There are various and conflicting definitions of “A Real New Yorker”, many of which imply that prior to that point one was only pretending. I’d always held that it took ten years of living in New York City to be considered official, but recently have heard it’s only eight years, or even as few as five. Apparently some people have done away with length of residency and think that being a New Yorker is an attitude, an outlook, a state of mind. The cynic might argue that being a New Yorker just requires a superiority complex.
New York is a mythic city. It is legendary, literary, cinematic. It has an unavoidable intensity, a throbbing pulse to its rhythms, a constant cycle of creative destruction. It has a subway system that baffles visitors, and social mores that can come off as cold or rude upon first brush (but really, everyone is just trying to preserve a bit of space between eight million souls). This city also has beauty that can surprise you, showing up unexpectedly in verdant pockets of dense neighbors or being unfurled so grandly in Central Park.
New York has been my home for the past nine years, so if I haven’t earned the title yet, I’m getting close by any definition. I’ve never lost a sense of awe upon seeing the skyline, which is now mixed with a sense of pride. New York is home to so many people who came from somewhere else (my Midwestern self included), some of whom only stay briefly before moving back, or moving else where. I’ve come to believe that becoming a New Yorker happens when you make peace with the city. When you’re at ease within it, and you plan to stay awhile.
While she’s almost an official New Yorker, now that she has spent the past eight years working for a large investment bank in New York City, Jean Blosser still cherishes her Midwestern roots, growing up in Columbus, Ohio. She is an alumnus of Boston College and enjoys her whiskey neat. You can find her blog here: http://www.skylineblossoms.com/