At what point to do you start calling yourself a New Yorker?

At what point do you start calling yourself a New Yorker? What event triggers in your mind that you are now “from New York,” an active citizen of this city? In no certain order here are some of those things that I’ve gathered up when I asked people this question. I am not a New Yorker yet, but know what it means to be one.

I will add to this list as I think of things. Leave a note below in the comments if you have something to add.

Getting Around

All distances are defined in blocks and avenues. You know that it takes approximately 20 minutes to walk 20 blocks uptown or downtown.

You’ve taken a “cash only” taxi ride.

You know that when a subway pulls up and the car in front of you is empty, it means the heat’s on in the summer or someone’s puked on the floor.

You’ve won at Subwaydle.

You know where you need to get on a train so, when you arrive at your destination, you’re right at the exit you need.

No one calls it Avenue of the Americas – it’s Sixth. Never North or South, just Uptown and Downtown. Oh, and if you pronounce “Houston” like the Texas city, you’re a dead giveaway for an out-of-towner.

You secretly dread the sudden appearance of Showtime on your subway ride.

You grumble at slow-walking tourists on the sidewalk and avoid Times Square at all costs.

The Don’t Walk light is strictly optional.

. . . but be sure to look both ways before crossing the street, especially on a one-way, gotta watch out for those bikes. (@albertcox – world traveler)

Things to Do

You feel totally fine spending a weekend at home being cozy because, yes, NYC has tons of things to do, but it’s also home and you don’t need to DO all the things to know that you could if you wanted to. (thanks Clarice Meadows!)

You’ve never been to the Statue of Liberty. You know it’s there, it’ll always be there.

On a hot summer day, the local neighborhood hydrant cool down is only a phone call away. (thx Oliver Blank!)


You’ve been to Katz’s but know a better place to get a pastrami sandwich.

You not only have your local go-to pizza joint, you know a decent place within 20 blocks of any place you may be in your borough.

You have a local fruit stand guy/bodega/barista/bartender that knows you by name and asks where you’ve been if you go away for a few weeks.

You know the real Chinatown is in Queens.

You have a favorite dinner or drinks spot that closed and, forever after, you mentally pour one out when you pass by the new place that’s taken over. (thanks Clarice Meadows!)

Living Quarters

You’ve complained to, and reached a compromise with, your neighbor.

Your ears perk up whenever you overhear of a place with in-apartment washer & dryer.

You realize that the cluster of blocks where you live is your small village linked together to other small villages in this city of millions.


You’ve had a public argument with someone on the street.

To be a NYer is to be yourself, and so to feel ownership everywhere. True New Yorkers don’t wait on line for anything. Especially brunch. (@moorehn)

While out walking on errands, you run into at least two people you know.

You know at least fifteen yiddish slang words.

You understand, on a deeper level, the inside jokes in the New Yorker.

You’ve cried on the subway.

You stop saying, “I’m from the Bay Area” or “I’m half-Japanese.” You just say, “I’m a New Yorker.”