When traveling, it is of utmost importance to hide the fact that you’re a tourist. If you seem like you’re not from here, you run the risk of being ripped off, shut out, or just totally humiliated by the savvier, sassier locals around you.
One of the diciest places to look like a tourist, of course, is New York City. And here, not looking like a tourist has lots to do with not sounding like one.
Memorize these New York-isms, and you can “fuggetabout” seeming like a visitor.
1. “New Yorkers” are from New York City.
First, let’s get one thing straight. The name “New Yorker” is reserved only for humans who reside in actual New York City. Not Buffalo, and not Rochester.
2. In New York, you’re “on line,” not “in line.”
Yes, every other city on Earth says “in line.” But whilst in their backwards territory, we must bow to the majesty of the New Yorkers.
3. That nut is an AH-mond, not an ALL-mond.
Researchers at Cambridge conducted a survey to determine regional pronunciations of common words. Manhattan and the surrounding towns are literally the only places in America where AH-mond is used.
4. “Bedbugs” are real creatures.
Most of us only know the bedtime rhyme about not letting bedbugs bite. But in New York, that fear is very, very real. Don’t drop the “bedbugs” term casually.
5. You’ll be riding the “subway” or the “train,” not the “metro.”
If you’ve visited Europe, you rode the metro. In Washington, D.C., you rode the metro. New Yorkers will know you’re not from here if you call their transportation system a metro.
6. It’s a “bodega,” not a “grocery” or “convenience store.”
In New York, there are little deli-slash-grocery-slash-specialty shops on basically every corner, and they sell fancier things than 7-Elevens do. Though they look like your neighborhood’s “convenience store” from the outside, New Yorkers call these vamped-up corner shops “bodegas.”
7. “Houston” is a street, not a city in Texas.
New York’s geography hinges on this street-- a shop is in the SoHo neighborhood if it’s “south of Houston Street.” Please, for your own sake, pronounce it HOW-ston and not HUE-ston.
8. “The City” means the island of Manhattan.
Yes, Manhattan is only one of New York City’s five boroughs. But to a cab driver or to a friend or to any member of the general public, “The City” means this one particular borough.
9. You’re headed “uptown” or “downtown,” not “north” or “south.”
Cardinal directions are used by brave explorers in the wide open plain. You’re a brave explorer, but New York City is far from a wide open plain.
10. The “4 train,” “5 train,” and “6 train” are not “the green line.”
It would be cute to call the subways by the color they are on the map… if every colored line carried only one train. Three separate subway trains, for example, travel the green-colored line on the New York City Subway map. You should refer to them as “the 4 train,” “the 5 train,” and “the 6 train.”
11. Williamsburg isn’t in Virginia.
It’s in Brooklyn. And it’s a trendy neighborhood filled with hipsters.
12. A place doesn’t have to be in the upper part of the state to be “upstate.”
New Yorkers kinda tend to think New York City is the center of the universe. As such, anything above the city’s northernmost borough is considered “upstate.”
13. New Yorkers have “country houses,” not “beach houses.”
Of course a few beach houses exist. But when the weekend comes, many New Yorkers head for the hills. Say you're headed to a "country house," and you're ready to roll with the best of 'em.