What television gets wrong about New York


I grew up watching a lot of television and it shaped in some way my view of the world. I thought it was larger and filled with peopel that got along. Yeah, I also grew up in the South Bronx and knew better. I was lucky to grow up in New York, as in my eyes, it is the best city on earth.   I say this having lived in 17 cities thus far in my life. Do I see New York with rose-colored glasses? You bet I do.  I am grateful for having grown up in  New York. I am also grateful for having lived in so many places that I could have informed opinions and exposure to vastly different people.  With all that said, television definitely depicts New York in very unrealistic ways that may give others a false sense of what New York is.


  1. New York is not the crime-ridden city that it is often depicted to be.  Violent crime in New York City has been dropping since the mid-1990s and, as of 2015, is lower than the national average for big cities.   The other thing to take into account, there are so many stores and businesses open all night that if you should be followed (or imagine that you are being followed) you can always run into a store for safety.  In that sense, I always felt that New York was safer than cities such as Berkeley or Atlanta. There is always someone around.
  2. New Yorkers are nice and will help you out. We just have to do it in a hurry.
  3. Our apartments are actually tiny. There is no way possible you can be a waitress at a coffee place and live in an apartment that is over 1,000 square feet in New York.  The television show Friends got that completely wrong.
  4. There really isn’t a New York accent. I can’t tell you the numebr of times I have had to clarify that.  Sure, there are people with accents in New York. Isn’t that the case everywhere?
  5. We aren’t always brunching. Have you seen the number of pizza joints in New York? We love our $1 pizza slices. And that stereotype is true by the way: we have the best pizza. We don’t all live the Sex and City lifestyle of Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha.
  6. There certainly are outdoor places to enjoy in New York. Many like to say there is no green space in New York. Besides Central Park, there are many small playgrounds throughout the city. We have several Botanical Gardens. The west side of Manhattan has a huge bit of greenery that spans miles.
  7. Not everything costs an arm and a leg in New York.  As I already noted there is $1 pizza. There are also $7.99 meals in little India. Many museums let you in by donation. I used to donate a dime to get into the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  There are also stores like Macy’s and Century 21 in which you can shop for sales galore. I have actually been shocked to see how expensive Macy’s can be in other parts of the country. The Macy’s in Herald Square has rack upon rack of sales as they have to move their inventory much more quickly.

6 replies »

  1. I think as natives of a place it is part of our duty to show the pros and cons against the stereotypes. I will show my very Nigerian mom this post; she feels the day she ever steps into New York, she will die 🙂 All from watching TV.


  2. I contend that there is usually at least a grain of truth in stereotypes. Perhaps the truest stereotype about NYC, then, is that the pace of life is faster there than anywhere else one could think of. People I meet for the first time have sometimes asked me if I’m from New York since, especially if/when I’m nervous, I talk so fast.


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