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- New York City is one of the most well known cities in the entire world.
- I was born and raised in Manhattan, and I’ve heard some pretty interesting questions about the city throughout the years.
- Here are some of the most common tropes and misconceptions people have about New York — and why they’re dead wrong.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Being born and raised in New York City means that no matter where you travel to, when the question comes up about where you’re from, people will be in amazement.
From Munich to Tel Aviv, I’m inevitably bombarded with a million questions. Even though New York is one of the most populous cities in the world, no one can seem to believe that someone actually grew up there.
As someone who was born in the mid-1980s and grew up in the 1990s, I noticed this fascination with my city was, back in the day, oftentimes coupled with questions about safety. Around the world, New York City has a reputation of being a big, bad, dangerous city — there are countless songs and movies to that effect.
While some of that may have been true historically, the reality is that New York City is very different from how other people imagine it.
It turns out that people in the US and abroad often have the wrong idea about the Big Apple on many counts, including the local culture, the people, the food, and the cost of living. There are a ton of things that people get wrong about New York, for better and for worse.
Here’s a look at the most glaring misconceptions people have about New York.
New York City is Manhattan
Often, when people talk about "New York City," they’re really just talking about Manhattan. But New York City comprises five boroughs, each with its own distinct subcultures.
In fact, Manhattanites actually make up the minority of the city’s population — only 1.6 million of the roughly 8.6 million New Yorkers hail from Manhattan. The outer boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens both have higher populations than Manhattan, at 2.6 million and 2.3 million, respectively.
New Yorkers are rude
New Yorkers have a reputation for being rude and abrasive. But in reality, New Yorkers are quick to lend a helping hand to a stranger.
For example, even though I’ve lived here for over three decades, there are still times I get out of the subway unable to separate North from South or East from West. I can’t think of any time in all those years when I’ve asked someone for assistance and they haven’t stopped to help me out.
That said, while they’re not rude or cold, New Yorkers don’t tend to go above and beyond. If asked, they will help, but they might not go out of their way without prompting.
It’s extremely dangerous
Associated Press/Seth Wenig
I’m certainly not saying you can’t get mugged or assaulted in New York City — it can happen anywhere. But things have drastically changed in the last couple of decades. I might not have been alive during the peak New York mafia era, but even comparing now to the 1990s, there has been a massive downward shift in crime rates.
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