N.Y.C.’s new slang dictionary

RHYMES with crazy Lenore Skenazy  thumbnail

BY LENORE SKENAZY |  New Yorkers have always had their own slang. We all know that “coffee regular” means coffee with milk and sugar. A “straphanger” is a subway rider (though, come to think of it, maybe it’s a bus rider, too). And fugheddaboudit is a single word.

But we are clearly overdue for an update. So here is:


Halal-anon: Meetings for people addicted to lamb over rice.

Quipster: A hipster who lives in Queens.

Tri-asselete: A person who, by a combination of man-spreading, leaning, and glowering, manages to take up three seats on the subway.

Celebate: A person who tries to not spot celebrities.

PPB: Short for “phantom phone booth” — a phone booth with only wires left in it.

High Line Line: A line you are likely to hear on the High Line, e.g., “It’s 7:30 in Milan now.” Or, “I could’ve bought that building for $50,000 in ‘78.”

Yellowed Cab: Pre-Uber form of transportation.

Square Knot: A crowd of Times Square tourists trying to cross the street that intersects with a crowd of tourists trying to buy $10 handbags.

Coney-ism: Boardwalk employees who send business to other Boardwalk establishments. E.g., “Now that you’ve had a hot dog, maybe it’s time for a ride on the Cyclone.”

NO-DOZ: (Acronym) The neighborhood Near Or Directly Opposite Zabar’s.

NO-DOZ BRONX: The neighborhood Near Or Directly Opposite Zoo.

Blunch: Brunch that commences at or past lunchtime.

Tramelot: Nickname reflecting Camelot-like hopes for a new Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island.

Churisma: The irresistible allure of a giant pile of churros.

Ferry Godfather: A Mafia don who lives on Staten Island.

Cartio Workout: The exercise one gets walking over to the hot dog cart.

Bubblestone: Street or sidewalk littered with bubble-shaped tops of Frappucino cups.

Lost and Lost: The MTA’s Lost and Found booth.

Late Bloomers: Buildings and projects begun in Bloomberg era only now reaching completion.

A-Riguez: The side of A-Rod we didn’t see until now.

Cataclysmic Climate Change: The act of entering a freezing subway car from a sweltering platform, or vice versa.

Tube Jobs: A street fair job, e.g., selling tube socks.

Loughnut: The lone doughnut left on a doughnut cart.

Speed Lump: A person standing on the left side of the escalator unaware that that side is reserved for people walking.

Mister Loudee: Any ice cream truck that plays music.

Horse Shoo: Nickname for Mayor de Blasio’s initiative to rid Central Park of carriages.

Sick Passenger: Joking euphemism for lame excuse. E.g., “I wanted to get to your opening, but there was a sick passenger.” Or, “A sick passenger ate my homework.”

Eva-lution: The gradual switch from traditional to charter schools, often aided by Eva Moskowitz.

Mondo Condo: Nickname for Long Island City.

Shadowfreud: To feel pleasure in knowing a friend’s luxury apartment will soon to be in the shadow of an even more luxurious building.

Smidgeon: A small pigeon.

Lenore Skenazy is a keynote speaker and the author and founder of the book and blog Free-Range Kids.

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5 Responses to N.Y.C.’s new slang dictionary

  1. Real New York

    I live in New York, I've lived in New York for 30+ years, and I can say, I've never heard anyone use these idioms…ever, now if you're talking about the tourist who moved here, they're not New Yorkers, so they're lingo don't matter.

  2. C'mon, you're kidding, right? Real New Yorkers have a sense of humor. You must have come from far away 30 years ago but I got news – you're not in Kansas anymore. Lighten up.

  3. I love these
    No-doz is a great name for near zabars or zebras at the Bronx zoo.
    The above commenters are not in the mood for jokes I guess

  4. Re: "Real New Yorkers have a sense of humor. You must have come from far away 30 years ago but I got news – you're not in Kansas anymore. Lighten up"– is this supposed to be ironic?

    You need to lighten up ! What a curmudgeon! Get over the native angst- you are also from someplace far away- maybe 130 years ago, but who cares… I'm from here too and you don't speak for all of us, Wordsmith. Try some humility.

    I love you Crazy! Skenazy

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