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.
10 NYC Words You’re Probably Pronouncing Wrong
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.
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.
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.”
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.