Sunday, August 12, 2012

What Makes A New Yorker?

I have lived in New York for the last three years, and yet I have only recently begun to feel like a true New Yorker.

New York magazine has a recurring blog post called "21 Questions" in which they ask famous New Yorkers (among 20 other questions) what makes someone a New Yorker. The answers always vary widely--from the speed in which one crosses the street, to one's likeliness to be found in Midtown versus the outer neighborhoods, to simply having a genuine love of this city.

I'm not exactly sure what my own answer would be, or even why I have only just now started to feel as such.

Perhaps, because this was my first summer staying in the city--the summer I turned 21, and a whole new New York opened up for me. The summer I started paying rent on my first New York apartment. And held my first full-time internship. The summer I finally traded in my old Illinois state ID for an official New York version. 

It was a summer of the hum of an office, of glossy magazines and mini page layouts, and coffee runs and e-mails, and working for editors that were some of the best bosses I have ever had.

It was a summer of picking up elaborate wedding cakes in Brooklyn for photo shoots, and balancing them on my lap headed into Midtown, praying that I wouldn’t let the layers of fondant splatter on the sidewalk outside of 4 Times Square when I jumped out of the cab.

It was a summer of eating lunch (leftovers brought from home in a faded Ladurée bag; most of my paycheck goes towards rent, after all) in the heat of Bryant Park, enjoying people-watching and the chance to escape the chill of the office A/C.

And it was the thrill of seeing something as small as a quote you helped an editor find make it into the September issue—and feeling as though you had just landed a cover story.

Now that I am back in Chicago for a quick visit home before school starts up again, I miss New York more than I ever have. I miss my daily cinnamon-raisin bagel and café au lait from the coffee shop on Broome St. I miss picking out my work outfits each morning and having to factor in whatever chiffon dress was most resistant to the perpetual sweat of the Essex St. F/M platform.  I miss the rhythm of checking e-mail in the morning, of running errands around the city, of printing out updated layouts for the office walls, of watching an editor's simple idea grow to a final glossy page.
And of course, I will greatly miss weekly lunches with all the other ASME interns at the magazines that have always inspired me.
Magazines were, after all, one of my main inspirations for moving to the city, when I first subscribed to New York during my junior year of high school and subsequently determined that I needed to be in New York for college. Now, it is magazines that have finally made me feel a true part of this city.

I feel so incredibly lucky to have been a part of this program, but also so incredibly lucky that I am able to stay in the city that I love, and continue interning in magazines, for at least another year.

Thank you, ASME, for making me finally feel like a New Yorker.

Anna Williams
New York University

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