How to Speak in 1938 New York

Posted on: November 22nd, 2010 at 11:02 am by

Thanks to Boogie reader Shawn Chittle for passing along this link to the 1938 Almanac for New Yorkers [PDF].  In the wake of Friday’s post on Bowery slang, it seems rather appropriate to highlight the section on deciphering various city dialects (“In a Manner of Speaking”). Buckle in, this one will have you laughing!

So here it is, how to speak proper New York City English, circa 1938 (pp. 114 – 115):

Braykidup, braykidup: Policeman’s suggestion to any group of loiterers.

Wazzitooyuh? Delicate rebuff to an excessively curious questioner.

Wannamayksumpnuvvit? Invitation to a brawl.

Tsagayg: Sophisticated expression of polite incredulity.

Wattitcha? To a gentleman with facial contusions or (colloq.) a shiner.

Oppkar-goynop: One third of the vocabulary necessary to operate an elevator.

Donkar-goyndon: Another third of the vocabulary necessary to elevator operators.

Ollowayback-Jayzagate: The remaining third.

Takadiway: “Please remove it from sight immediately.”

Domebeeztoopid: Expressing specific disagreement, with undertones of disparagement.

Statnylant: The place on the horizon where good ferries go.

Whuzzup? Request for information, any information.

Waddadajintzdoodisaft? “Did the New York National League baseball team win today, I hope?” (Except in Brooklyn)

Ladderide: Warning not to pursue the subject further.

Hootoadjuh? “Please give the source of your information.”

Whyntchalookeryagoyn? Rhetorical expression of relief used (by motorists esp.) after a near-collision.

Filladuppigen: To a sympathetic bartender. Eventually elicits the response ….

Yoovadanuffbud: From the same sympathetic bartender.

Duhshuh-ul: An underground railway connecting Times Square and Grand Central Terminal.

Domeblokadoor : An usher, or guard, in full cry.

Sowaddyasaybabe or Hozzabotutbabe: Prelude to romance.

Steptiddyrearidybuspleez: Bus driver’s request whenever two or three passengers are gathered together.

Nyesplayshagottere: On first looking into a friend’s apartment.

Welyecut: Antiphonal response for host and hostess.

Saddy: Last day of the week.

Sumpmscroowie: A note of suspicion.

Plennyaseatsnabalkny: Optimism outside a motion picture theater; not entirely trustworthy.

Scramltoowisydafrench: a short-order is given.

Onnafyah: A short-order is being prepared.

Wahgoozidoo? Cynical dejection.

Assawayigoze: Philosophical interjection for conversational lulls.

Recent Stories

Those Iconic Village Voice News Boxes Disappeared from the Streets

The Village Voice news boxes have seemingly disappeared from the city streets. So swift was the apparent removal, you may not have even noticed. The disappearance comes roughly two months after the weekly publication announced that its print edition would cease to exist. Indeed, the final physical issue ran on September 20, with Bob Dylan […]

‘RISE Coffee’ Unveils New Takeout Window at Dudley’s on Orchard Street

Nearly two years after its streetside debut beside the A. Turen boutique, RISE Coffee is expanding. The company just colonized a new takeout window south of the Delancey Divide. RISE Coffee, particularly the nitro cold brew, is now available from the window of Dudley’s Deli at 85 Orchard Street. Twin boards now flank the spot, […]

La Caverna on Rivington Street Proposes Expansion into 3-Level Nightclub

La Caverna on Rivington Street is eyeing an expansion on Rivington Street that would create a multilevel compound. The large office space at 124 Rivington Street – operational headquarters for the Bluecore e-commerce business since April 2015 – has been up for grabs for more than a year. For much of that time, the landlord […]

Revived ‘Lam Zhou’ Dumpling Mecca Opens on the Bowery

Chinatown dumpling darling Lam Zhou reopened this past Wednesday, returning to the ranks of the living with a much larger footprint. New headquarters is now at 40 Bowery, with a sign proclaiming that menu and ownership remains the same. The upgrade still preserves that no-frills setup, yet on a grander scale. Its long and narrow […]

10-Story ODA Condos Amidst Ascent on Chrystie Street

Ten stories of additional upper-crust glitz is on its way for the Chrystie Street midsection… Indeed, the ODA-designed condo at 165 Chrystie Street started its ascent last month, and is progressing upward quite quickly. As of now, the structure is sitting at over six stories. This sudden burst in activity follows more than a year […]