1. You’re from New York? Say caw-fee.
I’ve gotten this one a lot. In fact, one of my closest friends from abroad used to tell people, “I have this friend named Alex from New York, and she says “caw-fee.” Many people love to hear a New York accent, and just as many love to try and mimic it (mostly with little success).
2. Is it really like it is on Sex and the City?
I find that the glamor of the New York lifestyle is often associated with two shows: Sex and the City, and in the past (when it was popular), Gossip Girl. It’s quite a difficult one to answer because there are some people and some high schoolers who live life the way you see on the shows, but is it a representative of the whole? No.
3. Have you ever met anyone famous?
I once read something that said celebrities to New Yorkers are like crosswalk signs — we just ignore them and keep going. And it’s true. They do their thing the same way we do our thing. It’s possible to see a celebrity any day of the week, and though it may be exciting when you make your first few sightings, it eventually becomes a normal part of life.
4. The city or the state?
This is one question I actually welcome with open arms. New York is a very big state, but the term New Yorker doesn’t apply to the entire state. I am a born and bred New Yorker, and I am proud of it.
5. Have you ever seen anyone get shot?
The most common question American travelers get abroad — no matter where in the States they’re from — is, “Do you own a gun?” But I find that when I tell people — whether they’re from abroad or from the States — that I’m from Brooklyn (not just New York City), they ask whether I’ve ever seen anyone get shot. Fortunately, no. I’ve never seen someone get shot.
6. Do you ever drive?
Though I can walk around easily or take public transport most places I want to go, I do drive. I think of the five boroughs, the City, as the place where most people don’t drive or don’t have a car. Outside of that, I think it’s common for people living in Brooklyn or Queens to have their license and a car.
7. Do you know [enter some obscure street here]?
A lot of people have traveled to New York or know someone currently living in New York, and they often try to ask me whether I am familiar with a particular place. I haven’t lived in New York since I was 18; I went away to university and then lived overseas, so sometimes I am unfamiliar with a place simply because I haven’t been around for so long. Often, though, it’s because people don’t realize how big New York really is. It’s hard to know every inch and corner of this city no matter how long you’ve lived here, especially when it’s constantly evolving.
8. Do trees really grow in Brooklyn?
For everyone who has ever wondered whether a tree really grows in Brooklyn, the answer is yes. There are many trees in Brooklyn.
9. You’re from New York? I would die to live in New York! What are you doing here?
When I lived in Sydney, people said this to me all the time. They were shocked I would trade New York for somewhere else, because people think New York and they think big dreams. It made me start appreciating where I was from, and where I called home. Though the transition of coming home from the incredible adventures I’ve had around the globe was hard, I am lucky to come home to a city as vibrant, as inspiring, and as creative as New York.