Youuuuu’re not a New Yorker.
I’ve been a New York inhabitant for approximately 8 months spread out over the course of a little over two years. Throughout my time here I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many people, and pretty much all of them say the same thing- “You’re not from this city”
followed by the question
“Where are you from?”
I’m shocked how frequently (and correctly) this assumption is made, and I was delighted this month when a bartender said, out of my group of friends, he thought I was the only one who miiiiiight be from NYC.
What gives me away?
My Michigan accent that has ceased to leave me, even after 11 years spent in Ohio?
My look of confusion when I exit the subway and have to reorient myself?
My midwestern looks/fashion?
My smile that’s difficult to wipe off my face as I listen to “Mystery Show” podcasts on my morning commute?
When I ask the individual how they can tell, I’m always told a variation of the same line “I’m too friendly, polite, nice…”
I find New Yorkers to be VERY kind, helpful, and sincere themselves! But, I think there is a straightforwardness about New Yorkers that can be mistaken for rudeness. I personally have yet to meet a rude New Yorker. Disgruntled, exhausted, hurried? SURE. But I don’t see signs of weary individual as rude. We all have rough days—am I right? Especially when the trains aren’t running properly. I appreciate being thought of as kind, and I don’t find condescending when someone says I’m nice. But, I look forward to staying in this beautiful Big Apple, and gaining some good ole New York Gumption. After all- it is in my blood.
My Dad’s mom, Agnes Genevieve Maloney was born in Brooklyn in 1923. A true New Yorker, my Nana left the city and moved to Ohio, when she married my Papa after WWII. Their courtship was one almost based completely on letters sent back and forth while he was fighting overseas. I can only imagine my city-savvy Nana’s horror when she moved to the picturesque but TINY Somerset, Ohio. She was a tough cookie with an amazing New York accent, and a distinct love of shoes.
Nana didn’t mess around, she raised three successful sons, and always spoke her mind. I would like to be strong and sassy like her.
My mom is also a New Yorker.
(Here she is with my Dad and oldest sister, Katie. The this trio lived in New Jersey in the 80’s, when my Dad worked for the Associated Press in Manhattan. They were soon joined by brother, Ted, and the whole gang moved to Michigan, where Mary and I would come along some years later. )
My mom is an an upstate New Yorker. Born in Pennsylvania, raised in Syracuse, she is not a city girl but BOY is she adaptable, hard working, and the kindest soul you’ll ever meet.
So. I will continue to be delighted on the rare occasion that people think I might be from this incredible city I so dearly love. I will take the compliment when people say I’m too nice to be from here. And perhaps I shall grow to have more New Yorker traits that I admire: Straightforwardness, decisiveness, honesty, bravery. I’d love to be sassier like my Nana. And I will always strive to be as kind as my mama.