It’s been fun – and annoying sometimes – being ‘that guy from New York’ every time someone asks me where I’m from (It’s even more fun being the first person they might have met from The Bronx).
These are some of my favorite New Yorker moments** I’ve had so far since moving to Chicago this past summer:
Literally everyone: Oh you just moved here? From where?
Me: New York.
Literally everyone: Omg that’s so cool!!! I went once like 10 years ago, but all I remember was Times Square. Did you live near Times Square?! Whose pizza is better – Chicago or New York?? What’s riding on the Subway like? have you ever been to Central Park? Have you seen the ball drop for New Year’s? Have you been to the Statue of Liberty? Have you seen the tree lighting at Rockefeller Center? My cousin’s cousin’s cousin went to NYU…
Co-worker from the Burbs: Where you from, Ruben?
Me: I just moved to Chicago, I’m from New York originally.
Co-worker from the Burbs: You’re from New York?
Co-worker from the Burbs: … so why’d you come here?
(At a friend’s birthday party)
Birthday friend: Ruben, this is another friend of mine from New York, she’s been living here for a few years now.
*NY Friend and I exchange pleasantries*
NY Friend: So how long you been in Chicago?
Me: Like a couple months so far.
NY Friend: Yo deadass I been here like 3 years and I still miss having a real baconeggandcheese.
Me: Wordddd I’ve only seen 3 bodegas out here…
NY Friend: I’m sayin’! And they actually have ALLEY WAYS out here in between buildings!
Me: I know! Like damn instead of throwing mad garbage on the sidewalk twice a week… and the Ventra card is dumb smart…got me mad disappointed in the MTA.
NY Friend: I knoow it’s crazy! MTA is slackin’ OD.
Me: Word like always.
NY Friend: Facts!!
*Me and NY Friend laugh together*
Me: Where you from tho?
NY Friend: From The Heights like 178 and Broadway.
Me: Oh word I used to be right off 152 and Amsterdam!
NY Friend: Oh shit my cousin’s right off 148 by the train! You always been there, or?
Me: Nah I grew up in The Bronx, on 233rd by the 2 train.
NY Friend: Ohh okay I know where that’s at I got you. You know what’s crazy. tho, the other day I was like–
*Chicagoans near us are completely lost*
Chicagoan: One of my favorite rappers is from New York.
Me: Oh, which one?
Chicagoan: Tekashi 6ix9ine.
*Literally whenever the words ‘New York’ are mentioned in a group*
Everyone else: *Turns to me slowly, smiling, creepily awaiting my reaction*
Co-worker: Hey Ruben, I just booked a flight to New York a few weeks from now. I was wondering, what’s your experience with LaGuardia Airport?
Co-worker: So have you always lived in Chicago?
Me: No I just moved from New York.
Co-worker: Oh, that’s awesome! I have a friend who lives in Manhattan!
Me: Oh nice!
Co-worker: I should ask you – do you know any good fusion restaurants in New York? My friend was telling me he was looking for anything that’s a real mix of different cultures, anything that’s really different?
Me: Well… there’s a place called Mama Sushi in upper Manhattan he could look at. It’s a Dominican and Japanese sushi place, I loved it there.
Co-worker: Oh wow! Thanks! I’ll tell him to look it up.
(A few days later…)
Co-worker: Hey Ruben, I’m sorry, I told my friend about the restaurant you recommended and he said he didn’t want to go there… he said it was in a dangerous area, too close to The Bronx.
Other co-workers: *Chuckle*
Me: *Laughing louder, obnoxiously* I was born and raised in The Bronx. I was raised on baconeggancheeses, cuchifritos, and tostones mashed with a plastic cup. I have a pet pigeon. I know how to say ‘deadass’ in 16 different languages. It’s just sad that the people who are scared of going there are the one’s who’ve never been and just believe what they hear… anyways, rant over, sorry about that.
Co-workers: *Nervously avoid eye contact*
One co-worker: *Checks his pockets*
Chicagoans: Can you pass the bottle of pop?
Chicagoans: Has anybody seen my gym shoes?
*Hears strong Midwest accent*
Chicagoans: Wait… so you’re telling me… that some people… in New York City… don’t HAVE A CAR?!?!
Me: Yep. I didn’t get my license ’til I was 26-
Chicagoans: *head explodes*
Midwestern dude : So where are you from originally?
Me: New York, I just moved here recently.
Midwestern dude: Oh, cool. What part of New York?
Me: The Bronx.
Midwestern dude: *Tries to restrain his face, reflexively contorting in disgust*
Me: … *awkwardly changes subject*
Nevertheless, the Windy City has been lovely.
**Some of these may not have been a little embellished. – RSM