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15 uniquely New York habits people pick up after living here

These are behaviors that New Yorkers initially scoffed at but now do on the regular.

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver

Before anyone moves to NYC, they have a preconceived notion about what a New Yorker is like, what they do and what their lives are like on a daily basis. 

We all know those clichés—yelling “I’m walkin’ here” at offensive drivers, wearing all black (which is admittedly true), jaywalking in front of on-coming traffic—and other behaviors we’ve all seen New Yorkers doing that somehow they thought they might be exempt from once they move here. 

But once someone learns the city’s rules, they change. They become a product of its atmosphere and pick up habits they once rolled their eyes at or didn’t understand. 

On Reddit this week, a New Yorker asked their peers a question: “What ‘typical’ New Yorker behavior did you initially scoff at but has now become a regular part of your life?

Below are the 15 most popular answers:

1. Ordering takeout most days

It turns out that all of us are busy working and cooking has become a luxury of time and money for most of us. Ordering in often is pretty standard and saves time and sanity in lieu of money. 

“For me when I moved here I heard about how much people order delivery and takeout and I thought there was no way I’d ever do that more than once a week tops, now I order a majority of the days of the week,” the original poster wrote.

2. Brazenly asking people what they pay in rent

In most other places, talking about money and how much someone pays in rent is a no-no. But in NYC, it’s quickly realized that manners get sidelined when we talk about rent prices because they’re so damn high! We’re always looking for the best deals and love to gawk at how much (or little) someone is paying for their place. We’re pretty brazen about it, according to user SavageMutilation.

3. Dissing Times Square and avoiding it at all costs

Times Square was once so magical to our transplants! The glittering lights, the splashy ads and all the people staring up in awe captured their imaginations…until, that is, they spent enough time trying to get through it. Times Square has a gravitational pull that gets you stuck behind perpetually shuffling tourists and thrusts you into an unwanted audience with the disheveled husks of Disney characters.

“Literally on the second day of going to the CUNY Graduate Center, I was like ‘Oh wait this fucking sucks…’” said user HilariousConsequence.

4. Walking at maximum speed everywhere

Who is in that much of a hurry? 

“it’s not necessarily that i’m in a rush. it’s just that walking fast cuts down on time, and i’ve budgeted getting from point A to B according to my fast walking speed. i didn’t accommodate for your -1,000mph walking pace so move b*tch get out the way!” said Throwaway21202021.

5. Dining later

Eating at 8:30 or 9pm seemed so late for dinner before moving here, but now it all makes sense. New Yorkers are literally too busy working late or checking out all NYC has to offer that dinner is pushed back to what you might expect in European countries.

“I’m surprised no one has said this, but I never thought I would change my meal times. But sure enough, after like a month here I found myself sitting down to dinner at like 8:30 or 9:00, would look at the clock, and be shocked,” wrote Aljowoods103.

6. Exiting the subway through the emergency exit door

Everyone is taught that emergency exits are for emergencies, but it only takes a very big crowd of commuters or one trip through the subway with a shitton of bags to realize they’re for any time. 

“Yea I once told a tourist family that they could use the emergency door to get their stroller through when I saw them struggling with the turnstiles,” wrote smallmacaroni. “They said ‘but the alarm’ and I said ‘it doesn’t do anything’ as I helped them get the stroller through. They were genuinely concerned.”

7. Becoming jaded to crazy situations

New Yorkers are so unfazed but some things just deserve outrage! Not for us. We’ve seen some shit and it’s just another day in NYC.

“Saw a drunk middle schooler on the bus a couple days ago, not even the weirdest thing I’ve seen on the crosstown bus,” redqueenhypo admitted.

8. Expecting to have everything within walking distance

When you live here for any amount of time, you become used to the very New York concept of convenience. Need anything? You can find it within walking distance. When that’s not the case, we get huffy about it.

“This still shocks me in other cities that it’s not available,” said jenbarkley.

9. Schlepping around with a canvas tote bag

The importance of our canvas bags is underestimated. They may seem flimsy but they are the perfect size for all our miscellaneous belongings and they’re easy and light to carry.

10. Stepping out into the crosswalk to jaywalk

To any newbie or outsider, this move is a bit shocking, but it quickly becomes second nature. Why would we wait until the light changes to cross? If the street is empty of oncoming traffic, we’re moving.

“The aggressive way people cross the street - I always have to take a couple steps forward to be just ahead of everyone else waiting at the corner, until the street is sufficiently void of cars to jaywalk,” said laa-deedaa.

11. Refusing to leave our neighborhoods for most occasions/people

It’s easy to think that when you live in NYC going out to other neighborhoods is no problem, but after a while, we begin to determine our plans by how far things are from our hoods and don’t bother leaving ours on the weekends.

“The not leaving my neighborhood is so true. I almost dislike that part of living here. On my first visit I was all ‘oh, if I live in HK… sunset park isn’t very far! I’ll go a few times a week.’ Now I’m lucky to go south of 42nd,” wrote thesearemypringles.

12. Brunch

It may seem unnecessary and pricy at first but it quickly becomes a ritual New Yorkers perform each Sunday (or Saturday) when we feast and make merry, often making sacrifices to the alcohol gods and praying the feeling wears off before Monday rolls around.

“Brunch, never did it before moving to NYC, now it’s at least once a month, also $18+ cocktails don’t phase me anymore. Also going to the bodega in the middle of the night for something,” said LittleMexicant.

13. Taking shoes off at the door

New Yorkers regardless of their culture or background will take their shoes off at the front door. Once you see just how freaking dirty the sidewalks are, there’s no going back. A lesser-known but regular practice across New York City is taking off your “train clothes” when you get home.

“Shoes are absolutely no no. N Idk if it’s just me but I refuse to sit on my couch or bed in what I call my ‘train clothes’ after being out all day,” wrote Psilosalmon.

14. Complaining about missing the subway

It doesn’t matter that another train is coming. We hate missing the subway and always complain to anyone who will listen. It may be annoying to those who haven’t lived here, but it’s because we don’t know when the next one is coming and chances are it’s not for awhile. The scarcity of on-time trains has made us grumpy.

“conductor: ‘there’s a train right behind this one’

SUUUUUUUUUUUUURE,” wrote throwaway21202021.

15. Inserting ourselves into emergency situations

New Yorkers have a reputation for helping when it counts for a reason. It’s true. We’re not nosy until it matters.

“An old lady needs help carrying heavy shit across the street? I gotchu, Grandma. A drunk NYU student is trying to exit a cab and it starts moving before she’s fully out? Jump in front of that cab to stop it before she loses a limb!” said queenservingfacts. “I think this is why New Yorkers have a reputation of being kind, but not nice.”

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