Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Being a New Yorker vs. being from New York


I’m growing tired - have been tired for some time, I suppose - of writers using their New York residency as a rhetorical device. Maybe this was once acceptable, when being from the Upper West Side or the East Village had a concrete connotation, but increasingly the device feels like an amateurish way of bragging about living in New York, about - woah - renting an apartment in a city that’s - woah - big.
(Caine Blog)

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

If you were a real New Yorker you'd say you were from the Lower East Side.

Paul said...

Paul here. Anonymous exemplifies my frustration perfectly. I simply do not understand this bizarre search for authenticity, as if drawing all these ridiculous lines and making arbitrary distinctions ("a real New Yorker...") leads to anything meaningful. Rather it seems a crutch for one's own insecurity: self-defining in a way that allows for odious self-promotion, and excluding people you don't like or understand.

Ev Grieve said...

Hi Paul,

Thanks for the comment...Jeremiah had an excellent post on this topic over at Vanishing New York:

http://vanishingnewyork.blogspot.com/2008/12/taking-over.html

He wrote:

So when does one become a New Yorker--after 15, 25, 50 years? Is it ever possible? Allen Ginsberg came from Newark and Frank O'Hara was from Baltimore. Andy Warhol came from Pittsburgh, Patti Smith from Chicago. George M. Cohan was from Providence and Mickey Mantle came from a small town in Oklahoma.