27 Things Only People Who Grew Up in NYC Understand

Paging Dr. Zizmor...

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Oh, New York transplants, with their Trader Joe’s groceries and Stumptown coffee. We’ve learned to live together in harmony, but unless you were born and raised in New York City (no, not Long Island--and definitely not Jersey) you’ll never be a true New Yorker. Here are 27 things only NYC natives understand.

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1. You roll your eyes when your friends complain about their commutes. Please, you took the 6 to the N to the R to get to school when you were 12.

2. You’ve never been to the Empire State Building, and Times Square gives you hives, but you’ve been to the Metropolitan Museum of Art 2,859 times.

3. And no one could pay you to watch the ball drop on New Year’s.

4. At least one kid in your elementary school was the child of a celebrity (or if you were really lucky, a reality TV star).

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5. You remember when the Blink gym by NYU was Tower Records, the John Varvatos store on Bowery was CBGB and the Citibank in Union Square was the Virgin Megastore. (RIP, guys.)

6. You’re an expert multitasker--you can text, avoid tourists, dodge traffic, step around that suspicious-looking manhole cover and eat a slice of pizza at the same time.

7. Even if you’re not going anywhere important, you walk ridiculously fast. (“Out of my way, tourists waiting in line at Magnolia. I’m going home to watch Netflix!”)

8. You’re completely immune to deafening sirens. But weird trash smells? Um, nope, no one is safe from those.

9. When you wanted to see the great outdoors, you became best friends with the one kid in class whose parents had a two-room “country house” in the Catskills.

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David Perez Shadi / Rizzoli New York

10. Kids wasn’t just a movie--it was a group of actual kids that you weren’t cool enough to talk to in Washington Square Park.

11. And let’s face it, you’re still trying to work up the guts to approach Chloë Sevigny at Union Pool.

12. You never learned how to drive or swim…but you can subway surf like a boss.

13. Watching any movie set in NYC is like taking a walk down memory lane. “Oooh, I remember that bagel place. It was next door to my orthodontist…”

14. You’ve accidentally wandered onto at least a dozen film sets (and not even bothered to see what they were filming).

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15. And you’re definitely in the background of at least three old-school Law & Order episodes.

16. When you visit other towns, you’re baffled when you can’t just “grab dinner” at 11:30 at night.

17. …And when the public transportation (if they even have any at all) shuts down at midnight.

18. …And when last call is at 1:30 a.m.

19. …And when the bagels and pizza are completely inedible.


20. ...But everything’s so cheap! Movies are only $8 in Duluth? We’re billionaires!

21. Your NY driver’s license is strictly for voting and getting into bars.

22. But you still have the old ID you “chalked” so you could drink when you saw shows at the Knitting Factory in high school.

23. Your superpower: You have a sixth sense for avoiding the subway car with no air-conditioning.

24. You always knew what cool bands were playing thanks to The Village Voice. (You also got to see some extremely freaky personal ads on the last few pages.)

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Apartment Therapy

25. You went through a phase in middle school where you hung out at the Astor Place cube a lot.

26. ...But it wasn’t safe to walk past Avenue B (which is now home to a million hipstery bars with filament lights and $18 cocktails).

27. Shhh, you have a (stolen) vintage Dr. Zizmor subway poster in your closet. Don’t tell anyone. It could be worth something someday.

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Lindsay Champion

Freelance Editor

From 2015-2020 Lindsay Champion held the role of Food and Wellness Director. She continues to write for PureWow as a Freelance Editor.
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