What It Means To Be A New Yorker

We’ve all heard one, if not a dozen stereotypes about New York City: the people are rude, impatient, loud, and you’re a nobody when you live in a city that’s always moving at the speed of light. 

When you hear of New York, you think of the flashy, blinding billboards of Times Square at midnight, the deafening sounds of traffic as taxis swerve around cyclists and pedestrians; you think of the packed sidewalks where bumping into people is unavoidable, and where bodegas and street vendors are selling pretzels and magazines; you think of the subway - all of the busy people who don’t bat an eyelash when a mariachi band starts to perform on the F train headed Uptown. That’s what you hear, but it’s not the whole truth.

You can find as many rude people in New York as you can anywhere else- we’re not all bad. I’ve heard that New Yorkers are impatient, but I think the truth is that we’ve grown accustomed to a fast-paced lifestyle. We run on tight schedules, we pack in the work hours. We’re always moving.

Canal Street Station SignageBeing a New Yorker requires some grit. When you grow up in the city that never sleeps, the city of dreams, you feel the need to do something bigger with your life. In a city where the buildings are constantly reaching up, and up, and up, you have no choice but to want to follow suit. There’s a driving force whispering in your ear the moment you’re old enough to recognize your New York pride. 

Most of New York will not know your name, but that doesn’t mean you don’t matter. The guys playing shirts versus skins basketball in the Bronx are New York. The artists painting murals on the sides of buildings in Brooklyn are New York. The minimum wage workers in Staten Island are New York. The cab driver maneuvering you through rush hour traffic in Manhattan is New York. The LIRR conductor riding back and forth in Queens is New York.

brooklyn bridge new york city

Born and raised or new to the concrete jungle, being a New Yorker means rolling with the punches: they don’t call it “New York tough” for nothing. We’re a tight-knit community of 8.3 million people, and while most of us are strangers, there is an unspoken solidarity among us. Every obstacle, every crisis, every act of terror brings us together. We mourn our losses and celebrate our victories.

New York City is not for everyone, but all are welcome, nonetheless. You will find every type of person here because everyone wants something from New York. Whether you’re a dreamer who wants to make something of yourself, or a worker who just wants to pay the month’s rent, the common thread that ties us all together is that we don’t stop trying. 

When the odds are against us, we persevere; being a New Yorker means to be resilient. New York City has been battered and bruised by life’s circumstances, but every time we fall, we return stronger than we were before. 

Being a New Yorker means knowing that things will get better, even when that hope seems too far out of reach.

We will get there, eventually.

Things will get better.​ one world trade center building new york city