Sometime over the course of a person’s first year in New York, there usually comes that moment. It can happen in the first days or weeks, or after 10 months. It can happen repeatedly, or without people noticing, at least not at first.Newcomers Adjust, Eventually, to New York (New York Times, 27 August 2008)
Newcomers suddenly realize either that the city is not working for them or that they are inexorably becoming part of it, or both. They find themselves walking and talking faster.
The subway begins to make sense. Patience is whittled away; sarcasm often ensues. New friends are made, routines established, and city life begins to feel like second nature. In other words, newcomers find themselves becoming New Yorkers.
“It can be lonely, very lonely, and I knew I would find it hard,” said Lisa Phin, 25, who moved to New York from Dallas in late May, and is building a network of friends through events listed on Web sites like Meetup.com. “But if you can stick it out for one year, you’re home free.”
Well, maybe. As of Labor Day 2008, I will have been a full-time resident of NYC for 12 years.
I developed the love-hate relationship with the City almost immediately ("...suddenly realize either that the city is not working for them or that they are inexorably becoming part of it, or both...") but I didn't really self-identify as a New Yorker for maybe a year and a half. (I was impatient and sarcastic long before I moved here, so that particular diagnostic doesn't work for me.)
I have seen *much* quicker transitions, though, and not necessarily from people who are moving here from other large cities.
Basically, you're a New Yorker the moment that you self-identify as being one, and that's conceptually one of my favorite things about the city I now think of as my hometown.