How to win an argument with somebody from New York

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Three months ago, I moved to New York City. Two months and 29 days ago, I got in my first argument with a New Yorker. I’m told that may be a record. Now, to be fair, it was my fault—I had had the audacity to cross when he was at a stop sign, unaware of the New York tradition that the right-of-way goes to whoever the fuck’s driving the 4,000-pound death machine.

However, because I was so fresh-faced in the city that never sleeps (or, apparently, admits they’re wrong), I was basically bulldozed and spent the next two showers imagining all the ways I could have schooled that asshole in the art of skilled debate. I’ve picked up some tricks since then, so next time you get caught in an argument with these guys, here’s what you do.

Dare that asshole to get out of the car

Most arguments are gonna come on the road. New Yorkers are mostly lovely people until they get behind the wheel of a car, all of which are presumably possessed by the spirit of Dustin Hoffman’s Ratso. Half of the drivers in the city aren’t even going anywhere; they’re just trolling up and down 7th looking for somebody to yell at.

And they’ll find you. You’ll say something innocuous like, “Nice stop, bro,” after that Buick almost clips you trying to roll through the stop sign as you cross Manhattan Ave. Then it’s on.

First, they’re going to call you a cocksucker. It’s meant to be an insult. It’s not much of one, and let’s be real, it might even be true, but humor them. They need this. They’ll shake their high-vis-clad fist out the window and as you continue to walk away, they’ll shout out “I’ll sock you right in the fuckin’ face.”

Here’s where you win. Stop, look at them, and say, “No, you won’t.” Then, continue walking.

There are two ways this can end. They might drive off, squealing their wheels and huffing their way back home, in which case, congratulations! You’ve won the argument. Alternatively, they may get out of the car and follow through by beating your ass two ways from Tuesday. However, if you’re running into the kind of guy who will leave their running car in the middle of the street so they can kick your ass, then you’re probably in the worst parts of town, and you never know, maybe an even bigger asshole will steal this guy’s car while he’s occupied, in which case, congratulations, you’ve sort of won the argument again.

Or you’ve just run into the NYPD, in which case, you were never going to win that argument to begin with.

Get the hell out of there

Besides right outside my bedroom window at 2 AM every goddamn morning for some reason, most fights take place in the subway. I dunno, there’s something about being forced into close proximity to literally thousands of other sweaty people blowing their noses right in your neck that seems to set hotheads off.

Maybe you accidentally walked through Showtime’s act and they’ve decided you’ve ruined their routine. Maybe you’ve made the cardinal sin of making eye contact—or, God forbid, filmed them—without the intention of giving them that $20 you know they saw as you were putting away your Metro Card. Maybe that guy casually sipping vodka from a paper bag at 10 in the morning on the 5 has a lot of thoughts on immigrants that he wants to share, and you look just swarthy enough to draw his ire.

Sorry guy, I wish I had some tips for you, but there’s no such thing as winning that argument. Get the hell out of there. Retreat. It’s fight or flight, and on a crowded train car the other party sure as hell doesn’t plan on leaving, you can tell what’s gonna come next. Nothing good happens when you try to engage. You may get the soul slapped out of you. You could even be pushed on the tracks by the guy you’ve just told to stop pissing on the stairs.

There’s no shame in a strategic car jump. You can walk to work and tell your coworkers what happened, and rest assured, it’s happened to them too. You’ll blather on for a bit about how annoying the subway can be, and it’ll be out of your mind for good. And that’s a bit like winning in my book.

God help us when the MTA decides to add articulating trains to their lines. There will be no escape from Showtime.

Try to confuse them with faulty directions

When you can’t run and you can’t hide, you’ll have to talk your way out. This can be daunting at first—New Yorkers love to talk a mile a minute about nothing in particular, so don’t worry if you get a little confused. It’s a trick. If they can trip up your words, then you’ve already lost, and they can saunter down on their way, confident that if they have enough of these small victories each day, they can return to their $3000, 400 square foot apartment assured that for all the missed rent and shattered dreams, they’re at least doing better than somebody else.

It’s the quintessential New Yorker attitude: you want to see people (your friends, at least, succeed), but you don’t want to see them do better than you. If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere, but not everybody’s gonna make it here.

One way New Yorkers like to validate themselves as New Yorkers is by knowing how to get around. It’s the ultimate contradiction: for as much as New Yorkers hate tourists, clogging up the sidewalks with their clumsy maps and stupid crocs, they walk a little slower past them, hoping they’ll be asked how to get to the World Trade Center from here just so they can be as helpful as possible, thus leaving the tourists in a better place while feeling even more superior.

So when you really need to put a New Yorker in their place, just confuse them. Confidently give your directions, thus correcting them, and assure them that your route will get you there far faster. It doesn’t need to be true. It probably won’t be. These New Yorkers know their shit. But if you can plant that seed of doubt, it’s going to stick with your argument partner until they can get home and verify with Google Maps that you were wrong. And by then, you’ll be long gone. Mission accomplished.

And hey, if that doesn’t work, you can always just insult their neighborhood pizza place and run away.

Fight Your NY Citation in Court

The process for contesting your NY traffic ticket in court could consist of the following steps:

  • Pre-trial conference.
  • Trial before a judge.

BEFORE heading to court, consider hiring a New York traffic ticket attorney. Should you opt to represent yourself, you'll be expected to properly follow procedures of NY traffic court.

The court in charge of your case may appoint you counsel if:

  • Your violations could result in imprisonment.
  • You can prove indigence and the lack of financial means to hire representation of your own.

If you're not sure if your circumstances warrant hiring a lawyer, check out our page on when to hire a traffic ticket attorney for guidance.

Did you know, pleading guilty to your traffic charges could raise your car insurance rates? So, BEFORE agreeing to a pre-trial settlement, make sure you know exactly how traffic violations can affect your auto insurance.

Pre-trial Conference

At your pre-trial conference, you (or your attorney) will meet with the New York state prosecutor to try and negotiate a settlement. Accepting a settlement usually requires:

  • Changing your plea to guilty.
  • Reduced penalties for your charges.

If you can settle, you won't have to go to trial. However, if a settlement can't be agreed upon, the NY traffic court will assign you a date and time to return and plead your case before a judge.

Trial Before a NY Judge

When you go to trial before a New York judge, generally you can expect the following:

  • Both the state prosecutor and you (or your lawyer) make opening arguments.
  • Each side has the opportunity to present:
    • Evidence.
    • Witnesses.
  • Rebuttals and cross-examinations of witnesses.
  • Closing arguments from both sides.
  • Judge's verdict.
    • If you're found guilty, the judge will then announce your sentence.

The 10 questions Cuomo must answer: Goodwin

During his sorry/not sorry press conference last week, Gov. Cuomo made a sudden detour to throw mud at Mayor de Blasio. Answering a question about his ability to do his job, the governor veered off course to say the city is “teetering” because of rising crime and homelessness.

“We have to get New York City functional again and safe again and viable again — and we have to do that quickly,” Cuomo said.

To some, the attack was gratuitous and off topic. Cuomo is fighting for survival and stops to slap a sparring partner. Why bother?

The answer becomes more obvious each day. The heart of Cuomo’s defense against growing calls for his resignation is that New Yorkers should be careful what they wish for, lest the whole state end up in turmoil like the city’s.

It was his way of saying, Après moi, le déluge. After me, the flood.

For many New Yorkers, that argument has been a powerful one, and it is not incidental that those leading the charge for Cuomo to be impeached or resign are mostly Republicans or far-left Democrats.

Their attacks fit neatly into the argument Cuomo made for years, including in 2018, when he won a third term with nearly 60 percent of the vote. Like Goldilocks’ favorite porridge, he has positioned himself in the broad center, neither too hot nor too cold.

The strategy now faces its most severe test. The easily understood scandals are mushrooming, and few politicians have had such a rapid descent into danger.

Yet a master of the blame game who fancies himself political royalty, Cuomo is not even being honest with himself about his predicament. His claim to be indispensable reflects the hubris that put him in peril in the first place.

See also

‘Liar!’: Gov. Cuomo targeted yet again with another highway billboard

The accusations — propositioning female assistants, lying to the public, lying to legislators and the Justice Department — are all part of a pattern. So are the diktats about opening and closing businesses, as if there is “science” behind the difference of closing restaurants at 10 p.m. instead of 11.

But defy him and you’re out of business. Criticize him and his goons will leak your private personnel file or he’ll call you and vow to destroy you.

As for the grieving families of the 15,000 nursing-home dead, let them eat cake. Don’t they know who he is?

It all worked — until it didn’t. There’s no putting the pieces back together again, with Cuomo’s odds of surviving until the next election declining. Last week was an absolute disaster for him.

With sexual harassment allegations and the COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is facing calls to resign his office. Paul Martinka

Indeed, Friday was extraordinary in that major developments in the two main scandals erupted simultaneously on the state’s front pages.

In the city, where Cuomo got 84 percent of the vote in 2018, The Post and the Daily News led with excerpts of Charlotte Bennett’s interview with CBS News. The governor’s former aide dropped more bombshells from the meeting in his office where Cuomo allegedly propositioned her to have sex.

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times featured articles alleging that Cuomo’s office altered a July Health Department report on nursing homes to hide the number of patients who died after becoming infected with the coronavirus in the facilities.

Both topics are the focus of serious investigations, and either one could drive Cuomo from office and land him in legal jeopardy. That they are both reaching the boiling point illustrate how he is caught in traps of his own making.

Although only impeachment and conviction by the Legislature can force him out, resignation is no longer inconceivable. If public support reaches a point of no return, Cuomo could face his Richard Nixon moment: quit or be impeached.

After all, lawmakers fear something more than Cuomo’s wrath: losing an election. If somebody has to leave office, they’ll try to make sure it’s him.

The feedback loop is not his friend. As each new bit of misconduct is revealed, more legislators turn against him. Resulting headlines then lead more New Yorkers to turn on him in disgust.

See also

Andrew Cuomo allegedly talked to accuser about ‘never giving up power’

Cuomo has made two stabs at apologizing, one in writing, one at his press conference. Both bombed, making his situation even more precarious.

The renewed focus on nursing-home deaths is long overdue, given that The Post first wrote in April about the March 25th order that forced the homes to take infected patients being discharged from hospitals. The order prohibited the homes from even asking if the patients tested positive, was issued without warning and took effect immediately — at the behest of hospital executives who are among Cuomo’s top donors.

As the deaths mounted, his first response was to look for scapegoats, blaming The Post, Donald Trump, God and federal guidelines. He also secretly changed how the state counted the dead, assigning them to nursing homes only if patients died there.

Through the spring and into summer, as other media also focused on the March order as a cause of so many deaths, Cuomo’s team created a shoddy report declaring that nursing-home workers brought the disease into the homes. That report, which McKinsey & Co. shamefully helped to prepare, underscored his desperation to hide the truth while writing his lucrative book on leadership and preening for his celebrity Emmy friends.

In effect, Cuomo tried to cover up the truth about his lethal policy decision with two lies. Now that they are exposed, he has no hiding place.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo with aide Melissa DeRosa during a press conference in 2020. Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo via AP

And so the misleading report has, like nearly all the governor’s recent efforts, backfired spectacularly. Beyond public outrage, his lies to the Justice Department could bolster the case for criminal charges in the probe by Brooklyn federal prosecutors.

It remains possible, of course, that Cuomo will retain enough support to survive in the short term and that neither investigation will lead to charges. In which case, he might still be able to win a fourth term in 2022.

But as things stand now, don’t bet on it.

The power of experience

Further experiments found that stories were most associated with increased respect when the experiences were relevant, harm-based and personal. People respected opponents most when they'd been through something themselves, followed by when they shared the experience of a friend or family member, and they were least impressed when someone based an argument on a stranger's anecdote or story they'd read about.

Then, the researchers explored the idea that perhaps some people's experiences seemed more trustworthy than others. First, they asked 508 participants to read fact- or experience-based arguments from people who agreed and disagreed with them on guns. The results showed that people doubted political facts presented by their opponents far more than facts presented by someone they agreed with. There was not nearly as large of a gap in doubt, however, between experiences presented by opponents and experiences presented by someone on the participant's side.

Ultimately, people can always come up with a way to doubt or discount facts, Gray said, but personal experiences are harder to argue away.

"It's just so hard to doubt when someone tells you, 'Look, this terrible thing happened to me,'" he said.

The researchers also tested whether people would discount certain life experiences more than others. Given that the experiences of people of color and women are often downplayed, they investigated whether participants would be dismissive of the experiences of a Black woman who disagreed with them on gun control. Again, personal experiences beat out facts for increasing respect for the opponent. In another study, researchers compared how people responded to views on immigration from a scientist. In that study, personal experiences again garnered the most respect, followed by scientific research. Facts cited by a layperson were deemed least worthy of respect.

Personal experiences have fueled recent movements, such as Black Lives Matter and the #MeToo movement, Gray said. Even if personal experience does not ultimately lead to persuasion, respectful discussion is an important underpinning of democracy, he said.

"I don’t want this to sound like you shouldn't be able to condemn people's views," Gray said. "[But] you can still have respect for someone as a human being and appreciate the roots of their views, and you at least need to know what those views are."

Originally published on Live Science.

How to Win a Debate With a Bully

Joe Biden should simply name what is true and what most Americans intuit about the president: He is a terribly broken man.

That’s a line Joe Biden has used several times during his run against Donald Trump, and he said it again recently in talking about the first presidential debate.

“I hope I don’t take the bait, because he’s going to say awful things about me, my family, et cetera,” Biden said at a virtual fundraiser. “I hope I don’t get baited into getting into a brawl with this guy, because that’s the only place he’s comfortable.” Biden expects to be able to keep his cool because, he said, “I’m used to dealing with bullies.”

The challenge for Biden isn’t simply that he’ll be facing a bully on the debate stage in Cleveland on Tuesday, it’s that he’ll be facing a man who is shameless and without conscience, a shatterer of norms and boundaries, a liar of epic proportions, a conspiracy-monger who inhabits an alternate reality. President Donald Trump operates outside any normal parameters.

If one is not used to dealing with someone like that, it can be utterly disorienting. Just ask the 2016 GOP primary field, or Hillary Clinton.

“We were on a small stage,” Clinton said about her second debate with Trump, “and no matter where I walked, he followed me closely, staring at me, making faces. It was incredibly uncomfortable. He was literally breathing down my neck. My skin crawled.”

Watch the video: Live: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Holds Coronavirus Briefing. NBC News


  1. Shermarke

    the Shining thought

  2. Lycurgus

    I'm sure this is not true.

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