All too often, I hear these words floating around Rose Hill. And every time, it makes me cringe.
You see, as residents of the Bronx, we are the city. The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and, yes, even Staten Island together make up the five boroughs of New York City.
Don’t get me wrong; I love Manhattan. I just hate the subtle linguistic bashing of the other four boroughs held within the phrase “the city.”
Referring to a trip to Manhattan as “going into the city” buys into what Jen Carlson, deputy editor at Gothamist, has called “the soft bigotry of Manhattan exceptionalism.”
According to the latest data from the US Census Bureau, less than 20 percent of New Yorkers live on the island of Manhattan. The boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens both eclipse Manhattan in terms of population, and Manhattan only barely edges out the Bronx.
Manhattan isn’t even the most ethnically diverse borough among the five. That distinction goes to Queens.
Manhattan is also by far the smallest borough in terms of land area. The Bronx is the next smallest, and even it is nearly twice as large as Manhattan.
Furthermore, did you know that Central Park is only the fifth largest park in New York City? The Bronx has two parks (Pelham Bay Park and Van Cortland Park) larger than Manhattan’s largest park. In fact, each borough, excluding Brooklyn, has at least one park larger than Central Park.
I’m sure some nay-sayers will argue that saying “the city” is simply more convenient. Instead of saying you’re going to “the city,” say you’re going downtown. (Bonus: “The city” is three syllables, but downtown is only two.)
Presumably, you came to Fordham to be in New York City. Not near it, but in it.
Every moment that you spend at Fordham — whether it’s lounging on Eddie’s, grabbing a bite on Arthur Avenue or even sleeping in your dorm room — is a moment spent in New York City.
When you refer to Manhattan as “the city,” the inherent suggestion is that you somehow don’t live in New York City as an “outer-borough” resident.
All five of New York City’s boroughs together make up the Big Apple. Manhattan is just one tourist-filled slice of that apple.
I beg of you: Next time you make the trek into Manhattan, don’t say you’re going “into the city.”
Say you’re going “downtown,” “south” or “into the depths of hell” (note: this phrase only applies if you are headed into Times Square or the 42nd Street area). Embrace your status as a Bronxite — and as a New Yorker.
Canton Winer is a columnist for The Fordham Ram.
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