Speak Like a New Yorker with this Fun New York Lingo!

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Your kids can find out heaps of fun and useful information in the Kids’ Travel Guide – New York City, but here’s a little extra fun New York for the whole family.  Learn how to speak like a New Yorker!

The local lingo in New York has influences from various places.  This includes from the languages of people who have emigrated to the city over time, such as from Italian, Spanish, Yiddish, and Irish, musical influences, for example from the city’s beloved hip hop, and other cultural and historical factors.

Photo by By Francisco Diez / CC BY 2.0

Slang, colloquialisms, and some particular idioms may be used by a large percentage of the local population, mainly by certain age groups, or within a specific circle of people that share a common interest.

Whether you want to try out some of the sayings for a giggle or be a little more in the know when listening to people talking all around you, here are some common words and phrases that are particular to NYC:

Brick: To be very cold.

Example – “It’s brick out there!  I’m not going out tonight.”

Guap: Money.

Example – “Can’t wait till I get some guap!”


Trippin’: To exaggerate something or overreact.

Example – “Why you trippin’?  It was just a joke!”

Grill: To stare at someone.

Example – “What are you grilling?”

Gotham: A nickname for NYC.

Example – “I’m proud to come from Gotham.”

Slice: When used alone, it is assumed to mean a slice of regular cheese pizza.

Example – “I’ll have a slice and a coke.”

Photo by Hungry Dudes / CC BY 2.0

Mad: Very (used for emphasis).

Example – “I’m mad busy right now.”

Walkup: An apartment building that has no elevator (so, you must walk up the stairs!)

Example – “I hate going to see her because she lives on the fifth floor of a walkup!”

Sliding Pond: A kid’s slide in a playground.  (There is nothing to do with water!)

Example – “She loves the tall sliding pond in the park.”


Photo by Fotoblog Rare / CC BY 2.0

Killa Queens: Nickname for the Queens part of the city.

Example – “I’m in Killa Queens with work tomorrow.”

The City: Nickname for Manhattan.

Example – “Are you coming out in the City tomorrow?”

Son: Used to talk to or about a good friend.  It can also be used when the speaker doesn’t know the person’s name.

Example: “Alright Son, what’s new?”

Flying Rats: Pigeons.

Example – “There are too many flying rats around here at the moment.”

Photo by Razvan Socol / CC BY-SA 3.0

Regular: When used to refer to coffee it means with milk and no sugar.

Example – “I’d like a regular to go please.”

The Island: Nickname for Long Island.

Example: “He went to the Island yesterday.”

Upstate: Places that are to the north of NYC but still within New York State.

Example – “I really miss my sister.  She moved Upstate.”

Radio Car: A police car that is marked.

Example – “Don’t drive too fast – there’s a radio car over there.”


Photo by Gcin1987 / CC BY-SA 3.0

Schmear: A healthy dollop of cream cheese to go with a bagel.

Example – “Can I get a schmear with that please?”

Bridge and Tunnel: People that commute into the city centre from other nearby areas.

Example – “She’s always late!  But, she is Bridge and Tunnel I guess.”


Have you heard any other interesting words or sayings when in New York City?  Share them with us in the comments box below.

The post Speak Like a New Yorker with this Fun New York Lingo! appeared first on FlyingKids.

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