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I was raised in a couple of suburbs, so I’m surprised that I’ve never heard something like this before. But then again, one of those suburbs was right between Dallas and Fort Worth and saying this out loud would never have helped people understand your intentions. I guess New York’s grandeur and world-renown makes this a much easier stretch of the imagination.

‘Round these parts, they call Manhattan “The City.”

Say you’re out on Staten Island or nestled deep in the bosom of BK, you’re chatting with friends and it’s getting late. They might say, “Oh. Hey. [Your name here]. When’re you going into the city?” To which you probably respond, “Fuckin’…right now. The trains are fucked and I need my beauty rest.” At which point you call a gypsy cab and pony up for some of the best cartfood you’ve ever had.

I’m fully aware that “gypsy cabs” and “cartfood” are also pretty distinct New York things, but probably not as much as “The City” is. Also, the first two never had to be explained to me before, and the latter did. Let me put it this way: gypsy cabs are to non-yellow cabs as cartfood is, generally, to kosher or halal food served from a cart (maybe sometimes hot dogs or pretzels or nuts or what have you).

But when you say “The City” in New York City, you’re not talking about New York City, you’re talking about Manhattan. I first heard about this term when I was living in Brooklyn and I’m not really sure why it just occurred to me to take note of it over a year and a half after the fact. It became one of those things that I just instantaneously added to my wordbank but neglected to use often, like “y’all” or “all y’all” or “wicked pissah ovah theyah.

Which is to say, even talking about NYC in NYC shows that Manhattan is quite possibly the most important part of NYC. I say “quite possibly” because the surrounding areas are not banned from having important activities or events, it’s just that the majority are in the city.


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