Ever heard about the stereotype of the Angry New Yorker? What if it happens to be true — and what’s up with that?
By Mallory Matney
You identify yourself affectionately as the “Angry New Yorker”, and yet you only half-believe it is true. You are a New Yorker. You’ve made it in The City. You are invincible.
You conveniently forget there are about seven million other New Yorkers sharing this island with you – some angry, some not-so angry . You forget that, unless you are forced to hug a few smelly ones on the 6 Train in rush hour. But you are not an angry person. It is everyone else who walks a few paces slower than you, steals the last empty seat on the bus before you, and lingers in the checkout line in front of you.
These daily inconveniences frustrate you, but you accept these waves of anger. After all, they are construction sites in the city of your life. Who can blame you for elbowing your path through the Midtown crowds like a football player in your jaded black suit? You are surviving, and that is all that matters.
You will not admit to that 30-second, wistful gaze at the Empire State Building gleaming red on Valentine’s Day because this is Everyday Life for you. Awestruck tourists simultaneously amuse and annoy you because you remember when you were them. You shoo them out of your way impatiently, as if they are oblivious cattle that don’t know any better.
Your children will grow up witnessing foul-smelling poverty, obese rats dominating the subway, and the parade of cigarette smoke taunting your face. You teach them, like this city has taught you, that true New Yorkers accept these as reality that you ignore.
You pay a fortune for your unfortunate-sized apartment, but the neighborhood reputation is worth the price. The process of co-op boards and school fees unleash the ruthless, angry New Yorker in you, but it’s not your fault. All the stereotypes of New York are true, and you wear those truths like a banner waving proudly.
New York has tested you, hardened you, angered you. And yet you are smug about of the relationship you have with this city. And yet you fought for New York to love you back. And yet you stand slightly taller whenever someone asks where you are from.
“I’m a New Yorker.” And the rest of us better not forget it.
About Mallory Matney
Mallory relocated to New York City from California armed with one suitcase and a degree in Literary Journalism. She has found New York to be the best place to observe and write about people in her spare time.
“New York City – Times Square” my old postcards @ Flickr.com. Creative Commons. Some Rights Reserved.