I've lived in both New York City and Western New York and while the two locations possess contrasting environments, no one I've talked with about New York comprehends those two words apply to more than the Big Apple. After years of informing people the two are different, I decided to write a guide informing these individuals of the differences by outlining what you should not say to a New York City resident and a Western New York resident. The first five apply to the city that never sleeps, and the latter five apply to the recipient of so, so much lake effect snow. Here's what not to say to a New Yorker.
What Not to Say to a New Yorker
From insulting our football team to thinking everything outside of New York City should be referred to us “upstate”, here's what not to say.
1. I Thought New Yorkers Were Rude
At least one person residing in every city and country in the world is “rude.” Don't accept a stereotype, and talk with a New Yorker about how they don't live up to their city's negative reputation. That makes you come across as rude.
2. I'd Never Take the Subway
That's great for you. Not everyone can hail a cab or drive a car through one of the busiest cities in the world. Subways are fantastic public transportation modes, allowing a much cheaper and more energy-efficient way from point A to point b. I wish more cities implemented subway systems.
3. NYC is Dirty
Spoiler alert: every city is dirty. I've seen trash rolling through streets in rural Alabama the same way I notice leftover pizza boxes littering the streets of New York City. People are gross. Where there are people, there will be trash. That is the world we live in, and thinking NYC is the dirtiest city is ignorant. With a population of 8 million, of course, the streets don't beg you to walk barefoot and lay on the bare ground.
4. I Love Visiting, But I'd Never Live Here.
First off, no one asked you to move to the big city, and second, why would you tell someone their home isn't worthy of your permanent presence? They don't care, and it furthers the first point. Inserting your input about someone's choice to dwell in New York City has nothing to do with you, and it won't change their opinion. Also, how do you know you couldn't live in New York City without trying?
5. Your Apartment is So Small
6. What's it Like Living in NYC?
Well, those living in Western New York live a six-hour car ride and about an eight-hour bus ride away from the Big Apple, so they can't answer what the living conditions of NYC resemble.
7. Shoveling Snow Must Be So Relaxing
I lived in Salamanca, New York, a tiny town resting 60 miles south of Buffalo and 80 miles east of Erie, Pennsylvania, meaning the lake effect snow conditions stacked several feet during blizzards and contributed to sought-after snow days for the school kids. My uncle shoveled his driveway consistently, averaging around two hours each morning, and even after years of repetitive movement, he still slipped on ice and hurt his knees from the frequent movements. Do not suggest shoveling is a meditative exercise.
8. The Bills Suck
Please don't do this. You will gain thousands of enemies in a split second.
9. There's Nothing to Do Here
Sure, there are fewer activities prevalent in a smaller Western New York town than the metropolis that is New York City, but there isn't a shortage of activities. Camping, music festivals, and museums dot New York's western hemisphere. When I visit Western New York, I snowboard, explore the outdoors, hike, exist in nature, and pick blueberries. You get the idea.
10. So, You Live in Upstate New York?
No. If you live in Western New York, you live in Western New York, not New York City, not upstate. For reference, Western New York spans Buffalo, Salamanca, and Niagara Falls; Central New York has Utica, Syracuse, and Binghamton; and Upstate New York covers Albany and Cortland.
About Gabrielle Reeder
Gabrielle Reeder is a travel enthusiast from St. Petersburg Florida. She boarded her first plane at six months old and blames her love for jet-setting on her mom’s background as a travel agent. She’s been to 41 states and six countries, hoping to up that number to 50 states and 10 countries by her 26th birthday. During her trips, she loves to find the best vegetarian food, desserts, and music venues.