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The definitive guide to when to say “the” before NYC landmarks

Will Gleason
Written by
Will Gleason

When it comes to New York landmarks and places, pronunciation is probably the most important thing to get right if you don’t want to get immediately hit with more death stares than an overcrowded L train. Just ask any poor souls who have mispronounced Houston Street, Stuyvesant Square or Spuyten Duyvil in a public place (if they’ve managed to make it out alive.) Grammar, however, is a pretty close second. Gothamites may not be as particular about when to use “the” as our West Coast counterparts, but there are definitely a few exceptions to the rule.

Always use “the” before:

The Bronx

You might go to a friend's party in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens or Staten Island, but if Rebecca decides to throw her baby shower in the northernmost borough, you'll be carrying that Robert Sabuda pop-up book all the way to The Bronx.

The Bowery

If you're in the East Village and you're running late for a business engagement in Midtown, you can yell into your phone that you're literally just running across Avenue A, First Ave or Second Ave to catch the Q train, but you should always say you're frantically sprinting crossing The Bowery.

The High Line

You might enthusiastically suggest a boozy picnic in Central Park or McCarren Park to your friends, but you will never end up carrying wine in a thermos to "High Line."

The West Side Highway

If you're giving a cabbie directions it's: "Don't you dare take me up Eighth Ave, take The West Side Highway."

Never use “the” before:


That Bjork exhibit was disappointing enough. There's no need to breed more disappointment by saying you saw it at "The MoMA."

Top of the Rock 

You take in the views from the top of the Empire State Building, but savor the New York skyline from Top of the Rock, no "the" necessary.

Battery Park 

There is "The Battery" and "Battery Park" and never the twain shall meet.


You take the LIRR to your friend's parents' country place in The Hamptons, but Metro-North to your friend's parents' country place in Westchester.

Sheep Meadow

No matter what The New York Times says, no one says they're going to lay out in The Sheep Meadow. Not even the sheep.

Do you disagree with anything? Did we miss something big? Let us know in the comments!

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