Photo: Alberto Reyes
What pisses off a New Yorker? One word: Everything.
We’re a surly breed struggling to live in the greatest city in the world. And don’t even try to tell me it’s not — EVERYONE wants to live here. Even if you love the place you are now, at some point in your life, Gossip Girl, or Barney Stinson, or some other cliche film/television show put a kernel of inspiration into your brain that made you think Frank Sinatra’s lyrics could come true (“If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere…”).
So you packed up your bags and found a shitty apartment somewhere in Williamsburg, where you pay about $1,700 a month to live in a hipster’s windowless bedroom closet. That’s cool. Welcome to my ‘hood. I was born and raised in this city, and I can tell you exactly the sorts of things that piss us off.
New Yorkers are perpetually in a rush. We were supposed to be somewhere 10 minutes ago, so when you decide to take your sweet time strolling along the five-foot-wide sidewalk, it really pisses us off. I know, it’s amazing to gaze up at those really tall skyscrapers, but after five minutes, they all look the same. If you’re lost, or feel like shuffling your feet, pull over to the side of a building and let us rush past you like we want.
Get mad at us for not “being polite.”
We might knock into you on the street without an apology, or we might not hold the door for you. But it’s not because we hate you, or want you to be in pain — this perceived rudeness in NYC is just understood by the locals. We might say “Sorry!” in our brains, but our rushed lifestyles prevent the words from coming out of our mouths.
Time is precious in New York, and every minute counts, including taking two seconds to ensure all is well. You call it common courtesy, but really, we just don’t care enough to be that verbal.
Disregard our public transportation rules.
Don’t swipe a cab from someone who’s been standing in the rain trying to hail one for 10 minutes. Don’t bombard exiting passengers from a subway car so you can grab the last seat on the train. Make sure your Metrocard has enough funds and doesn’t cause a disruption for other passengers trying to get on the bus. And don’t get on a Citibike unless you ACTUALLY know how to ride a bike.
Second to this is not keeping to the right on an escalator, especially during rush hour. I get it if you want to stand, but don’t be that asshole who stands on the left side.
Claim your bagels and pizza are better than ours.
This is sacrilege beyond belief. No one, and I repeat, no one can lay claim to perfecting these food staples better than we can. Even if your so-called “magic bread products” were better, I bet they aren’t as cheap as you can get them in New York, where a slice of pizza and a 16oz Coke can be had for $2.00.
Talk shit about our sports teams.
Okay yeah, the Giants and the Jets are terrible, the Mets are a joke, the Rangers are bullies, no one cares about the Knicks unless they’re actually going to a game, and the Yankees are pompously overpaid assholes, but that doesn’t give you the right to shit all over them while you’re here — especially since we’ve won a combined 5 Super Bowls, 4 Stanley Cups, 2 NBA Championships, and 29 World Series titles.
Whittle us down to a single ethnic group.
We have many Italians. We have many Jews. We have many Hispanics, and black people from all different countries, and I’m pretty sure we probably have some space aliens too. You can literally find any ethnic cuisine your heart desires in New York. We are not all in the mafia, not all Asian people live in Chinatown, and we don’t walk around the streets in crouched positions snapping our fingers to West Side Story‘s “Be Cool” (though it would be fun if we did).
Tell us your hopes and dreams and aspirations about living in New York City.
No one really cares that you came here to act, or sing, or start your own vegan macaroon shop, or exploit people on Wall Street. We all had our own exaggerated ideas of what it meant to live here, that were mercilessly crushed soon after arriving. It’s called the “cost of living,” and it will suck the life out of you. Your starry-eyed expression is just another jaded reminder that we were once dreamers too — except we know what it was once like to live without government-subsidized health insurance.
Make fun of our “New Yawka” accent.
While I’ve never heard anyone actually say, “Fuggedaboutit!” New Yorkers are totally proud of their insane accents (and our accompanying grand, sweeping hand gestures). Ahright yous guys, let’s get outa hea’. Wanna get cawfee on Lawn Guyland? **points and rotates wrists repeatedly** Hey — I’M TALKIN’ HEA’!
Annoying? It’s possible. But not any less than people from Boston, or Chicago, or Texas, or people who say “rough” instead of “roof.”
Talk about how dirty New York City is, and how much it smells like piss.
These are known facts, yet we all choose to still live here despite them. You’re not telling us anything we don’t already know, so save your breath and talk about something actually informative.
Deny us our bottomless, boozy brunches.
This bullshit came about recently, and let me tell you — we were SERIOUSLY pissed off about it. What do you mean, I could no longer spend three hours of my life guzzling down a magic fountain of sangria at Calle Ocho? What the hell am I supposed to drink with my overpriced Challah Bread Nutella French toast at Garage’s Jazz Brunch?
Thank god our boozy brunches are back to being legal, because New Yorkers were about to riot in the streets. That’s a hint, NYC Hospitality Alliance — don’t ever double-cross us again.
Say that your favorite place in the world is Times Square.
Actually this won’t really piss us off, it’ll just make us pity you. God forbid you step out of your comfort zone and travel uptown to Harlem. Yes, you are allowed to go there and enjoy it. No, you’re not allowed to say it’s your favorite place to be when you’re in New York.
Joke about 9/11.
I know it’s been a few years, and I know that people outside of New York are not as sensitive about this event, but within the city and outlying areas, it’s still very much a part of who we are as a culture. Everyone here is connected to that tragedy in some capacity, some more personally than others. The atmosphere in Manhattan on September 11th is pretty somber, despite the passing of time. It’s best to just not bring it up in a humorous capacity, sort of like how you’d never joke with a Holocaust survivor about taking a shower.
Complain about the homeless.
Even homeless people know that New York is the greatest city in the world to be homeless. We’ve got tons of shelters, community outreach programs, and stupid ass tourists willing to supply them with a steady income higher than what I made at my 9-5 desk job. You shouldn’t complain about these cultural icons, you should be asking them for tips on how to be as smart as they are in wrangling a living off of nothing. Or you should help those who are legitimately in dire need of attention, and make a difference in someone else’s life.
Get pissed off when we get pissed off at you.
Everything pisses off New Yorkers, so we’re allowed to be perpetually pissed off. The trees (or lack thereof) piss us off, bars without happy hour specials piss us off, and Mayor De Blasio pisses us off. The muggy summers, freezing winters, hot dog vendors, career dog walkers, garbage piles, people who accost us on the street asking if they can have “just a minute of your time,” hipster douchebags, socialite sluts, and more will piss us off. And if that offends you, get outta town because you’re going to piss us off even more.
But you know what? We live in New York, which is basically the capital of the world. People would maim themselves if it meant a chance to live in Manhattan. Be grateful you get the chance to walk the streets of this rigid grid. Your life is probably a lot better now than the middle-America farmstead you traveled from to be here.