There's Some Hope This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

March 4, 2012
I’ve lived in New York City all my life. I was born at Mt. Sinai on 100 St. and 5th. I originally lived downtown in a loft in a very classic New York art studio equipped with a daunting Warhol-esq spiriling stair case. Now I live in two stories worth of a brownstone on the upper west side. Oh and I’m Jewish. How could I not be? And not only Jewish, but half Latino as well. I live the melting pot theorem. I’m the prototypical New York teenager, which means I despise that title. My favorite places in the city are completely oblivious to any tourist and I’ve spent more money on public transportation than on bootleg Rolex watches. I have never been to the statue of liberty or the empire state building, but I’ve been to grays papaya on 72nd and Broadway probably 500 times. I’ve never called New York the big apple, the city that never sleeps, Gotham City, the Empire City, or any other crappy epithet. I call it The City. This all makes me pretty much an enormous authority on New York.

One night in January, a few of my friends and I were coming home after a party. This was a night or so after one of the many massive snowstorms to hit the city this year, so a cocktail of powdery snow, ice, and polluted slush blanketed the sidewalks. We had to walk only five blocks to the bus stop to hop on the m79, but obviously those five blocks turned into a militarized zone. Teenagers ducked and threw like their lives depended on it. Essentially, we were being disruptive, crazy, disrespectful, privileged city kids. No one hates this concept more than I, despite the fact that my hypocrisy tends to sway me, usually in the direction of fun.

I’m sure, in the eyes of the m79 bus driver, we were just how I described us. Annoying little kids who have no comprehension of what life is truly like. We entered the bus in a classic pseudo-comical fashion. Yelling and screaming, we felt like we controlled that bus, which gave the riders and the driver every reason to despise us. But that night, something incredible happened. Something, which in a city like ours, with people like ours, and amongst the cynicism, should be impossible. The funny thing about this action, is how simple and morally correct it SHOULD seem. Simply put I, being the irresponsible, lazy teenager I am, forgot my wallet on the bus and was lucky enough to have the bus driver find it and give it back to me the next day. Now this act might seem expected or even mandatory in various places outside of the city, like Utah or something, but to any New Yorker this seems preposterous. It’s baffling and stunning that a New York City public bus driver had the decency to check the bus at the end of the day, open my wallet, identify the JCC card as the link to my identification, obtain my home number, and then set up a meeting to return my wallet. What makes matters shameful, is that my inclination was to believe there was some sort of catch. Either the bus driver would kid nap me, or all the money would be missing or he would hold a ransom. Anything basically, except for pure kindness. I was wrong.

The very next night I received my wallet back at the same stop I had gotten of at the night prior and none of the contents of my wallet had shifted. I truly could not believe it. I was bred to assume the worst out of everyone because, well, New Yorkers are jerks by nature. I just assumed this was common knowledge and not to mess with the system. The problem with this was that I could not understand that there was no “system”. Yes it’s true the cruelty of the city breeds cruelty; that makes sense. I’ve come to believe that while most New Yorkers act in a brutish way, they’re not all cold on the inside. However corny this may be, there are nuggets of warmth that exist in members of our community which melt away their tough New Yorker exterior, like the slush on the streets that night. So, there is some hope for us wall street/thug bastards.

In the end, what I learned from this experience and I hope everyone who reads this (if anyone actually does) learns, is that the unexpected outcome of this story is what makes it the classic New York tale. Because in the end, every New Yorker is just a whiny, self-obsessed, hypocritical, snobbish, pig-headed, narcissist, rude, oblivious, loud, cynical son of a b****. And we love our persona to death. We love it so much, we have to hide how much we truly care for our fellow man. And this love, in some of us at least, is legitimate, regardless of how much negative feedback it generates. That false bravado everyone in the City wears, like knockoff $3 Raybans, is pretty thin and occasionally our true side seeps out, like what happened to my friend the bus driver. I guess I caught him in an awkward moment without his façade raging. What an idiot, he’s going to blow it for the rest of us.

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This article has 6 comments. Post your own now!

PhSkar said...
Feb. 22, 2014 at 4:40 pm
I live in Memphis where Southern Hospitality is so common that it gets annoying at times. I've visited New York in the past and always wish that I could make my stays more permanent because, to be honest, I'm getting quite sick of the South and its slow, boring ways. Your article, though, while continuing to fascinate me with your city, makes me appreciative of where I have grown up and the people I have met here. Thanks for your enlightening perspective.
HaileySanden This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 26, 2013 at 1:18 am
ambnyc This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 27, 2012 at 11:19 pm

Great little piece! I was born at Mt. Sinai and raised in NYC as well (still livin' here). I identify 100% with every word you've written, actually! Once I left my purse in a store and I remembered it 2 days later, and they'd actually kept it and gave it back without taking anything. I was absolutely amazed.

You're a great writer. Witty last line there.

AndresLuis This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 28, 2012 at 1:07 pm

wow thank you so much, I really appreciate it. As a new yorker, the fact that you can identify with what I've written gives me great satisfaction.

Thanks for reading. 

Viva_la_Revolution This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 6, 2012 at 6:13 pm
I find your ability to be an observer of human social practices to be quite impressive.  You're able to take an honest look at some of the absurd mannerisms we form to be "socially acceptable" without simply beating down what is popular.
Andres V. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Mar. 6, 2012 at 6:42 pm
Thank you very much, i appreciate it.
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