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New York City | © Pixabay
New York City | © Pixabay
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You're Only a True New Yorker if You've Done These 17 Things

Picture of Julia Goicochea
Updated: 28 July 2017
One subway ride and bagel-and-shmear breakfast do not a true New Yorker make. Curious to discover if you pass the test? Read on to learn how one of the world’s most coveted statuses is earned.

Had a rendez-vous under the famous Washington Square Arch

Not even the most cynical of locals can resist the charm of the Washington Square Arch, a New York City landmark and popular meeting place in famed Greenwich Village. Any true New Yorker knows the power of the arch, which can transform a run-of-the-mill meeting into a movie-worthy moment.

Washington Square Arch l m01229/Flickr
Washington Square Arch l m01229/Flickr | Washington Square Arch l m01229/Flickr

Enjoyed a film al fresco

Come summertime, you couldn’t keep New Yorkers indoors if you tried. Perhaps the favorite local tradition of the season is al fresco film screenings, which occur in parks and on rooftops across New York City. Every local should experience snacking under the stars at an en masse movie night at least once.

NYC Movie in the park l André Natta/Flickr
NYC Movie in the park l André Natta/Flickr | NYC movie in the park l André Natta/Flickr

Spotted a celebrity (and didn’t freak out)

Here in New York, we see A-listers across the street and behind us in line more than we see them on screen. Luckily for them, no celebrity sighting can inspire a true New Yorker to cause a scene. Whether you’re a mailman or a Marvel hero, you’re likely to receive the same level of interest from New Yorkers.

Stumbled randomly upon a street fair

Every local has had their day derailed by the sudden appearance of a street fair. These pop-up events — which pack countless food, clothing, and art businesses into a stretch of city streets — are rarely a pre-planned destination, but always a pleasant surprise.

Chosen a packed subway car over an empty one

Ever wondered at images of about-to-burst subway cars? A true New Yorker will always choose a full car over an empty one, which is usually vacant for a valid reason. We won’t go into detail about said reasons here, but trust us: you’re better off piling in with the rest of the subway-savvy riders.

Been roped into a busker’s performance

It’s no secret that this city is home to some seriously talented performers… as well as some seriously strange ones. Whether the former or the latter, a busker is bound to rope you into their routine at some point. The only response left to a true New Yorker? Belt one out, shake it, and don’t take yourself too seriously.

Manhattan performer l Pixabay
Manhattan performer l Pixabay | Manhattan performer l Pixabay

Dined at the city’s most luxurious restaurant…

If you’ve never made a reservation months in advance for a meal that costs half your rent (and regretted nothing), you may not be a true New Yorker. A city of gourmands, New York is home to a whopping 77 Michelin-starred restaurants scattered throughout 3 of its 5 boroughs. From proudly-fussy French to artful omakase to cult-favorite Italian, New Yorkers are known to savor splurge-worthy cuisine.

…And at the least

One thing New Yorkers are not is snobs. Dollar-slices, wallet-friendly dumplings, and happy hour steals all have a place in a true New Yorker’s heart— and stomach. That’s because, for us, flavor comes first. If a tasty treat comes with an easy-on-the-pocket price tag, that just makes the meal all the more delicious.

Eaten at Katz’s Delicatessen

If it was good enough for a ’90s-era Meg Ryan, it’s good enough for New Yorkers. With its high-piled sandwiches, generous portions, and kitschy decor, Katz’s Delicatessen is one of the few local spots both tourists and New Yorkers can agree on. Every local has braved the deli’s line at least once for a taste of authentic Jewish cuisine that’s still just as good as Meg promised.

Katz's Delicatessen l Wikipedia
Katz's Delicatessen l Wikipedia | Katz’s Delicatessen l Wikipedia

Walked the Central Park Mall

When New Yorkers find themselves taking their city for granted, a walk down Central Park’s famous Mall is just the reality check we need. The spacious, elm-lined path has appeared on screen countless times, and for good reason: the Mall is an ideal destination to witness the beauty of New York’s seasons.

Central Park Mall l Anthony Quintano/Flickr
Central Park Mall l Anthony Quintano/Flickr | Central Park Mall l Anthony Quintano/Flickr

Encountered incredible street art

It should come as no surprise that an art capital like New York overflows with creativity. Not restricting themselves to any museum’s confines, local artists treat their city as a larger-than-life canvas, making for magical everyday encounters. From celebrity-snapped murals to trash-can flower arrangements (really), true New Yorkers know where to spot the city’s most scenic streets.

Lewis Miller Design Flower Flashes, courtesy of Lewis Miller Design
Lewis Miller Design Flower Flashes, courtesy of Lewis Miller Design | Lewis Miller Design Flower Flashes, courtesy of Lewis Miller Design

Haggled over a price tag

Ask any style-savvy New Yorker their secret to snagging deals, and they’ll tell you: it’s all in the haggling. Whether you’re buying from a street vendor or a salon, negotiating prices is part of the purchasing process here. Is it polite? Perhaps not. Is it ‘New York’? Absolutely.

Explored the High Line

Yes, the High Line is overrun with out-of-towners. Yes, you can snag more impressive city views at other elevated establishments. And yes, New Yorkers absolutely adore it. This above-ground subway track converted into a public park (only in New York) hosts some of the city’s best events, art installations, and people-watching. The High Line: an attraction so great, even New Yorkers can’t hate it.

The High Line
The High Line | © Iker Alonso/Flickr

Been to Times Square (and sworn you’d never go back)

Every New Yorker has been dazzled by the lights of Times Square, amused by its entertainers, and exhilarated by its energy. They’ve also vowed never to go back. From its slow-moving tourist crowds to the area’s inflated prices, this iconic New York City attraction falls flat with New Yorkers.

Times Square l Pixabay
Times Square l Pixabay | Times Square l Pixabay

Gone gallery-hopping

Over the past few decades, the city’s world-renowned art scene has crept far beyond the confines of Chelsea. Today, galleries can be found in just about any neighborhood and in each of the five boroughs. True New Yorkers have all traveled outside the obvious areas to go gallery-hopping in Long Island City, Bushwick, and beyond.

Experienced a tourist attraction (and secretly enjoyed it)

Not even stony-faced New Yorkers can resist the delicacies of Chinatown or Macy’s majestic Fourth of July fireworks. A true New Yorker has experienced both the city’s obvious and underground attractions and never lets bias get in the way of a good time.

Brooklyn Bridge l Pixabay
Brooklyn Bridge l Pixabay | Brooklyn Bridge l Pixabay

Explored more than just Manhattan

Any true New Yorker will tell you there’s much more to the city than Manhattan. From the trendy restaurants and shops in Brooklyn to Queens’ rich ethnic enclaves, and from vibrant street scenes in the Bronx to sleepy Staten Island, adventure awaits in the city’s other four boroughs.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden l Joseph Bylund/Flickr
Brooklyn Botanic Garden l Joseph Bylund/Flickr | Brooklyn Botanic Garden l Joseph Bylund/Flickr