1. You take your sweet time.
While working professionals try to get through in the classic New York huff, you’re walking through Times Square like you’re lingering down the beaches of Aruba. Every other pedestrian is zigzagging in and out of crowds, rushing as though they are practicing for the New York marathon while you’re enjoying the way the morning light descends down the sides of glass skyscrapers. Even on a Monday morning, when it seems the other commuters are racing to get to their respective cubicles, you’re taking you time and having a moment to embrace the city in all its glory.
2. You’re still learning the ins and outs of the NYC subway.
The incoming train is packed with travellers, so you decide to go for the one empty train car, thinking to yourself you’re hit the subway jackpot. As you’re sitting down alone in the deserted train car, you are wondering if the empty sea was worth the lack of AC or the horrid stench you are now enduring. This is when you realize that you may not know all the ins and outs of the New York City subway system after all.
You are still learning you lessons the hard way if you have made eye contact with subway dweller of questionable sanity or missed a train by swiping your metro card several times at the turnstile. You though the New York subway would be similar to that of any other major city, but the more you ride it, the more you realize that it is totally different than any other city.
3. You haven’t discovered the New York food scene yet.
Your friends are sharing photos of fancy restaurant dished on their Facebook, Instagram, and other dedicated food blogs, while you are ordering takeout from the corner Chinese restaurant trying to decide on what’s convenient and affordable. Anytime the topic of food comes up, your friends come armed with several recommendations of in-the-know locals, gushing over an Ethiopian or Peruvian meal they had the night before.
New Yorkers love food and pride themselves on knowing off-the-beaten-path haunts that serve “the best tapas in the world” or “died-and-gone-to-heaven chicken tikka masala.”
4. You haven’t picked sides against New Jersey.
Last time you were in New Jersey, you made a mistake of saying that you actually enjoyed the quiet neighbourhoods, cheaper prices, and open-air beer gardens. As you let slip your love for our Garden State neighbour, your friends are now teasing you with Jersey Shore comments and New Jersey accents. While NYC locals will pledge allegiance to the Empire State, the secret truth is that we like our neighbours, we just don’t admit is out loud.
5. You still lose your cool when you spot a celebrity.
“Was the Emma Stone?” you are puzzled, but as you look around at the locals brushing past, you realize no one has actually given a second glance to a celebrity who has walked past them. New York City is home to many famous people, but after some time, our lives become so saturated with movie sets and celebrity sightings that our reactions become airy. While you’re taking deep breaths and trying to calm yourself from having brushed elbows with Spiderman’s girlfriend, everyone else is shuffling to their next appointment.
6. You neglect the other boroughs.
Brooklyn? Queens? The idea of adventuring off the island of Manhattan New York to another borough sounds as convenient as catching a flight to Australia. While your friends are fuming about the Brooklyn Flea Market, the bar scene in Williamsburg, and interesting food in Queens, you still haven’t make the trip to the Upper West Side.
7. You bring pepper spray to Harlem.
When your friends say they want to have dinner in Harlem, your jaw practically hits the floor. Images of darkened corners, sidelong glances, and deserted train stations have you running for your pepper spray rather than to Open Table to make a reservation way uptown. It is true that Harlem was once a neighbourhood that struck fear in the hearts of New Yorkers, but things have surely changed.
8. You go out dancing in the Meatpacking District.
You spent your high school days watching TV shows and movies that showed glamourous friends all drinking fancy cocktails at rooftop bars along the cobblestone streets of Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. The first thing you did when you arrived in New York was put on a killer outfit and make your way over to the epicentre of style, only to discover that everyone there is a tourist.
New Yorkers know that the Meatpacking District is home to overpriced drinks, unreasonable cover charges, and European tourists all searching to have that classic New York night-time experience.
9. You think you can find the holy grail of New York City apartments.
You go searching for apartments with diligence, determined to find a home that is reasonably priced and spacious, but located in one of the cooler neighbourhoods in the city…keep dreaming! New Yorkers know that unless your bank account resembles that of Donald Trump’s, the New York City apartment search always comes down to choosing between comfort and location.
Brokers may claim that they will lead you to the holy grail, but likely you will wind up with an out-of-budget hole-in-the-wall and a thousand dollar broker fee. Whether you are opting for the comfortable apartment and riding the subway to cooler neighbourhoods or having a small apartment which is positioned above a trendy dive bar, it is always one of the other.
10. You’re still in love with New York City.
You listen affectionately as friend moan about their lives in New York, blaming their problems on subway commutes, sky-high rents, and crowds of people. They seem to be in love with NYC one day and the next day, they shake their fist at it. While most locals have a love-hate relationship with the city, you are still head-over-heels in love. Is it raining? You simply love the way the rain catches the light off the buildings! Crowded subways? You love the funny crowds of people huddled together in the train cars! You still see New York in shades of pink, letting the glitter of the city settle magically over your eyes.