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

Uncapped: Beneath the Paint with the Legendary AUDIE U5

This latest installment of Uncapped is more than a year in the making, and we are stoked to have Audie U5 join us. BOWERY BOOGIE: Audie U5. Welcome to the series. Instead of the cherished and/or default “what do you write?” how about, why do you write “Audie?” Audie U5: Always Undeniably Dope In Everything!  Nah, […]

Man Jumped to His Death from Ludlow Street Rooftop

A man jumped to his death from a Lower East Side tenement rooftop Wednesday night. The unidentified man, believed to be in his twenties, took the plunge from atop 175 Ludlow Street at about 11:45pm. The suicide victim reportedly lived alone in a studio apartment there, according to a report in the Daily News. An […]

Here’s a Map Showing How the Lower East Side Voted in the City Council Election Last Week

With more than a week having elapsed since the general election, the above map plots the results of the City Council District 1 race. It was a heated campaign that saw incumbent Margaret Chin fighting for her life against the upstart Christopher Marte. Chin defeated Marte by nearly 3,000 votes to secure a third term […]

Cafe Henrie Shutters on Forsyth Street After 2 Years

Cafe Henrie, the artsy eatery founded by nightlife maven (and street artist) Andre Saraiva on Forsyth Street, closed earlier this week. Thus capping two years on the block. All elements of the establishment are gone, replaced with token brown paper in the windows. In retrospect, the writing was on the wall back in the summertime […]

What’s it Like Living or Working in Hell Square? [SURVEY]

What’s it like to live and work in Hell Square? That’s the question behind the second phase of the Hunter College graduate program study that analyzed public health and safety risk of liquor density on the Lower East Side. No, this isn’t a farce. It’s a legit effort to figure out a way to make […]