Did you know there is a big, huge beautiful state beyond New York City? Everywhere I go, when people ask where I am from, I respond with New York. From that moment on they look at me funny and make silly little comments about the city. I guess they don’t realize how much larger New York really is.
I will never forget the first time, as an adult, I heard an acknowledgement of where I come from. At nineteen years old, I decided to move to Virginia with a friend. After just one day of searching for a job, I was hired at this fancy restaurant as a waitress. Just as you would expect, me being the new girl, I was bombarded with questions about my former life. When they came about to the question, “Where are you from” I of course, answered New York, without thinking.
This one girl looks at me and said “Wow, this must seem like a backward small town to you”. I just looked at her stupefied and responded with “No, this is actually closer to a city than I have ever lived in” and left it at that, needless to say, I didn’t work there long and there were no friendships with any of these girls. I was shocked to see that my parents were right, when they said “No one cares about the state, it’s all about the city”. You see, I grew up in a small town, population eleven hundred, right here in New York State.
Now, as a full grown woman, married with children, my husband and I attempt to take our daughters on vacation each year to somewhere we have not visited. Almost everywhere we go, we are greeted with the same response. We visited North Carolina last spring and while visiting a local establishment with my cousin, my husband attempted to start a conversation with an older man at the bar, as soon as the man asked where he was from, my husband of course, responded New York, and the man said “Well, I guess this ain’t what you’re used to then, is it” and got up and moved to the other end of the bar. My husband was appalled at the man’s behavior.
Did they not pay attention in History class? The Capitol of New York State is Albany, way up in the middle of the state! What about the Buffalo Bills? They come from the most western part of the state, over six hours from New York City! We hosted the Winter Olympics in 1980 all the way up in Lake Placid, over four hours north of NYC, has that been forgotten about as well?
Pay attention people, there is so much more to this big beautiful state than our largest city! I am a New Yorker, but I am not from New York City!