New York Daily Photo Analytics

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

New Yawk Style

I enjoy observing New Yorkers I see in public who make a strong presence - whether brash, eccentric or unusual in some way. However, drawing conclusions based on a few pieces of information can be dangerous - see my posting on Walid Soroor or Facts and Fiction.
There is a New York style and a New Yawk accent. This has been depicted in numerous characters of film and television. John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever is classic New York attitude and accent (in this case Brooklyn Italian) as are others like Fran Drescher (Queens) or journalist Jimmy Breslin.
The classic New York style is characterized by someone who is confident, tough, blase, brave, street smart, aggressive. Fierce borough pride. Regardless of gentrification or any other talk of improving conditions and reduction of crime, New York City is still a rough place. For a woman (or a man) who makes her way here - working, traveling the trains and walking the streets requires a certain intestinal fortitude and stoicism just learning to navigate and survive. 
On my trip to Coney Island Mermaid Parade, this woman and her friend caught my eye. She had a dash of all the classic elements of New Yawk style - her posture and attitude on the train speaks volumes. A real New Yawker's gotta have chutzpah ...

Note about the New Yawk accent: Also known as Brooklynese or New Yorkese, the accent consists of dropping r's (fatha for father), adding oi (like the classic Toidy Toid for Thirty Third), adding r's where they don't belong (erster for oyster), pronouncing "th" like "d" or "t" (through as trew or the as da). From the New York Times: "Tawk to a young New Yawkuh dese days and de foist ting you may notice is dat he aw she don't tawk like dis no maw." 
Many say the accent along with Yiddishisms (like shlemiel or oy-vay) is disappearing. 
Others say it is moving to the suburbs of New Jersey or Long Island. Some believe that NYC police officers are keeping it alive as a badge of honor. 

10 comments:

NBM said...

I am a foreigner, I learn to know many things about New York city through your blog. This is one more interesting thing to know.

Thank you so much!

sk8crete said...

I heard on a radio program that the New York, Brooklyn and even Long Island accents are derived from the Dutch settlers...

Michelle Johnson said...

Second glance at your photo makes me think she's definitely comfortable in her own skin. Comfortable enough to ride safely to and from her destination. Have a great day.

ChickenUnderwear said...

She looks like she could kick you ass for taken that picture.

Brian Dubé said...

Michelle - absolutely.

Chicken Underwear - Your right and I thought of that. But I think she might also like being seen as a tough, self assured New Yorker.

Jeffrey Byrnes said...

Making photographs on a Subway is a favorite of mine when I am in any major city. This is a great portrait. Love the light.

Abe Lincoln said...

I guess it is like my old house slippers I wear all the time. Anything that comfortable should be worn. I like the get up the gal has on.

Thérèse said...

Your New Yawk accent definition is a must to be read, lol

John said...

As always Brillant photo and excellent explantion to go with same
Thank you for these brillant insights to the ways of New York
a Brillant blog site , Keep up the great work

sinworm said...

However this one, I'm thinking is not the tough "New Yawker" as the one man said. In fact look closely. Must be first time on public transport! Explaining why she is oblivious to danger ...not so tough as stupid? ...not reading the signs of danger ...like bold sign on door warning not to lean against it? ... Maybe camera guy stick around for better photo at next train stop! Much better version of the same woman doing wonderful face plant on hard floor just at first kiss with concrete platform delighting several REAL New Yawkers ...I'm thinking THAT would make good picture!