The Popular New York City Stereotypes That Just Aren’t True

Contrary to many New York Stereotypes, the city does sleep, there is nature, it can be difficult to get around, and there is bad food.

By Brian Scheid | Published

new york city

This topic has always fascinated me because I have experienced these stereotypical views in my travels, and it has always astounded me how those stereotypes misrepresent residents of New York City. My credentials are that I was born and raised in Manhattan on the lower east side of New York City. In the years after I left the city to go to college, I resided in many different cities and states. When people learn that I grew up in New York City, they are fascinated by the fact. They would often not have guessed that I was born and raised in New York because I don’t fit the image of a New Yorker they have seen in movies or TV. Here are some stereotypes about living in New York City that are not based on any factual evidence I have observed.

Anyone who says New York is easy to get around because of the expansive public transportation network has never been trapped in a subway car stuck between stations for more than 45 minutes before. It can be one of the more frustrating experiences when you have an obligation at a specific time, and you are stuck with no other options to get moving toward your destination. This also happens while waiting for a train to arrive on a station’s platform for an hour. However, in that situation, you can lose money for that fare and opt for a bus to get to where you are going.

People have asked me before what it was like to grow up in a concrete jungle and did I even know what a tree looked like as a child. New York City has more than 1,700 parks of varying sizes containing nature, from squirrels to flowers, to deer and, yes, trees. The largest park in Pelham Bay Park encompasses 3,000 acres of land. The most notable, Central Park, is only the fifth largest public park in the city but does take up a vast portion of the most lucrative real estate in the world. The city has plenty of nature, even though your home doesn’t have a white picket fence or a backyard.

New York City is labeled as the city that never sleeps and where everything is available at your beck and call at any hour of the day. I don’t know what part of the city they are referring to, but in my neighborhood, we all went to sleep every night. If anything, Las Vegas should be the city that never sleeps because everything is still open, whether at 5 pm or 5 am.

According to, “That’s not true for every area, but it’s certainly a myth that the entire city is open for business 24/7.” I challenge you to try and find a restaurant open after 11 pm that isn’t a diner. New York City bars do stay open two hours later than bars in most other states, but they do close and do not reopen until a specified time by law.

The idea that New York City food is excellent no matter where you eat is a common misnomer and couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, there are some of the best places to eat any ethnicity of food in the world, but for one of those incredibly tasty eateries, three are just awful at producing a quality food product. You always want to research where you are going to eat if you want to taste the best the city has to offer because if you don’t, it can be an absolute nightmare experience.

I would say most of the stereotypes that New York City is labeled with are inaccurate and based on someone’s erroneous opinion. These are some of the bigger misconceptions about New Yorkers and the city they inhabit, but they are not even close to an all-encompassing review of the topic. You could easily publish a dissertation on the subject, but I will leave that to the scholars who tackle this broad topic.