10 NYC Words You’re Probably Pronouncing Wrong

We’ve been messing up Joralemon this whole time

When you live in a city with as long and diverse a history as NYC, a few things are givens: access to every kind of food under the sun, and a handful of street names that may as well be tongue twisters to an English speaker. Not to worry: Here’s your handy cheat sheet to the pronunciation of the city’s most baffling words.

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The wrong way: Jore-a-lemon

The right way: Jer-all-a-mon

Aka the site of a secret subway tunnel.



The wong way: Mow-jer

The right way: Moy-jer

A street in Williamsburg, named for a 19th-century councilman.

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The wrong way: Sher-mer-horn

The right way: Skem-er-horn or skim-er-horn

Fun fact: Michael Jackson’s “Bad” video was filmed at the Hoyt-Schermerhorn subway station.



The wrong way: Naw-strand

The right way: No-strand

It’s actually a shortened version of the Dutch name Noorstrandt.

spuyten duyvil bronx 728

Spuyten Duyvil

The wrong way: Spoo-ten doo-vil

The right way: Spy-ten dye-vul

A lovely neighborhood in the Bronx, whose name means, incongruously, “spitting devil.”



The wrong way: Tell-y

The right way: Fuh-tell-y

Named for the engineer who designed the New Croton Dam (a major source of NYC’s water supply, people).


The wrong way: Midd-uh

The right way: Mid-aww

As in, “Aww, what a cute tree-lined block.”


Ten Eyck 

The wrong way: Ten ache

The right way: Ten ike

A Dutch name that means “the oaks.”


The wrong way: Whatever you end up with when you try to sound it out

The right way: Koss-ee-you-sko or Ko-shoo-sko

A Polish military leader who fought for the U.S. in the Revolutionary War.



Honestly, anything goes.

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From 2016-2019 Carolyn Kuang-chen Stanley held the role of Editor covering food, travel and all things nyc.