"I think most people know exactly what 'New York values' are... the values in New York City are socially liberal, are pro-abortion, are pro-gay-marriage, focused around money and the media."
- Ted Cruz
'New York Values,' What could that mean? I think in some ways, Ted Cruz is right, New York has distinct values. I’d say every corner of the country has different values. But Ted Cruz is wrong that these values discount someone from being president.
As a native of the Bronx who has spent 83% of my life living in the 5 boroughs, I have some thoughts on what these values actually are:
If anything explains NYC values, it’s that we consider our time very, very valuable. Like if I am at a bodega grabbing a pack of gum I want this interaction to be as speedy as possible. If the clerk wants to talk about the weather and hold me and the other customers up an extra 30 seconds that is rude. Like really, really rude. And if you visit New York and decide to talk to a store clerk for a minute about the weather, you aren’t being nice, you are being rude. I know where you come from small talk is courteous and indifferent silence is rude. But we all think our time is important, please don’t waste it.
On that note, we also don’t say hi to people we walk past on the street like you might do in your hometown. Not only is it a time-waste, but if we said hi to everyone we walked past, we’d look like a crazy person. Or at least in my case reveal that I am a crazy person, and I usually only reveal that on a need-to-know basis.
So while we may seem outwardly rude, we aren’t. We actually are really, really generous and helpful. Next time you visit NYC and take the subway, pull out a map and see what happens. Because if I’m on your train car I’ll walk up to ya and offer to give you directions and navigate you to your destination. I’m not the only one. My grandma does it (I love you Bubby). And multiple other people on cars do it too. I’ve gotten into turf-wars before with other New Yorkers over who gets to give tourists subway directions. I might not be able to change my own oil, replace a tire, or pump gas without an attendant–but I can direct you to MSG in 6 different ways and recommend a slice of pizza you’ll pass for each route.
We also don’t live our lives with a default smile. Rushing everywhere and overvaluing the worth of our own time does that to you I guess. So if we do smile, you really did something right. There is a reason Moon Hooch is so popular, and that’s because when your first hundred gigs are busking at the platform of the Bedford L Station and you have dozens of New Yorkers crowding around you, dancing and smiling, you know you can put a smile on everybody’s face. Even Dr. Ben Carson. As you know, when we say everybody, the doctor with gifted hands is one of everybody.
We also are pretty accepting. America might be a nation of immigrants, but NYC is truly a city of immigrants. We don’t care what you look like, what your native language was, what your comfort food is. All we care about is that you respect how valuable our time is and don’t say hi to us on the sidewalk.
Outside of that, and despite what Ted Cruz says, I don’t think we really have other values. There is no monolithic New York value on abortion. No universal New York value about gay marriage. Not one about chasing money (look at all the non-profits centered here despite the insane rents).
And not even one about pizza! I say this because while some New Yorkers claim to enjoy Artichoke Pizza, I consider their slices to be a greater abomination to the pizza medium than the delicious casseroles sold in Chicago via deceptive naming practices.
So Ted Cruz, please stop insinuating that New Yorkers aren’t conservative enough to be Republicans. I mean look at Alan Greenspan, or Henry Kissinger, or the Koch Brothers or my friend Evan from college who has taught me a thing or two about the values of private enterprise.
I think New York values are pretty nice. I think Texas values are pretty nice. And Ted, I bet the values of your birthplace, Calgary, are pretty darn nice too!
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