Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

Losing my New York State of Mind. Or am I?

I’m in New York this week visiting my family so I figured it would be appropriate to write something about me being a native New Yorker. Even though I’ve lived in Delaware for roughly half of my life, I grew up on Long Island and being a New Yorker is like having an STD or something less disgusting that gets in your blood and stays there. No matter how much time I spend away, when I go back, it’s like I never left except I always forget about sales tax and that shit throws me off. We don’t have sales tax in Delaware so I fail to plan for it and man, does it mess up the price of things. When it says something costs $5, IT NEEDS TO COST $5. Not $5.18. GET IT TOGETHER, NEW YORK.

Moving on. 

As I said before I got distracted, there are some part of me that will remain forever a New Yorker despite my years away. Like these:

I will always believe that bagels or pizza or Italian Ices (hey there, Ralph’s) are better in New York (and, let’s be clear. By “New York”, I mean everything below Westchester County. Upstate is a whole different animal).

I will always bleed orange and blue and will never, ever defect to the dark side of sports. And by that, I mean becoming a Philadelphia sports fan (sorry, Steph). 


I will always play Jewish geography. For those unaware, it’s a game that I’m pretty sure New Yorkers invented where two Jewish people meet and they see how many people they have in common. There’s usually one. It’s weird.

If I tell you that I’m from Long Island, and you tell me you know someone who lives there and ask if I know them, rest assured, I do not. Long Island has A LOT of people and I’m pretty sure I don’t know your college roommate’s uncle’s friend’s daughter’s first grade teacher. Unless they grew up in my town and are roughly my age. Or they’re Jewish (because see above).

While we’re on that topic, if you ask me where on Long Island I’m from and I tell you and you nod like you know what I’m talking about, I will always know when you don’t, especially if you say something like “oh, that’s near The Hamptons, right?” No. No, it’s not. Visiting there one time does not make you an expert. 

If I do meet someone from Long Island or even Queens or Brooklyn which is like NYC lite but like Long Island’s moderately cooler older cousins, even if we grew up in different parts, it’s an instant friendship. And if not friendship, it’s at least a good hour or two of conversation. We’re kindred. 

I will always, always hate the Belt Parkway. I’m pretty sure the road to hell is an exact replica. 

I will always talk fast, drive fast, be cynical and sarcastic, say “coffee” and “talk” and”dog” other words like that exactly the way you expect a New Yorker to say them and #noshame and yes, my husband has a mild Southern accent and yes, when we fight, it kind of sounds like the Civil War but again, #noshame

I will always cringe when I hear people call New York City “The Big Apple” or something else horrifically cheesy. It’s how we know you’re a tourist or trying too hard. It’s “The City”. Nothing else. Also, Manhattan is not the only part of the city. If you don’t know all 5 boroughs, well…learn your NY geography.

Don’t do this. Just don’t.

I will always feel nostalgia and pride for how and where I grew up because, despite all the years I spent clamoring to leave, I know I couldn’t have grown up anywhere better.

I will always be okay with the label “New York native” because if I’m going to have a label, that’s a pretty good one to have.

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  1. Kellli

    I love NYC and have even been to places in NYC outside of Manhattan. I’ve also been to Long Island, Melville specifically not near the Hamptons. 🙂

  2. Teh Megan

    When I refer to “The City” I have to clarify for Mr. Scrooge with “The East Coast City” because to him, The City means San Fransisco. “The City” has caused lots of confusion for us because I didn’t realize there was a West Coast The City.

    Despite my dad being from upstate NY and having an aunt with a house right outside NYC, I’ve only been to NYC once when I was staying with friends in Jersey. I feel like I’ve disgraced myself and I should visit again.

    I’ll never know the ins and outs of The City. Boroughs and different places in NYC. It’s too confusing.
    Teh Megan recently posted…Confessions {6/24}My Profile

  3. alyssa

    I had a (very) brief period of my life where I wanted to leave NNJ and never come back, but I don’t think I ever will. I have so, so much pride for my state and my region (north Jersey, technical Manhattan suburb, so pretty much just the inverse of where you grew up—crazy how similar some parts of that upbringing is, even with you to the east and me to the west) which is not to say we get everything right (ahem, current governor) but we do get a LOT right and I love this place. Anyway, so much agreement on these: the city (no, friends from south Jersey, Philly is not “the city”), coffee/talk/water/etc., pizza, bagels, and food in general, talking and driving fast, and the best damn sports teams in America. By the way, I’ve never been to the Hamptons and only know one person from LI, my horrible ex-roommate. I won’t ask you if you know her though 😉
    alyssa recently posted…Time For a Check UpMy Profile

  4. Ali A

    Yayyyyy, welcome back! Hope you’re enjoying your visit. Love this and agree on the following:

    Despite the traffic and the noise and attitudes, I really do love this place.
    Ali A recently posted…Hey, Mother Nature: keep up the good work.My Profile

  5. SMD @ Life According to Steph

    I am not from New York and I cringe when I hear people say The Big Apple.

    I was on the Belt Parkway once, by accident, and it was horrible.
    SMD @ Life According to Steph recently posted…June RecommendationsMy Profile

  6. Nadine

    Haha I love this post because it is how I feel about Pittsburgh. Except I sound like my own civil war when my Pittsburghese comes out with a southern twang from being away too long. When I hang out with my mom, I sound like I used to sound…but take me away from her and it is hard to tell where I am from anymore. Sigh. One day I need to get around to visiting NYC!
    Nadine recently posted…ConfessionsMy Profile

  7. Karen

    My husband and I were just discussing how we could avoid the Belt Parkway if we venture out to Sesame Place this summer! It’s like a huge parking lot. I hate that now people associate Long Island with that Long Island Medium show. We are all not fake nail wearing, high helmet hair, horrible accent people. I also agree about the pizza and bagels!
    Karen recently posted…Current Reads…The Good And The MehMy Profile

  8. Lindsay

    I would love to be a fly on the wall when you and hubs are arguing. 🙂

    Enjoy the time in New York with your fam.

    Lindsay recently posted…The ABCs of MeMy Profile

  9. Amber

    I hope to go back to NYC someday.

    I hate tax too. It always messes me up.
    Amber recently posted…Hey, It’s Okay Tuesday!My Profile

  10. Kristin

    My friend is from Long Island. You probably know her, right?

    This reminds me of when I tell people I’m from PA and they assume Philadelphia. I’ve never even BEEN to Philadelphia.
    Kristin recently posted…Pinned. Did. Done. 6/23My Profile

  11. Julia @ Grace Makes New

    Hahaha at your fighting sounding like the Civil War! 😀 I must admit I know very little about New York City other than what you see in the movies, the last time I visited was 8th grade but I would love to go back someday!
    Julia @ Grace Makes New recently posted…Love, Hate, TagMy Profile

  12. Erin of TexErin-in-SydneyLand

    This is one department that New Yorkers and Texans are similar. We have an identity and a culture that’s always going to be a special part of us.

    Sydney does have sales tax, but prices shown have the tax included. So, if you see a shirt for $50, you pay $50. Then, the business gets $45.45, and the business has to pay $4.55 back to the government.
    Erin of TexErin-in-SydneyLand recently posted…The ABCs of MeMy Profile

  13. Kerry

    I have been to NYC a few times and even The Bronx but never claim to know anything there. This all could apply to Bostonians too. Haha!
    Kerry recently posted…Book Challenge – Book ListMy Profile

  14. lisacng @ expandng.com

    I feel very similarly for Philadelphia, my hometown.

    Sorry, I don’t know all the names of the boroughs of NYC :). But I don’t call it the Big Apple, so I’m half ok.
    lisacng @ expandng.com recently posted…My life in numbersMy Profile

  15. Peggy Gilbey McMackin

    A really fun Post. Clearly you’ve not lost your New York State of mind!New Yorkers are among my most favorite people anywhere, sorry for the cliche.
    Peggy Gilbey McMackin recently posted…Key Lime Pie CupsMy Profile


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