“Only in New York!” and Six Other New York Sayings That Are Completely False


New Yorkers love talking about New York. And why not? Despite the innumerable songs, poems, novels, plays, and movies that have been written about the city, there just don’t seem to be enough words to pin it down. Despite the limitless inspiration, the same tired old clichés about this town get tossed around like empty Greek coffee cups on a windy day. The worst part, though, is that these well-worn sayings aren’t even true most of the time. Don’t believe us? Let’s investigate.

“Only in New York!”

Rule of thumb: If you ever hear someone saying this, the thing they are referring to happens in any mid-to-large-sized metropolis every single day. A street performer strumming his guitar on the sidewalk? Only in New York! Two cabbies getting into an argument? Only in New York! A rude waiter? Only in New York!

We’ve done the science, and the one thing that could ever truly “only happen in New York” would be if a bodega cat pushed Alec Baldwin out of the way of a falling air conditioning unit while he was filming a Talk Stoop segment for Taxi TV.

“If You Can Make it Here, You Can Make it Anywhere”

Achieving prosperity in New York is undoubtedly difficult. There are 8 million people who are all willing to work the same long hours as you and live in similarly tiny apartments for the opportunity to get ahead. But if you think that success in New York automatically translates into success anywhere else, you might need to get out of the five boroughs for a bit.

Here is a list of successful New Yorkers who, if they lived anywhere else, would not only be less successful, but would also be lucky to last five minutes before the locals tied them up, placed them in the basket of a trebuchet, and launched them into the neighboring forests:

  • Mike Francesa
  • Donald Trump
  • Wendy Williams
  • Anthony Weiner
  • Andrea Peyser
  • Whoever wrote the jingle for the Dial 6 commercial

Frank Sinatra was a great singer, but he made a lousy logistician. (And husband.)

“Anything Can Happen in a New York Minute!”

Things that can’t happen in a New York Minute:

  • The arrival of the G Train
  • Your super repairing the heating
  • Getting a cab out of JFK
  • Moving to the front of the line at Shake Shack
  • Time Warner answering your call
  • Time Warner fixing your cable box
  • Time Warner doing anything


“The City So Nice, They Named It Twice”

False: That is Quebec City, Quebec. New York is the city they named twice as if I didn’t fucking hear you the first time, you stuttering idiot.

“The City that Never Sleeps”

I could explain this one for you, but I think your friend from college who did a semester in Berlin will do a better job. Take it away:

Okay, first of all, the clubs in Berlin don’t even open until 5 a.m. You literally have to sit on the curb all night eating kebab until the bouncer decides to open the door. We probably went to like 50 clubs a night, and each one had DJs that were so famous, you’ve never even heard of them in America–DJ Trans-Butt, DJ Farm Animal, DJ Osteoporosis–you name it, they were there. People don’t stop dancing until 9 p.m. three days afterward, which creates some overlap and confusion but no one cares because DJ Trans-Butt has just spun the set of his life.

Clubs close in New York? Wow, it’s been such a long time, I didn’t even remember that.

“New York is the Safest Big City in the Country”

Turn on a Ray Kelly or Mayor Bloomberg press conference and you are gauranteed to hear this refrain. Despite crime numbers actually going up, these two love to proclaim, “New York is the safest big city in the country*”

*Offer only valid in certain parts of Manhattan.

“New York City is the Capital of the World”

This one is debatable. Anyone who has ever been in New York speaks of that feeling, that overwhelming sense that you are standing at the gravitational center of modern civilization. Not only does all culture seem to be incubated on New York’s streets, but the city also stirs up all other cultures in this bright, loud, bustling centrifuge of art, music, news, technology, language, and life.

On the other hand, there are 1.3 billion people in China who would like you to get a damn clue.