I’m a Long Island girl.
Born and raised.
Over the years, I have seen many “You know you’re from Long Island when…” lists circling the Internet, but there was never one with which I could completely relate.
So I picked “some from here” and “some from there,” added a bunch of others and now I have a list that can provide my children with the lowdown on the “516” and the “631.” Plus, I can look back on this list and reminisce about my time growing up here when I move to Florida or North Carolina (isn’t that where all Long Islanders eventually end up?).
I was born in the 70’s and grew up on the south shore of Long Island in Nassau County. I don’t expect everyone reading this to agree with all that I included, but it’s safe to assume some of these will make you smile and say, “I remember that!” That being said, here is my “You know you’re from Long Island when…”
First of all, the way [some of us] TAWK (myself included)
- “Lawn-Guy-Land” is a perfectly acceptable pronunciation.
- We can say and spell Hauppauge, Massapequa, Bohemia, Copiague, Wantagh, Shinnecock, and Patchogue without a problem. And, we know where they are.
- We live ON Long Island, not IN Long Island. Got it?
- We use the word “like” too much, like in every sentence.
- You wouldn’t be caught dead saying “wicked cool,” but you most certainly described things as “mint.” You probably still do on occasion.
- I do not have an accent. “Wannna go to the mawl to go shoppin? Maybe grab a cawfee?” OK, yes, I do have an accent, but I’m cool with that.
The way we travel
- Your annual family vacation was at The Ronjo in Montauk – complete with photos in front of the landmark totem pole.
- You live just miles away from the undisputed greatest city in the world but rarely go there.
- But when you do, you don’t go to Manhattan…you go to “The City.”
- You never want to “change at Jamaica.”
- Drinking a 16 oz. beer from a brown paper bag is perfectly acceptable on the LIRR.
- Missing the 2:32 a.m. train home is a major buzz kill.
- Meet you at Field 4 or Field 6. Just bring the Sun-In, baby oil and a boom box. Don’t forget your mix-tapes.
- Make sure to bring some cash for frozen treats from the “Ice Cream Guy” carrying a styrofoam cooler chanting “Frozen Fruit Bars, Frozen Milky Ways and Chipwiches.”
- You still call the Jones Beach water tower, “The Pencil.”
- Rain or shine, the best concerts you have ever been to were at Jones Beach…even if they weren’t that good.
The way we eat
- You knew Father’s Day would include a “Fudgy the Whale” ice-cream cake.
- Let’s get a few things straight: a meatball hero is not a hoagie or a sub; they are sprinkles, not jimmies; and it’s “soda,” not “pop.”
- No, I do not want mustard on my burger. (What’s that all about?)
- Best hangover breakfast: bacon, egg, and cheese, salt, pepper, ketchup on a roll. And a large deli iced tea. The sweeter, the better.
- There is at least one diner, two 7-11s, three bagel shops, four delis and five pizzerias in every town.
- Speaking of pizza…I am a pizza snob. Dominos? No thank you.
- When I order a large “pie,” it has nothing to do with apple, cherry or blueberry.
- When I do order a “pie” filled with fruit, I think nothing of paying $20 for one at Briermere Farm. Totally worth the price, and the drive.
- You will never taste better bagels than the ones on Long Island. Never. Ever. Not even up for discussion.
- Want eggs, fries with gravy, a bacon cheeseburger deluxe, a gyro or pancakes at 3 a.m.? There is a diner about five minutes from wherever you are. And whatever you order, it will be the best you ever had. Every. Single. Time.
The early years
- The best birthday parties you had (up until the age of seven) were at McDonalds — the one that had the talking tree.
- You remember being able to drop popcorn on the floor at the Ground Round and having soft-serve ice cream in mini baseball helmets for dessert.
- You loved going to Adventureland, even though it was totally lame. (Your kids love it too.)
- You went sleigh riding at Bethpage State Park Golf Course.
- Roller skating at United Skates and Levittown Roller Rink was awesome.
- “Young Peoples Day Camp” commercials made it look like the coolest way to spend your summer, but you never got to go. (Want to laugh? Check out the commercials on YouTube…you won’t believe you ever wanted to go.)
- I know my grandparents brought me to the Farmers Market, and I know I loved going, but I can’t remember anything about it except sawdust and pickles.
- Dodgeball was the highlight of gym class.
- You had school trips to Old Bethpage Restoration Village, the Bronx Zoo and The Vanderbilt Planetarium.
- Wardrobe items: Flannel shirts, Doc Martins, Samba soccer sneakers (whether you played or not), Umbros, lots of neon and/or at least one pair of Z. Cavaricci.
- You could never have too many “scrunchies” and always had a spare one on your wrist.
- We had over-the-top Sweet 16 parties….way before MTV’s reality show “My Super Sweet 16.”
- You “cruised” Deer Park Avenue and “The Pike” on Friday nights.
- You either worked at McDonalds or Carvel, delivered the Penny Saver and/or were a “newspaper boy.”
- You went to Great Adventure the day after the prom.
- You cannot believe the stuff you got away with when you were younger and vow to never, ever, allow your children to even think about trying any of it.
- Lacrosse trumped all other high school sports, though you are not sure why.
Speaking of sports
- You are a Mets/Jets/Islanders fan OR a Yankees/Giants/Rangers fan. While there are exceptions to this unspoken rule, be prepared to defend your choices if they stray from the pattern.
- Every time you went there, you complained about how outdated Nassau Coliseum was but are beyond disappointed that it closed.
- On principle alone, you will not go to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn to watch the Islanders play.
21 and up (or just use your older cousin’s ID)
- The night before Thanksgiving was THE NIGHT to go out. The possibilities were endless: Rosebuds, New York Avenue, Mulcahy’s, Chevy’s, Napper Tandy’s, Lily Flanagans, Heart Bounds, etc. Don’t forget OBI, SPIT and Malibu.
- You rented a house in “The Hamptons” with 25 friends and slept on the floor after long days and nights at The Boardy Barn, Canoe Place Inn, Neptunes, and the Beach Bar.
- Sallie Mae will be the college “friend” that never let’s go of your relationship.
As an adult
- You complain tirelessly about the taxes, the traffic and the commute to work, but have no plans of moving off Long Island until you retire (if at all). And, you could never imagine living in place where the beach was further than 15 minutes away.
- When you watch house-hunting shows on HGTV and young couples complain that “these counters aren’t granite,” “this on-suite isn’t big enough” or “there’s no bonus room” …. you want to reach through the television and choke them.
- You probably still live in the town where you grew up. So do your siblings. And your parents.
Let’s go shopping
- The first time you went to Utopia, you felt both cool and nervous walking in.
- There are at least four nails salons in your town. “Quick Dry…$1 Extra.”
- When you go to the supermarket, you use a “cart” not a “carriage.”
- You buy “cold cuts” at the deli counter, not “lunch meat.” And, you’ll pay extra for Boar’s Head.
- RIP: Pergaments, Sterns, A & S, BusyBee Flea Market, Rickels and Caldor.
- You remember Walt Whitman Mall when you didn’t feel the need to wear a ballgown to shop there.
The Piano Man
- You know someone who knows Billy Joel.
- You know all of the words to every Billy Joel song.
- You’ve seen Billy Joel in concert multiple times and probably will see him play again.
- You hope Billy Joel’s “residence” at MSG never ends.
Photo source: The Madison Square Garden Company
A Few Other Things…
- You probably got your first “ink” at Tattoo Lou’s.
- You listened to Z100, WPLJ, WBAB, WBLI or WDRE. You showed your radio station loyalty with a bumper sticker on your first car.
- The first hurricane you remember is Hurricane Gloria. Hurricane Irene was bad and not having power for days was terrible. But neither compared to Hurricane Sandy and you know way too many people devastated by the storm.
- You remember the “giant discounts for little people…but no talking orangutans” Coronet commercials.
- The best part about Cablevision is News 12.
- You will happily watch the Macy*s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Rockefeller Center tree lighting, and the ball drop in Times Square on New Year’s Eve on television, but you will not go to the city to watch any of them live. OK, you did once, but “never again.”
- If you say “The Big Duck,” I know what you mean.
- “The Belt” is always a nightmare – you know, expect and accept that you will be sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
- HEY JACKA$$ – THERE ARE NO TRUCKS ON THE PARKWAYS.
- We have some of the best colleges and universities in the nation on our island, but you insisted on going away to school someplace far away and really, really cold.
- You’ve seen Dee Snider (from Twisted Sister) at Dunkin Donuts.
And by the way…
…No, I don’t know Amy Fisher. Or Billy Crystal. Or the Long Island Medium.
Photo courtesy: discoverlongisland.com