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13 slang words every New Yorker should know

Written by
Carla Sosenko

Wanna talk like a New Yorker? Then you gotta know the lingo, wise guy. 

flying rat (n.): A pigeon.

hun (n.): hundred. As in, “I’m going to a party up on a hun’sixteenth street.” New Yorkers are busy. We don’t have time for entire words.

pie (n.): In the rest of the country, this may be mean apple, pecan or cherry. Here, pie means just one thing: pizza. Glorious, glorious pizza.

schlep, oy, schvitz, etc. (var.): If it’s Yiddish, we say it. Your religion, ethnicity or state of origin doesn’t matter—all New Yorkers are a little bit Jewish. (Similarly: agita, muzzarell, prosciutt, etc., because all New Yorkers are also a little bit Italian.)

Yooz (pronoun): A plural form of you. Sometimes takes the form: “yooz guys.”

Schmear (n.): A lot of cream cheese. As in, “Can I getta a bagel with schmear?”

northwest corner, southeast corner, etc. (n.): Manhattan’s nearly perfect grid system means that, when meeting friends, we get very specific. There’s no “I’ll come get you on the corner of 14th and Broadway,” because guess what? There are four corners there. Besides, who has time to wait on the wrong corner like a trifling fool?

bodega(n.): This is where you buy your coffee in the morning. And your egg-and-cheese when you’re hungover. And also your munchies at 4am. And toilet paper and soap when you run out. Okay, this is where you do all of your shopping.

bridge-and-tunnel (adj.): A seemingly benign grouping of nouns (“Oh, look, there’s a bridge, and hey, there’s a tunnel”), this is a scathing commentary on anyone obviously in the city from Long Island or New Jersey.

Triborough Bridge, Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, etc. (n.): Proud New Yorkers refuse to refer to renamed landmarks by their new names. The Triborough will never be the RKF (no disrespect, Bobby). The Hugh L. Carey Tunnel? We say nay. The Ed Koch Bridge? We’ve already got two choices—the 59th Street and the Queensboro—and we like them just fine, thanks. Extra points if you still call the FDR the “East River Drive” and Kennedy Airport “Idlewild.”You, my friend, are a retro rock star.

The city (n.): Manhattan. For example, you go into the “the city” on the weekend to pick up towel rods from Bed, Bath and Beyond.

On line (adj.): in line. As in, “I waited on line for seven hours to get these tickets. It was totally worth it.”

Fuhgedaboudit (exclam.): A speed-up pronunciation of “Forget about it.” Meant to mean “No way!” or “Definitely!”

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