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.
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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
Brides

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