The tall, handsome dude Malia Obama was kicking it with in NYC is ... in the immortal words of Biz Markie ... just a friend.

TMZ has learned his name is Rob Franklin ... he and Malia met at a Men's Fashion Week event in NYC. He graduated from Stanford a couple years ago, and now has a media gig in the Big Apple.

We're told Rob's circle of friends are well aware he's been hanging out with Malia, but everyone's heard the same thing ... it's strictly platonic.