Why Don’t New Yorkers Eat?

Forgive the sweeping generalization, New Yorkers, but why don’t you eat? Why are your refrigerators empty? I genuinely want to know.

Now, when I say “New Yorkers”, I’m referring to those of you in New York City. I’m also a New Yorker, but I live upstate. I love our great state of New York, and New York City is truly one of a kind.

Every time I think of visiting New York City, I immediately get very excited at the thought of the great city, its energy, and all of the magnificent things to do and see. Then the dread of visiting my friends and family living there sets in: I know I will starve in their apartments.

For years, each time I’ve gone to visit, no one I know has had any food in their refrigerators. There is no offer of food or drink, and there is no effort to buy food or drink for the special occasion of someone visiting their home.

So I wonder: are New Yorkers super humans who require less food than the rest of us, are they too broke to afford food, or is it just too hard to carry bags of food into walk-up apartments and even ones with elevators?

I recently decided to take a weekend trip to the city so I could see my nephew. I knew the risk of starvation, but I did it anyway. The day before my trip I baked a dozen apple cinnamon muffins that would both serve to feed me as well as provide a polite gift to share with my hosts upon arrival. My hosts would be presented with the muffins under the guise of “Look, I baked you some muffins because I thought you’d like them!”, but I knew I’d be shoving them down my throat in the bathroom.

I packed my small cooler bag with muffins, bananas, apples, and a container of nuts so I could sustain not only my health but also my energy until my hosts decided it was time for me to eat. And this leads me to a second point on New Yorkers not eating…

How can New Yorkers not have their first meal, let alone their first bite of food, until 1 or 2 in the afternoon? If you get up at noon, then yes, this makes sense. But if you are up at 7AM how can your body be fueled enough to even carry you in an upright position to a restaurant 6-7 hours later?

During my 2-day visit, I was offered exactly 2 times a piece of fruit and ice cream at random, odd, late hours, which I inhaled to try to show them that if a guest accepts the offering it’s because they probably really wanted it. But on both days, my hosts didn’t even attempt to bring up the first meal of the day until noon. No, we wouldn’t be eating upon the mention – it was actually more of a forewarning that we would really be leaving by 1 or 2 to get to said meal.

When my hosts went into the bathroom, or took a break to change their baby, I dove into my bag, and down went at least 2 muffins. By the time they got back, I was on to my piece of fruit. As I ate my own food, and they saw me eating my own food, I couldn’t help but wonder what they thought of me bringing my own food. Did they think I was weird for bringing my own food to their home, or for being so hungry like a non-New Yorker? And, more importantly, didn’t they stop to think that maybe they had failed as hosts on some level?

I’ve often wondered if it was “just me”, but, alas, I am not the only one to have experienced this food issue while in New York. One of my best friends has told me for years that whenever she and her husband visit their friends in New York City, they have learned to pack loads of food. She told me they scarf down their energy bars in the mornings on their air mattress or while in the bathroom as their hosts just sip on coffee until late afternoon. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard her exasperatedly say to me, “They just don’t eat!”

I realize that everyone has a different take on being a host and there is no formula for being a great one. But please, please, I beg you please, for those of you in the world who ever plan on having a guest in your home ever in your life, at the very least, please keep a loaf of bread in your freezer and some peanut butter and jelly in the cupboards just in case. You may keep a future guest from starving to death.

Categories: Advice, Memoirs | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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