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Six questions only real New Yorkers have the answer for

Written by Katie Byrd

Many still dispute what makes someone a real New Yorker. Some have the theory that only natives are real New Yorkers, while others claim that living in the city for x amount of years, or accumulating certain skills, qualities or experiences, gives you the right of passage. In any case, someone who has been around NYC long enough to be considered a real New Yorker, would only know the answers to the following.

1. Which borough/neighborhood/venue has the best…

Pizza, art galleries, nightlife, comedy, marketplaces, and cultural enclaves. While this may be subjective, any New Yorker could give you their two cents on anything from where to get the best authentic slice of pizza pie, whether LES or Chelsea hosts the best art galleries/exhibits, which club hosts the best parties or live stand up, which marketplaces are worth a visit, to which Chinatown (or Little Italy, Korea, etc.) is best.

2. How to pronounce surprisingly tricky street names

While some of these might seem like a no-brainer, many mispronounce the names of common streets (or subway stations) across the five boroughs. Only a well-seasoned New Yorker would know the proper way to pronounce names like Houston, Stuyvesant, Kosciuszko and Schermerhorn.

3. What the giant countdown clock in Union Square means

The giant board of digital numbers on Union Square South, also known as the “Metronome”, simply explains what time it by counting from midnight (military style), a hundredth of a second and how long until it is midnight. Still kind of confusing, right?

4. How do you ‘make it’ in New York

With the expensive rent and competitive job market, as well as a generally intense environment, it can be difficult to fathom how one could stand living here - to survive or even less so to thrive in this city. It seems that real New Yorkers know how to hustle, in every sense of the word, to the fullest.

5. How to navigate the complex subway system

While some of it may seem straightforward, it's easy to get trapped in the tunnels. Oftentimes, newbies will feel unsure of which exit to take to transfer to the correct train that gets them to their final destination. A good example of this is Union Square.  Real New Yorkers wouldn’t encounter this problem as often, because most of them known the subway system like the back of their hand. 

6. What is the difference between bodegas and liquor stores?

Bodega is the Spanish word for "warehouse or pantry” and they are distinguishable by their combination of delis, produce, and, quite often, liquor selection. Meanwhile liquor stores simply sell, well, liquor.

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