now. Aren’t I? 

 

Thank you to Rifky P. for inspiring this piece. 

 

 

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