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How to become a New Yorker in 16 steps

Written by
Tolly Wright

Whether you've just arrived or been hitting the pavement for years, becoming a certified New Yorker can seem daunting. Everyone knows it's not about your zip code or MetroCard—it's an attitude, philosophy and way of being that you have to master. Here's how to become one of us.  

1. Know thy grid
Street numbers get higher as you walk uptown, avenues get lower toward the East River, and everything goes to hell in Greenwich Village. When you tell us to meet you on the corner, you best specify whether you mean northwest or southeast if you want us to understand you.  

2. Have a bodega for every occasion
Learn which deli in your neighborhood sells the cheapest beer, stays open the latest and makes the best (and fastest) egg and cheese sandwich—you’ll need drunk food and hangover meals after all those late-night six packs.

3. Become an amateur Subway cartographer
The moment the conductor announces the train is being held at the station due to a sick passenger you need to be ready to sprint two blocks to another station, transfer at the right moment and still get to work (sort of) on time.

4. Avoid eye contact with the folks holding clipboards on street corners
Maybe you do want to support their cause, but not if they’re going to take up valuable sidewalk space with their stupid friendliness.

5. Identify landmarks correctly
If you incorrectly identify the Chrysler Building as the Empire State Building, you deserve our exasperated eye rolls.

6. Pick up the pace
You’re a celebrated speed walker, the sidewalks are your race course and those families of tourists are the only thing stopping you from taking home the gold. Now, go!

7. Hate Times Square
We secretly think all those lights are mesmerizing too, but that’s not enough to counterbalance the massive crowds, over priced chain stores or groping Elmos. Repeat after us: "Ugh, Times Square is the worst!"

8. Decide on a favorite bar, bagel shop and local sports team
And defend your choice with your life. We’re opinionated people, and we respect your conviction even though we vehemently disagree with you on one or all of these points.

9. Form an opinion on all notable New Yorkers
Apply the same step above to: Mayor De Blasio, Jay Z, Lena Dunham, Lena Dunham’s character on Girls, NY1 news anchors, Robert Moses, etc.

10. Direct your cab driver
Their GPS is full of lies—only you know the fastest and shortest way from the office to your apartment.

11. Embrace all five boroughs
Yes, it might mean a trek, but missing out on the beauty of the New York Botanical Gardens because you “don’t do the Bronx” is dumb.

12. Stash headphones, umbrellas and another pair of shoes in various places around the city
Do you really want to be at the office without your tunes? Also, leaving flats at that guy’s apartment for the next time you wear heels over there doesn’t mean you’re in a committed relationship, you’re just practical.

13. Eat dollar slice
What? You think you’re too good for a meal that’s cheaper than bottled water? You think you're better than that low-quality mozzarella? Well, you're just plain wrong.

14. Reveal the price of your rent to anyone who asks
It’s impolite NOT to engage in our obsession with this aspect of personal finances.

15. Turn off Taxi TV the moment you sit down
When you look up, you’ll see your grizzled driver giving you a quiet nod of approval in his rearview mirror.

16. Argue that New York is the greatest city in the world and the best at everything
Even when popular opinion, studies and data prove it isn't true, stick with your hometown pride. 

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