"Thoity Thoid and Thoid" (33rd Street & Third Avenue)

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Fri Jun 18 05:42:58 UTC 1999

     "Thoity Thoid and Thoid" (33rd Street and Third Avenue) is a
quintessential example of "New Yorkese," but the phrase has not been
historically recorded until now.
     This is from page 70 of a new book, NEW YORK: SONGS OF THE CITY (1999),
by Nancy Groce:

     Songs written during the East Side's seedier past include several that
emphasize the neighborhood's distinctive accent and irreverent attitude
towards the outside world.  Songwriters thought the pronunciation of "th" as
"d" and the wholesale slaughtering of vowels were particularly amusing, so we
have songs such as Ben Ryan's 1926 "Down on Thoity Thoid and Thoid":

Down on the East side, on the East side that's my home, sweet home.
Some people think it's the home of black eyes.
Just because guys don't wear collars and ties.
That's all the bunk, they just say that in fun.
Real East side folks is the best what come.
They'd give you their shoit only they ain't got none.
Down on Thoity Thoid and Thoid.

     The very same corner received musical attention again in the 1946
novelty song, "Moitle From Toity Toid and Toid" by Bobby Gregory--the same
composer who was responsible for the memorably titled "I've Been Out With the
Glue Maker's Daughter":

I've got a goil on de East Side.
Where goils are tough as can be.
She took a job as a bouncer.
And now she's bouncing me.
CHORUS:  Who is de toughest goil in dis whole woild.
Moitle from Toidy Toid and Toid.
Who's got buck teeth that shine like a poil.
Moitle from Toity Toid and Toid.
She wears a tight shoit right up to her knees.
Instead of poifume she wears Limboiger cheese.
Who leaves me limp when she gives me a squeeze?
Moitle from Toidy Toid and Toid.

    Perhaps the address can be found in the Chimmie Fadden novels at the turn
of the century.  This headline is from the NEW YORK TRIBUNE, 8 January 1915,
part III, pg. 18:

_Vivid and Realistic Is the Recital of the Findings of Three Social_
_Workers Who "Beat It" with "The Gopherettes" and Other_
_Tough Daughters of the Poorest Poor in Hell's Kitchen_

     In the BROOKLYN EAGLE, 19 June 1944, pg. 10, col. 1, is a photo of two
soldiers with a "THOITY THOID ST." sign and this caption:

_GOTHAM IN THE MARSHALLS_--Corp. Thomas J. Augusto, 25, left, of 1827 Norman
St., strikes a match on his signpost, while his buddy, Pfc. Angelo C.
Accetta, 31, of 3234 Irwin Ave., the Bronx, waits for a light.  The sign
indicates one of Augusto's favorite New York haunts.

    I was looking for something else ("getting your act together") when I
found this in JACK CORTEZ' FABULOUS LAS VEGAS MAGAZINE, 29 February 1964, pg.
27 (continued on pg. 31):

     One of New York's most consistent restaurant attractions is Majors
Cabin.  (...)  The location of the Cabin is often referred to as being 33
steps west of the Empire State Building.  Specifically that means 33 West
33rd St., that choice real estate area with proximity to Macy's, Gimbel's and
the Sheraton-Atlantic.  As one cab driver in pure 1920 New Yorkese once
eloquently said it: "Tirdy Tree West Tirdy Tird," or was it "Thoidy Thoid"
that he said.

    This is from NEW YORK: SONGS OF THE CITY (1999), pg. 165:

     New York has had many nicknames over the years.  "The Big Apple" seems
to have originated among Southern stable-hands who used it when referring to
New York racetracks.  It was popularized in the 1920s by John J. FitzGerald,
a reporter for the _Morning Telegraph_, and was widely used by black jazz
musicians in the 1930s before it became passe.  In 1971, it was revived as
part of a publicity campaign by Charles Gillett, president of the New York
Convention and Visitors Bureau.

    What, no royalties?

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