New York City is the center of all things cultural in the United States. Between Broadway shows and diverse restaurants, it is impossible to not be dazzled by everything the city has to offer its visitors. Some of us are lucky and are born in this great city and get the chance to grow up surrounded by all of the lights and fantastic experiences that go along with "The Big Apple." City kids are a special breed, and they grow up in a very different environment than the traditional suburban household, for better or worse.
1. You are completely comfortable taking public transportation on your own
The bus and Subway are the fastest ways to get around in New York City, and as you get more accustomed to using them, you learn how to get wherever you need to go the fastest/with the least transfers possible/avoiding that one station where there is always SOMEONE who thinks it's okay to hold the doors open and prevent EVERYONE from getting where they are going.
2. You are an expert at time management
Once you learn your routes on the Subway and bus, you start to figure out EXACTLY what time that 7:30-but-is-always-12-minutes-late train will come. The schedules lie; you need a real New York brain to know the absolute last minute you can get to the station and not miss it.
Not corner stores, not delis, not convenience stores. They are called bodegas.
4. Once October hits, you always have a hoodie with you
In NYC, hoodies are worn when the temperature is anywhere below 60 degrees. You will see plenty of people outside in hoodies shoveling snow, and people pulling them on in the afternoon when the sun is still shining, but it isn't quite warm out anymore.
5. You walk EVERYWHERE
One of the best things about the city is that everything is within walking distance. I never realized just how much walking I did until I started going to school in Suffolk County, where you need to drive to get anywhere off campus.
6. You don't know your friends' addresses, but you do know their apartment numbers
Whenever you go to someone's house, you have to ring the correct bell outside of their building, or risk getting yelled at through their neighbor's window.
7. Your elementary school is the only one that was zoned
Once you get to middle school, kids start getting pulled into other districts, and by high school, everyone has to apply to their individual program, which could be in a different borough, let alone 30 square blocks.
8. "The city" does not just mean Manhattan
When people think of the city, they think of midtown Manhattan, but the farther out you go, it gets quieter and more residential — but it is still the city. Traditionally, Manhattan apartments and entertainment centers have been seeping out into Brooklyn and Queens, where the rents are lower and more young people have been moving in.
9. Your school could never do a play that was currently being done on Broadway
Even though a production of "The Lion King Jr." is very unlikely to pull audiences away from the Broadway stage, copyright laws did not allow any Broadway shows to be put on while they were still live.
10. You grew up eating food from all over the world
In my neighborhood alone, I have access to Japanese, Mexican, Italian, and several different types of Chinese food. With all of those options at such a close distance, it is only natural that you had a sampling of each before you turned 10.
11. You have a very systematic way of keeping yourself safe
Never put your phone in an external pocket of your bag. Always tell someone where you are going. These things are often common sense to New Yorkers who grew up with the "but what if you get mugged" worrying from their family members everytime they ventured out of the house. Luckily, these things are so deeply ingrained in us that we take the precautions without living in fear of "something bad" happening.