'Millennials Of New York' Parody Skewers Millennial Stereotypes, Plus 4 Other 'Humans of New York' Parodies That Will Get You Through The Day
Let's be real, you guys. We all love Humans of New York. But doesn't mean we can't also love the various parody accounts popping up which poke fun at the original — because if Millennials of New York is wrong, we don't want to be right. It was bound to happen: You take a concept seemingly too simple to be revolutionary — snap a picture of a person roaming the streets of Manhattan, or Brooklyn, or some other NYC borough, and post it online with an oftentimes poignantly bleak quote from said person — and create a social phenomenon, like Brandon Stanton accomplished with Humans of New York; and after it achieves widespread success, it's only only a matter of time before some wisenheimer decides to emulate that phenomenon by way of our country's cultural milieu: Parody.
Part of what makes Humans of New York so brilliant is the way in which it holds a mirror up to society. Do we like what we see? The people we scurry past hurriedly — eyes averted, gaze low, a million distractions running through our minds — are people, too, and some of them are lonely. Some of them have had their hearts broken. Some of them say they feel like they are broken. On Sept. 12, HONY posted a simple picture of an arm draped artfully across of a park bench. "The first time I tried to kill myself was when I was twelve years old," the caption read. "It just didn't feel like I had a space in the world." Such is the eye-opening stuff Stanton's photoblog is made of.
Sometimes, though, a girl just needs to get through her morning cup o' coffee minus the double shot of existential crisis. That's where Millennials of New York comes in: A HONY parody born of twenty-something cofounders Alec MacDonald and Connor Toole's self-deprecating satirization of the selfie generation. Humor writers from Elite Daily, MacDonald and Toole brought the snarky site to life in May and have since amassed more than 100k Facebook followers who hang on their every hipster-ripping word.
Millennials of New York offers a glimpse into the life of entitled young urbanites, and the resulting snapshots are hilarious. "This is my favorite shirt. I love Buddhism," captions the most recent post of a perky brunette in a Nirvana tank, a paper bag of organic goods from Trader Joe's on one arm and Whole Foods on the other.
Much of the photoblog's appeal relies on the standard Millennial stereotypes — we're lazy; we're spoiled; we're comically self-involved; we sustain ourselves with a steady diet of instant gratification and Snapchat. To that end, MONY is gobbled up by Gen X'ers, who revel in ribbing Gen Y'ers. In equal measure, though, the reason for the photoblog's duende is that we all know at least one person with a few of the attributes of MONY's Millennials. Or, better yet, we are one of those people. Because while Millennials have largely been reduced to witty generalities, the reality is that many of those preconceived notions only paint one part of the picture. They are watered down versions of the truth: Yes, Millennials are doing things differently, but what the stereotypes miss is that we aren't doing it just to spite everyone else. Millennials are just doing things differently. Period. You can go your own way, after all. (Thanks for that, Fleetwood Mac).
But I digress. Millennials of New York isn't the only HONY parody that has popped up recently. Some of them are pure comedy; some are sharply satirical; but all are entirely entertaining. So if you're looking or a lighter way to while away your lunch break, look no further, my friends. Here are four other HONY parodies that will save you.
1. Felines of New York
As if we needed any further proof, the spot-on Felines of New York Tumblr makes it abundantly clear — cats really run the world. Styled like an abbreviated version of HONY, this clever Tumblr account features interchangeable snapshots of felines in various stages of daily alacrity alongside quotes charmingly hyperbolic quotes like, "Both my parents were feral and now I live inside. I think that's all they wanted, they wanted me to have it better. To know the feel of carpet, and to shit in a box." Well played, FONY. Well played.
2. Orcs of New York
Calling all Tolkien fans! Are you sitting down? Maybe you should sit down, 'cause we've got some pretty epic news to share with you: There exists, in a hallowed plane of the internet, a Facebook page devoted to the daily ongoings of... orcs. Yes, I said orcs. Geek out as you may; I'll turn my head. So, drawing from HONY, nerdy-genius-slash-actor-slash-filmmaker Harry Aspinwall started the Orcs of New York parody page in a moment of spontaneity to "show orcs in their own words," he told HuffPost. Here, you'll see the softer side of these much maligned Lord of the Rings villains, like that lunk up top who's just learning to swipe right, and this beleauguered big guy, who is super pumped summer break is over.
3. Dogs of New York
There are two kinds of people in this world: dog people and cat people. If you're on the former, like me, you want to mosey on over to Dogs of New York post-haste for your daily dose of doggie cuteness. Less sarcastic and more sweet, this parody account was created by animal rights activist Kim Wolf to underscore the special bond between dogs and their humans. Naturally, drawing inspiration from HONY, the canine-human couplings live in New York.
But be forewarned! Like its original people-oriented counterpart, Dogs of New York can get you right in the feels. Case in point? A recent string of posts about a Brooklyn man named Paul and his black lab mix, Linda. "My father died last week. I am so sad. So sad. But I still have Linda. Right, Lou Lou? I still have Linda. That's what I'm going to think about."
4. Lizard People of New York
Here's a fun little tidbit for you. Did you know that 12 million Americans believe Lizard People are real? And not just hiding idly in a forest somewhere, like Sasquatch. Rather, these Illuminati-like beings have infiltrated the very fabric of society, exercising their influence everywhere from the Supreme Court to Wall Street. Which, perhaps, is why Binghamton economics major Jeremy Kaplowitz stumbled upon a stroke of genius when he created the Lizard People of New York parody page. Although Kaplowitz doesn't believe in lizard people — or "reptilians" — his site plays on the popular theory that these creatures secretly rule the world. Peruse picture after picture of lizard people (don't be fooled by their clever humanish appearance) in their natural habitats and find out what's really irking them.
Have fun falling down that rabbit, er, lizard hole.
Image: Sky Noir/Flickr