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I was asked a question today by a student I'm tutoring, and I was embarrassed to realize that I have no idea what the answer is.
No, not any of the legendary Dutch place names, or famous irregular street names like "Houston. He wants to know how to pronounce "West 103rd Street", and more generally, how to pronounce street numbers of three digits, when the middle digit is zero.
The number 103 as a house number or apartment number is always "one-oh-three" and not usually "a hundred and three" unless you want to speak really carefully. But I can't imagine saying anything other than "a hundred and third" for the street name.
Can you possibly stick an "oh" in there? Can you say "one-oh-seventh" for 107th? How about 207th? "Two-hundred-and-seventh" or "two-oh-seventh"?
My extremely preliminary answer to him was that you have to include the "hundred" for the streets from 101st to 109th and that you might be able to leave it out for 110th to 199th ("one-ninety-ninth").
So how do you say them, usually? And is there a difference for the 200s?
(Please try to answer without snarky remarks like "You've never heard someone north of 96th Street say their own street name? Cosseted suburbanite!" It's never too late to learn.)
It's customary to drop the "hundred".
As in "We're on one-seventy-eighth between Broadway and Amsterdam".
New Yorkers also drop the "West" and "East" when they're speaking.
It's assumed that if I tell you to meet me on 46th between Madison and Lexington, you'll know it's EAST 46th and not WEST 46th.
New York English is a bitch, aint it? I was tutoring a student on subway vocabulary, ("turnstile", "swipe", etc.) and she asked me, "But what does 'bound' mean?" As in Rockaway Parkway Bound. Not hard to explain, but never thought about it before. Triple, where do you tutor? Do you know the International Center?
I almost always say hundred.
> I almost always say hundred.
People from rural Pennsylvania aren't real NYers.
Emergency workers would say "One Oh Three Street" ... probably initially for clarity on their squawk boxes.
I would say "One hundred and third Street", but above 120th Street I'd be more likely to say "*A* hundred and seventy-eighth street".
It's a Harlem tradition to pronounce 135th Street as simply "Thirty-fifth Street", Adam Clayton Powell IV Boulevard as simply "Seventh Avenue", Frederick Douglass Boulevard as "Eighth Avenue", and Lenox Avenue as "Lenox Avenue".
My grandmother said "Avenoo". Go figure.
I use the "hundred", though it usually becomes "a hundred and third" rather than "one hundered and third."
103 is one hundred third, not one hundred and third.
It's all good, as long as everyone says "Toidy-toid and toid".
@Alan - That "one" to "a" switch at 120 is interesting; I did the same thing when I took a class (about a decade ago) in Japanese literature and there were many occasions to say years in the 11th century. 1001 to 1019 were "one thousand --" but 1020 and after were "a thousand --". No idea why this was!
"My grandmother said "Avenoo". Go figure."
Doesn't everybody? I thought only British people put that "y" sound after the "n" and said "avenyu".
"It's all good, as long as everyone says "Toidy-toid and toid"."
My great-grandmother (born 1899) used to call a toilet a "terlet" and say "berled in erl" and generally make "oi" sounds into "er", but my grandmothers (born 1927 and 1924) don't.
But that brings up another one: when describing an intersection, which one is said first? My instinct is that the numbered street comes first and the avenue comes second, even if the building that's on the corner has its entrance on the avenue. I lived in Kyoto a few years ago and they use cross streets as official addresses, even with the post office. There the street you're actually on always comes first, with the nearest cross street coming second. Reverse them and you'll be *on* the other street. But I'd say that the city library is on "42nd and 5th" even if the entrance is on 5th Avenue and not 42nd Street. Does anyone say the opposite, or distinguish which street is said first?
My GPS lady says "Harlem River Doctor" and "Riverside Doctor".
I thought most Americans say Avenyoo, but maybe it's more of a NY thing? If it's regional, I'd like to know where each pronunciation is used.
But of course the British say Avenyoo ... it's a foreign word, and they LIVE to butcher the pronunciation of words from foreign parts. They'll even go out of their way to do so, e.g. using a soft "a" for the first vowel of "mafia" and "pasta".
Your great-grandmother, who should have soived erstahs in Greenpernt, was probably educated enough to know that it's incorrect to say goils, soivicemen and revoise ... and then extended her correction to all oy sounds, terlets and the like. At least that's my theory regarding your great-grandmother.
"A hundred and third street" or "one twenty sixth street." Unless giving directions to a taxi driver, in which case I clarify with "one oh three." Learned that one the hard way.
I definitely say "avenyu" and I grew up here... hmm.
NYers say the street first and avenue second (42nd and 5th) as shorthand, unless you actually need someone to find you... then it's "5th between 41st and 42nd."
Tons of parks in the city, is it assumed that, "the Park" is Central Park?
Avenues before streets. The Public Library is at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.
And, interestingly enough, my tough English teachers taught me that "and" is the spoken equivalent of a decimal point. So you might have $1.12 -- "one dollar and twelve cents" -- but it's technically "one hundred third street." Of course, having lived in NY for decades, I stick the "and" in all the time now.
>And, interestingly enough, my tough English teachers taught me that "and" is the spoken equivalent of a decimal point. So you might have $1.12 -- "one dollar and twelve cents" -- but it's technically "one hundred third street."
I already said that.
meet me on the corner of Electric Avenue and Shakedown Street.
Bring a buck-fifty.
My apologies h'burg, so you did.
"Your great-grandmother, who should have soived erstahs in Greenpernt, was probably educated enough to know that it's incorrect to say goils, soivicemen and revoise ... and then extended her correction to all oy sounds, terlets and the like. At least that's my theory regarding your great-grandmother."
Alan, your theory is, in fact, the established truth. "Hypercorrection" goes in many cultures and there are other examples of it in New York too. Supposedly the distinctive pronounciation of the vowel in "coffee" and "dog" (which I still have, despite not having any of the distinctive New York-isms of a century ago) spread out from immigrants who didn't have that short "o" sound and substituted an "a" (as in "father"). Their kids didn't want to say it wrong and so over-compensated with an exaggeratedly "correct" sound.
If you get the urge to read a somewhat academic book on NY English, check out William Labov's "The Social Stratification of English in New York City". Written in the '60s, but still informative today.
"Avenues before streets."
Streets before Avenues.
I give directions as : Fifth and 43rd street. (to locals)
Because number-named avenues don't have the east/west designation.
Out of towners are directed: Fifth Ave. and East 43rd street.
I've never understood why there's an Independent station called (and persistently referred to as) "West 4th Street", not just "4th Street". There's no subway station in Manhattan on East 4th Street; the Christopher Street IRT station is also at West 4th Street. But we call the Lexington Avenue Station simply "86th Street", despite the fact that there are two other lines with 86th Street stations in Manhattan.
The always-right Wikipedia says the naming was to avoid confusion in the future when the second coming of the Independent line plopped a station at South 4th Street in Williamsburgh. I don't buy it.
No LBJ or Dylan. Nor 4th St. x 12th Street.
This is actually a good question posed by the OP!
"Because number-named avenues don't have the east/west designation."
They don't need them. Giving the avenue would make it extraneous. "43rd and Lexington" is East 43rd, since there is no Lexington that intersects WEST 43rd.
"I've never understood why there's an Independent station called (and persistently referred to as) "West 4th Street", not just "4th Street"."
Hi mutombo: It's a good question that has answers for New Yorkers and out of towners.
Back in Bay Ridge a few months ago an Asian tourist was standing outside the R train station and looking around. She asked me: "Is this Brooklyn?"
I said "Yes. That's the Verrazano Bridge over there."
She asked: "Where does the bridge go?"
I said: "Staten Island".
She wanted to go there and asked me what she should see while in Staten Island. I told her Snug Harbor is very nice but she would have a sight-seeing bus ride on the B-63 across Brooklyn and could get to the East River Ferry and take a ride to Manhattan.
(Where she could go to Positively Fourth Street.)
Matt: That's what I was referring to.
I give the Avenue first because there is no mix-up on the East/West.
A lightbulb just went off in Matt's head. It's 440 watts.
Most people give the street number first, because there are far more streets than avenues in Manhattan. So it gives a greater sense of the distance involved, right off the bat. And few people utter the East/West of the street number, because the answer follows a few words later. For reasons unknown to me,
Although I don't otherwise state East/West, I mention the East/West of the street I grew up on when telling people where I grew up, even though it's totally unnecessary -- the preceding conversation is usually about the neighborhood.
I miss the Avenue of the Americas signs. It was so fun watching tourists try and try to find the elusive Sixth Avenue. Good times, good times.
O.K. next time everybody can do that. Pack extra food and toilet paper in case they find out that the distance involved in traveling within Manhattan is too far to embark on unprepared.
When you give the street number first to tourists they can end up like that Asian lady: on the corner of 94th street and Fifth Ave. In Brooklyn. ( no East/West, it's just 94th street. Positively 94th Street).
I thought there wasn't any East Fourth Street. Certainly there's no North Moore Street. N Moore is actually Nathaniel Moore Street.
Speaking of tourists, it's hilarious to hear Americans in London asking the way to Oxford. We may say 84th and Lexington, but Oxford Street never loses its last name.
Lofty: righty-o on that.
East Fourth Street in Manhattan is east of Fifth Ave.
East of Washington Square Park.
I've gotten many questions from tourists about why Fifth Ave. by Central Park is not called Central Park East.
"Certainly there's no North Moore Street. N Moore is actually Nathaniel Moore Street.
In particular, read the first reference from here...
Isle_of_Lucy, you missed an opportunity to reply "Yes, Virginia, there is North Moore Street". You've dissed the American Christmas legacy that Moore is an important part of.
^ HA! Thanks for pinch hitting, alanhart.
"I've never understood why there's an Independent station called (and persistently referred to as) "West 4th Street", not just "4th Street". "
Let me take a guess. The signs on the poles in the subway stations (not the ones behind the platform; please tell me that the awesome mosaiced signs still stand) usually have only a number if the station is a numbered street, right? 23rd Street is "23" and 33rd is "33". It's safe to abbreviate everything but the number because there's no 23 train or 33 train -- but with 4th street, people might see just a "4" on those poles and think they're on the 4 train. Do the poles say "W 4"?
West 4th street was named to avoid confustion with the South 4th street in Brooklyn that was part of the unbuilt IND Second System expansion.
"Do the poles say "W 4"?
Of course Matt knows what the Poles say.