Yes, all five Boroughs are part of New York City, but 'The City' is in Manhattan. But, Manhattan is not 'The City.' At least not all of it. If you live in The City, you live in New York City. If you live in the Boroughs, Westchester, Jersey, Connecticut or Pennsylvania, The City is a very distinct place and a very distinct destination, mainly upper, lower, and midtown Manhattan. If you move to Brooklyn or Queens, you do not live in New York City. You can't say 'I live Uptown' unless you live in Harlem or The Bronx. This will confuse us natives. If you live on E. 86th Street, you live in the City, not Uptown. If you refer to New York County, you must be in a court proceeding.
Harlem is NOT the City. Harlem is Harlem. Yes, it is in Manhattan, but it is most certainly not the City. However, if you live in Harlem, the City is not 'The City.' It is Downtown. Harlem is a distinct place and a distinct destination. If you live in the City, Harlem is not part of the City. It is Harlem. It is also 'Uptown' as in a destination, as well as a direction. Your letters will say New York, NY, but you do not live in New York, NY. You live in Harlem. If you refer to New York County, you must be in a court proceeding.
The Bronx is always 'THE Bronx.' It is not 'Bronx.' It is also 'Uptown' if you are old school and live in Harlem. If you live in The Bronx, the City is not 'The City.' Instead, it is 'Downtown.' Downtown is always the City if you live in the City, Harlem or The Bronx. If you refer to Bronx County, you must be in a court proceeding.
If you live in Queens, you live in whatever part of Queens you live in. You do not live in New York City. If you live in Astoria, Kew Gardens, Jamaica, or Ridgewood, or Long Island City, you live in those places. Your address will say Jamaica, NY or Bayside, NY or what have you. If you live in Far Rockaway, you live in Far Rockaway. You don't go 'Downtown' because you don't have one. Instead, you go to 'The City.' You wont need to point out you live in Queens, because that will be obvious by the reference to your village. If you refer to Queens County, you must be in a court proceeding.
You don't live 'in' Staten Island. You live 'on' it. In fact, you just live 'on the Island.' You do not live in New York City. Staten Island has a very peculiar and different culture and people from there can speak about it better than I can. I never go there, so I wouldn't know. But South Brooklyn people frequently refer to 'the Island' as the two areas are closely linked by culture. If you refer to Staten Island as Richmond County, you must be in a court proceeding.
I cannot stress this enough...if you live in Brooklyn, you live in Brooklyn!!! You absolutely under no circumstances live in New York City. If you live in Brooklyn, Downtown is DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN. It is never, ever, Downtown as in Downtown Manhattan. That is 'The City.' So when you say 'I'm going Downtown' everyone from Brooklyn will assume you mean Borough Hall, not City Hall.
Second, Brooklyn is always Brooklyn. If you call Brooklyn Kings County, you must be in a court proceeding. Yes, Brooklyn is a Borough of Kings, for sure. But nobody lives, in casual conversation, in Kings County. You live in Brooklyn.
Third, within Brooklyn, it is very important to represent your neighborhood to the fullest. If you are from Brooklyn, we will want to know immediately 'what part.' In Brooklyn the neighborhood, hell even the block, is the center of your universe. Everything you do should be done in Brooklyn as much as possible, preferably not far from your neighborhood. So if you move here and live in Crown Heights, for example, you would not tell a fellow Brooklynite you live 'here' if you're standing in Park Slope. You live in Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Cobble Hill or Bushwick. Note that this is distinct from where you are 'from.' So take me: I live in Bed-Stuy but im not 'from' Bed-Stuy. I'm from Flatbush. You may rep both, but you are not allowed to rep places outside of Brooklyn if you move there. You may rep any hood in Brookyn where you live and the hood where you are from, especially if they are one and the same. You may also rep your hood if you are not from Brooklyn but now live here. That's allowed.