New York words, speech (1929, 1938 articles)

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Tue Nov 19 08:21:11 UTC 2002

   Two New York clippings.
   "Black Hand" should be easy to check in the NEW YORK HERALD INDEX and NEW
YORK TIMES PERSONAL NAME INDEX.  Any date for me to beat?

   18 December 1929, NEW YORK HERALD TRIBUNE:
_New York Has Given_
_Many New Words to_
_American Language_
_"Tuxedo," "Tombs," "Black-_
   _hand," "Tabloid," "Shim-_
   _my," "Jazz" Among Them_
   Once in a while some native New Yorker employes the expression "as crooked
as Pearl Street."  It is a colloguialism now almost defunct.  Pearl Street,
windingest in town, beings on Broadway, wanders toward the East River and
comes back to terminate at Broadway.
  The porterhouse steak...
   It was in London that men who sold securities short were first called
bears, but in Wall Street that the corresponding term of bulls was invented
for speculators on the long side.  (Not true--ed.)
   Black Friday...
   "Jazz" was originally the name of a dance, devised in New York about 1913
and the word soon came to characterize the sort of music theretofore called
rag-time.  (Not true--ed.)
   Strangest of all New York's coined words and idioms, perhaps, is "black
hand."  James P. McCarthy, a reporter on the old "New York Herald," made it
up and applied it to a Mafia ring which had committed a murder in Brooklyn.
(Possibly true.  Perhaps the HERALD TRIBUNE would know about the HERALD.
Hey, the article has to get one right--ed.)

   _--A Fighting Word_
   WHEN a New Yorker wants another drink, he tells the bartender,
   If he thinks the man's pupils look too dilated, he replies,
   The patron had better not argue, or the bartender might ask,
   That formidable-looking word is defined in the WPA's "1938 Almanac for New
Yorkers" as "an invitation to a brawl."
   Other definitions of New Yorkese, upheld by the almanac editors as being
"at least as fruity and full-flavored as ever proper English could be," are:
   Braykidup: Policeman's suggestion to any group of loiterers.
   Wazzitoyuh?: Delicate rebuff to an excessively curious questioner.
   Takadiway: "Please remove it from sight immediately."
   Dombeeztoopid: Expressing specific disagreement, with undertones of
   Ladderide: Warning not to pursue the subject further.
   Whyntchalookeryagoyn?: Rhetorical expression of relief used (by motorists
especially) after a near-collision.
   Sowaddyasaybabe, or Hozzabotutbabe:  Prelude to romance.

(Isn't this list missing something?  Did they "forget about it"?--ed.)

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