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22 ways to spot a Californian in NYC

22 ways to spot a Californian in NYC

New York City is full of transplants who hail from all parts of the country and the world. It's easy to spot the noobs, but even once they learn the lingo, there are a few kinds of non-natives that are easily recognized no matter how long they've been living in the city. Midwesterners, for example, are far too friendly and have abiding love of gifting baked goods. And Californians, of course, have a unique set of complaints and dietary requirements that set them apart (I know from experience). Wondering how to recognize one? Here are the tell-tale signs.


1. They try to order a Double-Double Animal Style at Shake Shack.

2. Even if they’ve lived here for years, they still don't have the basic winter wear needed. So for four months they look like badly dressed mummies in their puffy coats and mismatched scarves.

3. They complain loudly and frequently about how they can’t find a good taco or burrito anywhere on the East Coast.

4. They hate humidity and are constantly reminding you that they are ill prepared to deal with this level of sweat.

5. They only bring a towel and a cooler of booze to the beach—what’s with all the umbrellas and tents, people?

6. They're the ones asking to add avocado to everything they order (or just eating it plain with a spoon).

7. They didn't know what Dunkin' Donuts was when they first got here.

8. Their summer wardrobe is infinitely better than their winter one.

9. They either marvel at the wintry beauty every time it snows, or sit and pout for six months when it gets cold.

10. They always ask to add sprouts to their sandwiches in the hopes that somewhere this may be a real option.

11. They carry around an eco-friendly water bottle, always have reusable shopping bags and complain often how behind the curve NYC is with recycling and composting.

12. They use the words “chill” and “vibe” in full seriousness.

13. They know where to find a green juice or smoothie at all times.

14. They don’t surf at Rockaway because what is even the point?

15. They have a surprising collection of outdoorsy clothing (zip-off camping pants, biking shorts, hiking boots...)  

16. They never think to bring an umbrella unless it’s already raining outside. (What is this fast-changing weather?)

17. They’re completely unwilling to give up their CA driver’s license for a variety of reasons: it gives them cultural cache, they look tan in the photo, they need a symbol of their Californian identity, etc.

18. They think Chacos, Tevas, Keens and Birkenstocks are totally acceptable, normal forms of everyday footwear (or at least the NorCal-ers do). 

19. They’re still registered to vote in California because they want to have a say in some crazy democratic phenomenon called propositions.

20. They’re hoarding water in jugs in their apartment to bring back for their family and friends (JK, but it’s not the worst idea).

21. Even if they’ve lived here for many years, they talk about how they’ll definitely move “home” eventually.

22. There is a good chance they have weed.

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Jim Z
Jim Z

Great list...I'm 5 months into my Manhattan experience and let me give you one more that must be on your list...

We are constantly and desperately searching for that one bar that can make a great Cadillac Margarita.


George W
George W

1 way to spot a New Yorker, their the sad miserable fucks looking for ways to feel better about themselves.


@George W and they know the difference between "their" and "they're"

George W
George W

Thanks for proving my point, I'm sure being a human spell check helps you to feel better about you sad life.


Actually, it's not spelling it's grammar. 

k b
k b

this is thing as Californians, we are proud of where we come from so we aren't going to give up that identity, unlike you Time Out people who come from flyover country or someplace in the 'burbs and easily identify with the first cool place you go to.