View Full Version : How to tell if someone is from Brooklyn

07-30-2008, 04:00 PM
In my cozy, After Tony tells a funny story Joey says (or does) something that identifies him as being raised in Brooklyn.

What word, phrase or action would give him away?


07-30-2008, 04:02 PM
'I'm from Brooklyn' would probably do it. ;)

07-30-2008, 04:16 PM
It would help to know how old he is, what time period he was growing up in Brooklyn, and more about his background.

07-30-2008, 05:05 PM
Must it be specifically Brooklyn? I can give you some words, phrases and pronunciations that would mark someone as a native New Yorker if that would be close enough. But they are all things that I (from the Bronx) share with someone from Brooklyn.

07-30-2008, 06:36 PM
Possibly give him the "Brooklyn accent" in his dialogue. I lived near NYC for a few years and have been visiting the city for a couple of decades. You can definitely pick out people from either the Bronx or Brooklyn just by their accent. They really do talk just like the people you see on TV.

Or make up a story and have him use specific landmarks as clues to his origin. This in combination with an accent would be a subtle way to show he's from Brooklyn.

07-30-2008, 06:58 PM
It may be not be enough to pin down someone to Brooklyn, but when I lived in CT I found the most distinctive feature of the New York accent to be dropping the first H in words:

I.e. "Huge" sounds more like "Yuge"

Mike Martyn
07-31-2008, 01:42 AM
"Whadda ya, crazy?" I'm qouting my mother in law who was born and raised in Brooklyn.

As a Canadian it took me a long time to realise that this translated into "Canadian " as "I respectfully disagree, eh".

07-31-2008, 01:58 AM
You could always refer to a neighborhood in Bklyn, or a subway line or stop. If someone said "Hey, didja see that boid flyin overhead" or "I live at Thoity-thoid and Thoid" it would scream "Brooklyn" to me.

NYCers also say "on line" instead of "in line," but that's not particular to Brooklyn.

ETA: or you could say something about the Promenade, or there's a famous Brooklyn pizzeria...Grimaldi's, I think. Something like that.

07-31-2008, 01:59 AM
Notfanotinbut .... Always a dead giveaway :)

07-31-2008, 02:00 AM
"Whadda ya, crazy?" I'm qouting my mother in law who was born and raised in Brooklyn.

As a Canadian it took me a long time to realise that this translated into "Canadian " as "I respectfully disagree, eh".

In Minnesota, it translates to: "Well, that's different."

As far as Brooklyn, I think a lot of it is the accent. I also think that Jews from Brooklyn, Italians from Brooklyn, Irish from Brooklyn, Colombians from Brooklyn all would have their own uniquely Brooklyneze expressions.

07-31-2008, 02:03 AM

"Djeet?" (for "Did you eat"?)

I guess these are common in all parts of NYC, but I think they may be associated with Brooklyn in many people's minds.

Most accurate way, though, might be for the character to reminisce about some little corner store that nobody outside the neighborhood would know about. But then, the reader wouldn't know about it either!

Maybe reminiscing about his elementary or high school?

-- Eeek (grew up in Queens)

07-31-2008, 03:41 AM
you might watch some movies set in Brooklyn to pick up some ideas. Think there's one by Spike Lee called "Crooklyn." Not sure what it's about.

07-31-2008, 12:06 PM
I should have given more information, but you all have given me a lot to think about. Here's what I have so far:
I entered the Lobby and there was Tony, surrounded by a flock of student drivers wearing mismatched uniforms. After the students received their Commercial Drivers Licenses, and learned all 38 routes, they were paired up with an experienced driver for a day.
"So I says to the guy, 'Oh yeah, why don't you come up here and plant your butt in the drivers' seat and show us what you got.' "
The students laughed and one young man said, "So what'd the goomba do then?"
"Goomba? Hey, where you from," Tony asked him.
"Me, I'm from Brooklyn."
"Yeah? Me too! I'm Tony Giggliotti, from Brooklyn!" He held out a bear paw for the young guy to shake.
That's how he always introduced himself, "I'm Tony Giggliotti, from Brooklyn." You think, "No! I would have never guessed from your Joe Pesci accent."

08-01-2008, 01:03 AM
We've all forgotten to ask the important question, what's the context? Are you talking about someone in Queens being able to tell that someone is from Brooklyn? Or someone in Iowa? Because if the scene in your post is taking place in New York, I can't imagine that conversation happening.

Also, I am trying to remember if people actually used that word in my youth, or it is just used in the movies... I think they did.

08-01-2008, 01:09 AM
I don't know if I've ever heard anyone say "Goomba" in real life. Maybe I have, and have forgotten. But I think I first heard it on "The Sopranos." ;) I like the scene, though.

08-01-2008, 01:12 AM
One thing you could use are the Atkins ave Rail yards, the New York Connecting Railway.

08-01-2008, 01:15 AM
If a Brooklynite met another Brooklynite, they would say the neighborhood. Bensonhurst, Bay Ridge, whatever. But I know that doesn't work for your last sentence.

08-01-2008, 02:17 AM
I just happened upon this list (http://www.brooklyn-usa.org/pages/Remberberwhen.htm)...