Is Clinton, Sanders, Or Trump The Real New Yorker, On A Scale Of Times Square To Pizza Rat?
On Tuesday, New Yorkers will finally get the chance to cast a vote for the candidates they want to see take over the Oval Office in 2017. The state is vital for both parties, as Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Donald Trump all have deep ties there — and to New York City more specifically. Each have tirelessly tried to prove just how "New York" they are ahead of the election. To get to the bottom of this, I decided to analyze which presidential candidate is more of a New Yorker, on a scale from Times Square to pizza rat.
Everyone and their mother knows that Times Square exists. Tourists flock to the overly-bright site all year round, and New Yorkers avoid it at all costs. If you ask a real New Yorker to meet up anywhere near Times Square, or anywhere that requires walking through the suffocating crowds, your request will be met with exaggerated groans and alternate options far, far away from 42nd Street. Pizza rat, on the other hand, represents authentic New York — the grimy yet adorable rodent is largely only known by locals. Pizza is a separate food group for New Yorkers; we know where to get the best slice, and we love the city despite its somewhat disgusting aspects.
So how do Clinton, Sanders, and Trump measure up on a New Yorker index of Times Square to pizza rat?
Clinton: Chicago Pizza Squirrel
Clinton may seem like less of a New Yorker because she isn't actually from the city, but she bought a house in Chappaqua, New York before running for Senate, and has been based out of the state ever since. The Clinton Foundation is in Manhattan, and her campaign HQ is in Downtown Brooklyn. Although she obviously can't walk around the city like a normal person, Clinton really tries to fit in when she's in town, even going so far as taking the subway.
Sure, she had a little trouble getting through the turnstile, but every New Yorker has seen the mocking words "Please swipe again" pop up, often multiple times in a row. Every time she speaks about her time serving New York, the former secretary of state mentions the Sept. 11 attacks, applauding first responders and explaining how she helped the city recoup, which is a very New York thing to do.
Though she desperately wants to be a New Yorker, Clinton will never be able to reach the same New Yorker status as someone born and bred in the five boroughs. Because of this, I'm ranking her as the Chicago pizza squirrel — very similar to the New York pizza rat, but slightly off.
Sanders: Retired Pizza Rat
Sanders has a leg up on his opponents purely because he grew up in Flatbush, Brooklyn, living like a true New Yorker in a working-class neighborhood. His relocation to Vermont diminishes his ties to the city, although his thick Brooklyn accent has persisted throughout the years, forever linking him to his home. He also had a subway snafu recently, telling The New York Daily News that he rode the train about a year ago, aging himself by guessing that you still get on with a token. The mix-up really proves how authentic of a New Yorker he is — he just isn't a modern New Yorker. When he's in the city, he doesn't exactly hit up hidden neighborhood spots, but tries to eat the local cuisine, and isn't too proud to eat a Coney Island hot dog.
I've concluded that Sanders is not a current-day pizza rat, but an older pizza rat who has since retired, and wasn't famous because he reigned before cellphones were a thing. While in Brooklyn, Sanders had the most authentic New York experience; it was just a long time ago.
Trump: Trump Tower
While Trump is arguably the most New York of the bunch because he grew up in Queens and still lives in the city, he's never lived like a real New Yorker. Jamaica Estates, his neighborhood in Queens, is a wealthy enclave in the otherwise diverse northeastern borough. He currently lives in a penthouse in Trump Tower decorated in mostly gold, gets around the city in private cars, and eats at fancy restaurants. Even when he attempts to eat "normal" New York food, like pizza, he uses a knife and fork. A real New Yorker will pick up a slice without pause, maybe even folding it in half for bigger bites.
Because of this, his own Trump Tower is actually the perfect category for the billionaire. Yes, it's in Manhattan, but New Yorkers don't actually visit — much like Times Square. It's nicer (and cleaner) than Times Square, though, and while some tourists visited before he ran for president, it wasn't a must-see attraction. Just like the candidate, Trump Tower is technically a part of New York, but doesn't represent the rest of the city.
Tuesday's results will determine which quasi-New-Yorker wins the hearts of voters, and which are rejected by their own people.