I grew up in New York City. The first six years of my life were spent in Queens, home of my beloved Mets, and then my family moved in with my grandma in Brooklyn where we’ve lived ever since.

Before I came to Georgetown, I didn’t know anyone who lived outside the Tri-state area. I never considered what life was like in the rest of America. I basically pictured the rest of the country as a bunch of mini-New Yorks, a perception that was only bolstered by television.

The main show I blame is “Friends.” Not only is it one of the greatest shows ever, but it also defined how I viewed my city, especially as a child who didn’t get into Manhattan much. Six friends with awesome jobs ran around the city, fell in love and sent my family into hysterics on a nightly basis. “Friends” became a cultural phenomenon. It made life in New York seem perfect, a utopia of comedy and sex, where the world is a subway ride away.

Another show I loved was “The Nanny,” about a woman from Queens who became a nanny for a posh British family in Manhattan. Because of “The Nanny,” I defined culture clash as what happens when a loud Jewish girl lives with a WASP-y Broadway producer. I never realized that other cities aren’t full of Jewish people and theater isn’t necessarily a thriving part of their culture.

Then there’s my family’s absolute favorite, “Law and Order.” New York was probably the most consistent character during the show’s tenure, and the city’s diversity — from Holocaust survivors toguidos and stock brokers — allowed the show to stay creative for a long time. But how could anyone understand this show without living in a place just like it?

At the tender age of 18, I started college and began to learn about places that aren’t New York, places where it’s normal to get bagels from a grocery store and where no one knows what a diner is or that they’re run exclusively by Greek people. The subway isn’t filled with people reading newspapers in five different languages because most places don’t have a subway or that many immigrants. In my opinion, these features make my city more awesome than others, but I had never imagined what it would have been like to grow up in Minnesota, Kentucky or Ontario until I made friends from those places.

I couldn’t help but think about my city last week during my Alternative Spring Break trip to New Orleans. New Orleans is not New York. There are few hipsters, vegetarian food is hard to find and no one has a basement. But one day we were sitting around eating pizza, and I said that while it wasn’t New York pizza, it wasn’t too bad. One of the leaders on my trip, a New Orleans native, said, “It’s not trying to be New York pizza.”

This was a significant comment. The pizza wasn’t trying to emulate New York, and neither was the city of New Orleans. Some people wouldn’t actually want to live in New York City, even if I think that’s absurd. They’d rather eat mediocre bagels and enjoy “Southern hospitality.” And that’s OK with me — there are already enough people on the Q train.

Victoria Edel is a sophomore in the College. GIRL MEETS WORLD appears every other Friday in the guide.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*