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Go Local in New York City: Don’t Miss Out on the Real Character

Gabby: This is an All Ears English Podcast, Episode 132: “Go Local In New York City: Don’t Miss Out on the Real Character of the City.” [Instrumental]

Gabby: Welcome to the All Ears English Podcast, where you’ll finally get real, native English conversation with your hosts, Lindsay McMahon, the ‘English Adventurer’ and Gabby Wallace, the ‘Language Angel,’ from Boston, USA.

[Instrumental]

Gabby: Join us, Lindsay and Gabby, for the “Key to Connecting with Americans,” a three part event that helps you go deeper into real English conversation. You guys have told us that you want to feel confident and not awkward at your next professional event in English. So we’re here to help. We’re going to help you to avoid cultural mistakes you don’t know you’re making and give you practical phrases that we use every day in professional situations. So reserve your spot now at www.AllEarsEnglish.com/Key. That’s k-e-y. Join us for the live events on June 17th, 24th, and July 1st, or register before July 1st and you can still receive the recordings of each event. See you there.

[Instrumental]

Lindsay: In this episode, learn how to fall in love with New York City like a local.

[Instrumental]

Gabby: Hey, Lindsay. How’s it going?

Lindsay: Feeling good and you?

Gabby: I’m doing great. Thank you.

Lindsay: Yeah, so when was the last time you went to New York?

Gabby: The last time I went to New York was a – just about a week ago. (You know), it’s pretty close to Boston. It’s easy to take the bus in about 4 ½ hours or take a plane or a train, (uh), but it’s really not that far.

Lindsay: Yeah.

Gabby: So…

Lindsay: It’s not far.

Gabby: I go pretty often. When’s the last time you went?

Lindsay: So, I lived in New York for about four years, (uh), between 2006 and 2010…

Gabby: Nice.

Lindsay: …around that time. (Um), yeah, but I, I don’t go back very much. I go back…

Gabby: Okay.

Lindsay: …a couple of times a year to see good friends.

Gabby: Oh, excellent.

Lindsay: Yeah.

Gabby: That’s great. So, when you go to New York, do you go like a local, or do you go like a tourist?

Lindsay: Ah, once you go local, you can never go back.

Gabby: So true.

Lindsay: Can’t do it. How ‘bout (about) you?

Gabby: So true.

Lindsay: Do you try to get into the local scene?

Gabby: Definitely. Well, I’ll, I’ll say that sometimes I go to New York City with my friends who are going for the first time. (You know), maybe they’re international friends and they’ve never been in New York, but they – (you know), everybody wants to see New York City. Everybody has to cross that off their list for visiting the US. So, when I go with them, I (kind of) need to be a tourist, but, (um), I prefer going local. But we’re gonna (going to) talk about some, some things that show that you’re a tourist.

Lindsay: Sure, sure. And, and we’re gonna (going to) go through some stuff. We got some of these ideas from the Lonely Planet and Lonely Planet…

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: …is a great website, LonelyPlanet.com.

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: And we’re gonna (going to) put our own twist on this…

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: …because (um), we, we know New York a little bit.

Gabby: That’s right.

Lindsay: Right?

Gabby: So last week when I went to New York City, (um), a friend of mine wanted to walk through Times Square; he wanted to see that. And I said, “Okay, sure.” You have to see Time Square, right. (Um), walking around Times Square is one of those things that shows everyone that you’re a tourist.

Lindsay: Yeah, no. (I mean), absolutely. And I can say that in four years of living there, I think that I ended up at an event there once. So that’s…

Gabby: Wow.

Lindsay: …four years there just – so guys if you want to hang out where the locals are in terms of the night life scene…

Gabby: (Uh-huh).

Lindsay: …go to Union Square. That is the…

Gabby: Ooh.

Lindsay; …Time Square for locals, 14th Street.

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: Or go to West 4th, Greenwich Village, East Village.

Gabby: You’re giving away all the good spots.

Lindsay: Oh, man. We got to give it away.

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: Don’t go to Times Square.

Gabby: No. Times Square is good to see once and that’s enough in my opinion. I think, for me, it’s really tiring because there is (are) so many people. It’s like you have to elbow your way through the crowd so, it’s, it’s a little overwhelming.

Lindsay: Yeah, and if you must go, okay, then go, but walk…

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: …through it in a half an hour and…

Gabby: Take your time.

Lindsay: …eat, (um), (you know), eat in Midtown, or eat downtown.

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: Just get away from Times Square when it comes to eating.

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: Or drinking.

Gabby: Yeah. That’s right. (Um), and I think that a lot of people come to New York City, and they, they see Times Square and maybe go to some touristic destinations like the Statue of Liberty and that’s wonderful, but then they skip great places, like, (you know), Brooklyn or, (you know), the East Village.

Lindsay: Right.

Gabby: Maybe it looks a little scary, they’re not sure. Maybe it’s not in their guide book, (you know).

Lindsay: Yeah, the East Village is a little bit hipster-ish, (um), especially towards the Lower East Side, if you go further down. (Uh), and, but you can get a lot of great Japanese food there.

Gabby: Yum.

Lindsay: There’s some Japanese restaurants, some Izakaya’s down there. There’s some great Ramen down there. There’s (there are) some interesting (kind of) artsy stores, jewelry off the street. It’s fun.

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: It’s a young scene and it’s really fun. So the East Village around St. Mark’s Place, we would recommend.

Gabby: Great. And Brooklyn has some good character too. Lot of fun places. (I mean), if you’re looking to really get to know (kind of) the real New York, the local style, (um), get to know what’s trendy, what are people really doing in their day-to-day lives. You want to meet people who live in New York. These are the places that you want to go. Times Square is great, (you

know), take a picture, and, (you know), do the tourist thing, but you’re not going to meet locals.

Lindsay: Yeah, and don’t forget Queens. Do you guys know that Queens is – I’ve heard that this is…

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: …Queens is the most diverse county in the entire, what, world maybe.

Gabby: Wow.

Lindsay: It’s (in-) – So if you take the 7 Train from Midtown out to Queens…

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: …out to Flushing, you’re gonna (going to) see the most diverse group of people sitting next to you. And to me, that’s the magic of New York.

Gabby: Absolutely.

Lindsay: That’s why it’s – there seems to be a little bit less hostility between people from different cultures in New York because you’re rubbing elbows with people from different cultures every day…

Gabby: Absolutely.

Lindsay: …especially if you get on the 7 Train.

Gabby: It’s a great way to open up your mind and become more international and just go to New York. Isn’t that funny you can become more international by meeting the locals? So we talked a little bit about places in New York and, (you know), where to go if you want to be local, where to go if you want to be a tourist, but, (you know), there’s a few other things.

(Like), In New York City, (um), they have – well, how can I say. They, they have some garbage bags on the street.

Lindsay: (Uh-hm).

Gabby: Usually, (um), (you know), it, it might seem a little strange, because New York City is a wonderful place, it’s beautiful, but there’s still this thing with the, the garbage bags in the street. And my friend last week was shocked. He was like, “Why is there so much garbage on the street?” And he was pointing at it like, “Oh, what’s, what’s going on here? Oh, there’s rats. Oh…” (You know), it’s not to say that New York City is completely dirty, it’s not.

Lindsay: Actually, it is kind of dirty. I think it’s dirty.

Gabby: I’m trying to defend New York City here a little bit.

Lindsay: Well, that’s all right. Okay.

Gabby: But that’s one thing that will set you apart as a tourist. (You know), if you are…

Lindsay: Yeah, yeah.

Gabby: …showing that you’re really shocked…

Lindsay: Yeah.

Gabby: …at the garbage, right?

Lindsay: You just kind of get used to stepping over it…

Gabby: You get used to it. Yeah.

Lindsay: …walking through it. I remember, (uh), one year, I think it was – maybe it was 2009 or ‘10, there was a huge snowstorm and I went out with some friends. We ended up around Chinatown and there was just garbage everywhere.

Gabby: Ooh.

Lindsay: The city couldn’t come and clean up…

Gabby: Oh, my gosh.

Lindsay: …so days of garbage…

Gabby: Oh, my gosh.

Lindsay: …piling…

Gabby: Oh, my gosh.

Lindsay: …up around Chinatown.

Gabby: Oh, that’s awful.

Lindsay: Yeah, it’s…

Gabby: Wow!

Lindsay: …sometimes it’s just, it’s unbelievable. But it, it just is what it is.

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: And New York has its own character. To be honest, New York is gritty. People…

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: …don’t go to New York for a clean lifestyle. They go to…

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: …New York for the diversity, for the depth of character…

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: …the art, the music, the (peo-), the types of people that you meet…

Gabby: Absolutely.

Lindsay: …when you go out to an art opening on a Thursday night. It’s gonna (going to) be unbelievable.

Gabby: That’s right. What you mean by gritty is, it’s messy.

Lindsay: (Uh-hm).

Gabby: It’s real. It’s in your face.

Lindsay: It’s human.

Gabby: Yeah, that’s a great word. And speaking of words, there is a word you don’t want to use when you’re ordering food in New York City. Do not ask for a piece of pizza.

Lindsay: Yeah, you can, but, (you know), it’ll just set you apart as not being a local, right?

Gabby: Right.

Lindsay: So how would you actually say it?

Gabby: “Hey, give me a slice of pizza.”

Lindsay: Yeah, you even got the, the, the (uh), intonation there right. “I’ll take a slice, I’ll take a slice.” Gabby: Yes…

Lindsay: Exactly.

Gabby: …a slice of pizza. I don’t know why, it’s just a regional difference.

Lindsay: Yeah. And the last thing that’s interesting is – the funny thing is that New Yorkers – we’re gonna (going to) slam a little bit on New Yorkers here.

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: It’s okay. (You know), some of my friends are still down there, they don’t mind. They know it’s true.

Gabby: Right.

Lindsay: They often believe that New York is the center of the world.

Gabby: It is.

Lindsay: It, it is? Okay it is. I don’t know. I would argue against that. (Um), many people think that they don’t need to travel if they live in New York…

Gabby: Right.

Lindsay: …because they’ve grown up around cultures, as we just said.

Gabby: (Uh).

Lindsay: But I think you do need to travel.

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: I think that you could be exposed to different cultures, but you also might have a very warped sense of what the world really is like if you’re still in New York your whole life.

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: (Um), so the idea is that often talking about other parts of the country – they might talk down about other cities

Gabby: Right. Or not have the awareness of where different cities are I guess.

Lindsay: Yeah.

Gabby: But I think it’s like, (um), (you know), it, it – New York is obviously a major city just like other major cities, Sao Paulo, Tokyo, Paris, London. (I mean), those major cities are centers of the world. I don’t think there’s any one center of the world.

Lindsay: No.

Gabby: But we have centers where, (you know), thousands, millions of people are coming together right?

Lindsay: (Uh-hm).

Gabby: And (um), those are in a way, they’re hubs and, and they are (kind of) the center of the world for the people who live there.

Lindsay: Right.

Gabby: And people who don’t live there, who look to those cities for inspiration.

Lindsay: Exactly. So it’s really interesting when you talk to a New Yorker, you realize that they might often not have a plan to leave unless something compelling makes them leave…

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: …right? a job or studying or something like that. So showing any kind of geographical knowledge about the rest of the United States would set you apart as a tourist.

Gabby: Yeah, but – right. But New Yorkers are really proud of their city. And, (you now), we’re, we’re proud. We’re just – we’re, we’re happy to be so close to New York City.

Lindsay: New Yorkers are really proud.

Gabby: We hope you can visit. If you do let us know and, (uh), keep in mind these tips.

Lindsay: So, thanks.

[Instrumental]

Lindsay: If you wanna (want to) put your ears into English more often, be sure to subscribe to our podcast in iTunes on your computer or on your smartphone. Thanks so much for listening and see you next time.

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