Words Native to New York City

Posted on: April 25th, 2011 at 6:28 am by

Back in November, we published an article about the oft-overlooked, yet no less significant, contributions of the Bowery to our collective lexicon. The infamous Bowery Boys (nay, B’hoys) of the nineteenth century pioneered a unique way of slang-speak that is still quite prevalent in today’s discourse. Words and phrases like chum, pal, or going on a bender, were all birthed on our beloved thoroughfare long before the luxury.

This image has been archived or removed.

Which brings us to this little item that cire_e unearthed over on Nonetheless. Apparently there’s a Dictionary of American Regional English (and Wikipedia) mapping out geographical dialects, and the New York City-specific vocabulary section is rather extensive. Herewith, a sampling of words and phrases native to the city:

  • Kill – a small river or strait, in the name of specific watercourses; e.g. Beaver Kill, Fresh Kills, Kill Van Kull, Arthur Kill (from Dutch)
  • Scallion – spring onion
  • Stoop – a small porch or steps in front of a building, originally from Dutch
  • Rent Party – a party concept whereby tenants hire entertainment to raise money for rent.  The idea originated in Harlem during the Jazz age of the 1920s.  The word Boogie was sometimes used as a noun to describe such parties.
  • Catty corner – on an angle to a corner
  • Dungarees (archaic) – jeans
  • Egg cream – a mixture of cold milk, chocolate syrup, and seltzer
  • Hero – submarine sandwich
  • Potsy – hopscotch
  • Punchball – a baseball-like game suitable for smaller areas, in which a fist substitutes for the bat and a “spaldeen” is the ball

What are some of your favorites?

And speaking of native to New Yawk…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMjwiP29cg4

Recent Stories

Report: LES Man Sold $16K of Drugs to Undercover Cop in Union Square Stores

A Lower East Side man was arraigned yesterday on charges of selling cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl in the chain eateries around Union Square. Anthony Morales, 49, is accused of peddling upwards of $16,000 worth of drugs to an undercover cop at Chipotle, McDonald’s, Au Bon Pain, and Food Emporium. He’s charged with criminal sale of […]

Cup & Saucer Reboot Renamed ‘Two Bridge’s Diner’

The Cup & Saucer reboot on Canal Street recently changed its identity. It’s no longer the Greek Shack; instead taking on the location-specific name of Two Bridge’s Diner. (The grammatical error – should be plural – is memorialized on the awning and menus.) John Vasilopoulos, who lost the Cup & Saucer exactly two years ago, […]

DOT Pitches New Delancey Street Safety Upgrades (Again)

It’s back to the drawing board. The city will present yet another plan to improve safety along Delancey Street, one of the more dangerous thoroughfares in the Five Boroughs. Goal of this $22.7 million project is to “transform Delancey Street primarily through safety and streetscape improvements.” The project (HWM2025) follows seven months after the city […]

Luxury Development Plagues Newly Reopened DeSalvio Playground in Little Italy

The reimagined DeSalvio Playground debuted back in February. Now, four months later, access is partially restricted thanks to construction work on the neighboring luxury condo building. A tipster sent us this photos illustrating the closure of both the basketball court and rock climbing feature. Contractors set down heavy foam and plywood surfacing while construction concludes […]

Online Petition Protests ‘Outrageous’ 67% Rate Hike at Essex Street Municipal Garage

First they came for street parking; now its the garages. Essex Crossing gobbled up roughly 500 parking spaces around the neighborhood, and many locals allege the fly-by-night rate hike at the Essex Street Municipal garage further prices out area longtimers. As previously reported, the city quietly raised all rates the Friday before Memorial Day weekend. […]