New York City Terminology

On the way to the garment district by way of the Long Island Railroad

Help prepare yourself for New York City with the following vocabulary words:

  • Train – The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) subway system is referred to as the “train” by most New Yorkers. For instance, the route number 7 subway would be called the “seven train.”
  • Railroad – The Long Island Railroad is referred to by its initials, “LIRR.” Metro-North, the New Jersey Transit and Amtrak have no special nicknames.
  • Uptown and Downtown – “Uptown” always means the direction going north and “downtown” always means the direction going south. There is no “center of town” as you might normally think of it.
  • Borough – New York City is composed of five sections, or boroughs, which will become familiar to you once you start using a subway map. The five boroughs are Manhattan, The Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island. If someone refers to “boroughs” in general, they may not be including Manhattan, for instance, “Well, if you’re looking for a less expensive apartment, let’s talk about the boroughs.” This statement refers to the boroughs outside of Manhattan.
  • New York – The city of “New York” is usually spoken by its residents without the word “city” added to it. For example, the official address for a letter is “New York, New York,” followed by a zip code. When the city of New York is referred to by its initials, it is usually designated NYC, but remember that most people around town will be saying only, “New York.”