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20 ways to spot a Californian in NYC

New York is filled with people from every corner of the world, but those from California are particularly easy to spot

Written by
Dana Varinsky
Time Out New York contributors

New York City is chock-full of transplants who hail from every corner of the country and the world. Many people who land here are quick to adapt, but there are a few kinds of non-native New Yorkers who are easily recognizable no matter how long they’ve lived in the city. Chief among them: Californians. Those who hail from the Golden State have a unique set of dietary requirments and habits that make them stick out like sore thumbs. Wondering how to spot one in a crowd? Here are 20 way-too-generalized telltale signs. 

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

2. They complain loudly and frequently about how they can’t find good tacos or burritos anywhere on the East Coast.

3. They hate humidity and are constantly reminding you that they are ill prepared to deal with this level of sweat despite regularly engaging in sweat-inducing activities. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

10. 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 (they have a point).

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

12. They know where to find smoothie or juice bars at all times.

13. They have a surprising collection of outdoorsy clothing: zip-off camping pants, biking shorts, hiking boots....  

14. They never think to bring an umbrella unless it’s already raining outside. 

16. 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.

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

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

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

20. There is a good chance they have weed.

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