Lessons from a transplanted Wisconsin girl

· Jul 5, 2001 Tweet

“What do you guys do in Wisconsin, eat cheese all the time or what?” I have recently noticed a not-so-witty reply of this sort is usually a main part of the introductory conversation I have with most people here in New York.
No. I do not eat cheese for entertainment, nor have I ever worn a fake brick of cheese on my head! It is just too hard for New Yorkers to imagine life outside the big city. After spending a summer in Manhattan last year, and working to make it through the summer this year, I have started to learn just what it takes to be a real New Yorker. Do I have what it takes to switch from being a “Sconi” to being a New Yorker? Do I even want to be a New Yorker? Who knows. But what I do know are a couple key things to keep in mind about New York when and if you ever come across the decision I am currently facing of whether or not to leave the comforts of the good ol’ Midwest.

Here are a few of the things I have learned so far about living in New York.

– New Yorkers appear bored and pissed off 95 percent of the day.

– New Yorkers can spot a tourist from a mile away, and vow never to be mistaken for one.

-Most locals have never been to the Statue of Liberty or Empire State Building observation decks.

-New Yorkers find Time Square is only good for a decent Broadway show.

-Locals can find a 20 dollar ticket to most Broadway shows.

-A good day in the city means finding a seat on the train during morning rush hour.

-True New Yorkers realize finding a fake handbag is a true skill, and know how to perfectly mix the right amount of fake with the right amount of authentic to be taken seriously.

-Locals are oblivious to rats scurrying across the sidewalk in the middle of the day.

-Real New Yorkers know when and where they must hold their purse or wallet a tad bit tighter.

-You must appreciate the coffee salesman who says “you are sweet enough” each morning after you order a large coffee with just cream and no sugar.

-It is important to know how lucky you are to be in the big city with a random roommate who is nice enough to switch shoes with you on your way home from Central Park, because you forgot your over priced flip flops gave you blisters.

-Real New Yorkers call the subway “the train,” and Manhattan “the city.”

-You will automatically look like a tourist if you mispronounce Houston Street or wear anything that resembles a fanny pack.

-After buying a couple $5 beers in the Village, the Thursday night $2.50 rail mixers at Monday’s seem to good to be true.

-Know you will visit very few cities with such a diverse population.

-You are one step closer to becoming a real New Yorker if you can judge what end of the subway to get on so you don’t have to walk more than a couple steps to reach the stairs when exiting.

-Anyone who has ever lived in New York knows the “so-called” apartment and lifestyle of the new cast of Real World is anything but living the “real” world in New York.

-You will never be bored in New York.

So there you have it. A quick preview of what a Midwestern girl has learned so far living on her own in New York. I cannot say I miss seeing cheeseheads being sold left and right and blaze orange jackets being worn like they were some sort of fashion staple. But, I can say hearing someone pronounce water correctly, instead of “wuddah,” really brings a smile to my face.


This article was published Jul 5, 2001 at 10:15 pm and last updated Jul 5, 2001 at 10:15 pm


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