New Yorkers have a way about them when it comes to language. NYC phrases can be heard everywhere. It’s all about sounding epic and expressing your emotion through your words. It’s also about traditional style. You’ll find this language used by different people all across the five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, and Staten Island (and Long Island!). And you’ll find that they’ve been using the terms for years. Every city’s got their own lingo that differentiates them from others. Here are 10 NYC phrases you should know if you’re visiting.
I’m Going To The City
One of the most commonly used NYC phrases is “The City.” When New Yorkers say this they’re not talking about all five boroughs. They’re only referring to one. Every real New Yorker knows that the first city in New York was Manhattan and it’s name will remain that way going forward. So if anyone ever tells you “I’m going to the city.” It means they’re going to Manhattan!
Only New Yorkers know what this means. If you explain something ridiculous to a New Yorker and they reply with “whaaaaat?!” Trust me, they’re not confused. They heard you and they get what you said and they probably think it was epic. They’re in shock. And we show appreciation for epic news with the way we speak. This is a typical NYC phrase you should definitely know if you’re visiting so you don’t think we misheard you, and keep repeating it. That gets annoying.
I’m Never Drinking Again
This one is used all the time by people who go out to drink often, get too wasted and have near-death experiences. They always complain after by saying they’re “never drinking again.” No worries, you didn’t lose a drinking buddy. What they really mean is they over did it, lost their wallet or something went wrong, and they need to chill for a bit until they’re completely sobered up. In fact they’re probably just going to avoid drinking for the rest of that day and will get riiiiight back to it tomorrow. Don’t get sad when you hear this NYC phrase.
Good Looking Out
This one is a little old but is still used or is sometimes shortened to “Good looking”. No, we’re not going around hitting on everyone that does us a favor. When you help someone out, lend them a hand, or do something good for them in some way, they’ll use the phrase “good looking out” to thank you. This just means you did them a solid and they appreciate your efforts. You can definitely use this phrase too if you’re visiting New York City.
There’s bootleg stuff all around us. Fake brands and fake makes. So to make it clear that what we own is legit, New Yorkers will use the phrase “I got the official ones” or “Yo! That’s official! Where’d you get those” if it belongs to someone else. Don’t try to play a knock-off for an official in NYC, New Yorkers always know the difference. This is definitely a phrase you should know if you’re visiting.
Paper, Stacks, Cheese, Bread
All New Yorkers are about their money. If you’re visiting you’ll probably hear lots of different phrases for it like paper, stacks, cheese, bread. Dough is an old one I haven’t heard in a while but it may still be out there. If someone from New York talks to you about their cheese they don’t mean a sandwich they had earlier.
A New Yorker
There’s an implied difference between someone who lives within the five boroughs and someone who lives in the upstate parts of New York, like Syracuse or Oneida. It’s an ongoing war that I have yet to see the end of. Although personally, as a native native New Yorker, I appreciate both the city and the state. They each have their pros and cons. But because the city is like the stinky little brother of upstate New York, we kind of get disowned. The term “New Yorker” is reserved for people who live in the city. Anyone from anywhere else in New York will say they’re from “Upstate New York.” Some may even throw in, “Not the dirty city.” Learn this phrase if you’re visiting NYC because you definitely don’t want to offend anyone with the term.
One of the very common NYC phrases that everyone either knows or uses, “what’s good,” simply means “what’s going on” or “how are you.” It’s like the official greeting of New Yorkers and is used either in an urban slang sort of way, an upscale, or a hipster sort of way. It’s really universal in NYC. So, what’s good with you? Huh?
Let’s Get A Pie
Another term thats good to know, that people from NYC say a lot is “pie.” To avoid accidentally bringing the wrong food to a party or something, know that the phrase doesn’t mean they’re going to get a fruit-filled soft and crunchy crusted dessert. There’s only one food in New York that’s referred to as “a pie” and it’s pizza. Everyone’s favorite. If we’re referring to any other type of pie we’ll say the name of the pie first, like “apple pie” or “pumpkin pie.”
I Don’t Know If I’ll Make It
This is a phrase you should know too, if you’re visiting NYC. This is our most polite way of saying we’re not going to something, or we don’t want to go to something. Take it for what it is and don’t try to force us into things we don’t want to do. At least we’re being polite about declining. If a New Yorker says “I don’t know if I’ll make it to the party,” they’re not gonna show up last minute and save the day. They’re probably going to be at home on their couch binging on pizza and Netflix.