A new job, a new love, a change of pace, or a course of study. Whatever the catalyst is for your move to New York City, now you’re local – a.k.a. a ‘New Yorker’.

A pipe dream turned into a reality with a move to a city as iconic as NYC can be scary and exciting in equal measure. If you’ve achieved the moving-to-NYC milestone of searching for and securing an apartment, the rest will be the icing on the cake.

It may one of the world’s and most expensive and fast-paced cities, yet for those in the know, NYC offers the chance of unparalleled adventure and opportunity. New York’s diversity has plenty to offer from unlimited culinary options, world-class entertainment, famous skyline views, and high-level career advancement.

To help you start out we’ve selected some essential turns of phrases only translatable in the New York City accent.


NYC newbie 101: Get around the city and meet new people

Making great connections can make you feel at home. It can be overwhelming to make new friends, let alone meet someone special in a city of more than eight million people. However, learning some local colloquialisms for everyday NYC life will help you engage with your local community, navigate the city and establish a new routine. Blueground offers fully-furnished, equipped and serviced apartments in some of the world's most sought after cities. Okay, but first coffee:

NYC coffee comes with sugar by default.

Be sure to ask for “No sugar” if you want your coffee sugar free

“Regular Coffee” is coffee with milk and sugar

“Dark” is coffee with just a little milk

“Lite or light” is light-colored coffee with more milk than a “regular”

“Sweet and lite” is a coffee with lot’s of sugar and milk

coffee to go on brooklyn bridge

Tip: Coffee shops make places for making new friends and alternative places to work from. A great way to meet people is through friends of friends. When you’re starting out in the city put your feelers out for any introductions to like-minded people to connect with over coffee.


Understanding the accent

New York City is the most linguistically diverse city in the world with up to 800 spoken languages. However, there are some distinct characteristics of New Yorker accents for your ears to come accustomed to. Listen out for ‘r-less speech’ – words that drop the r, like “water”, pronounced like “wa-ta”. Or the broadening of the vowels, where “awful” sounds like “awe-ful”.

There are even some famous phrases coined in New York City that have now become globally commonplace terms. A “sidekick” originated from the street slang term “buddy” back in the 19th century, as a reference to pickpocketing. The side pockets of a pair of “kicks” – a pair of trousers – were difficult for pickpockets to reach and therefore reliable, like a trusted friend by your side. The 1970s music movement in Lower Manhattan bore the phrase “punk rock”. And a decade before the term “blast from the past” was originally dropped into vocabulary by NYC DJ Murray the K in reference to old records.

Fast forward to the present and there are some essential phrases that haven’t yet left the city.


Find your bearings

“The Subway”

It may be called the metro or the underground where you’re from, but in NYC your going to travel by subway or train.

Handy hint: To navigate the subway by map, note that some stops have black dots and others have white dots. Black dots are “local” stations for trains that make every stop on the line. White dots are “express” stations and all trains on a line stop there. New Yorkers don’t call the train lines by their colors, so reference the subway line that you need by letter or number. And if you’re averse to going underground you can get around by walking, biking or the bus.

“Uptown or Downtown?”

In New York, this translates as Uptown (North) or Downtown (South) for the direction of subway trains. Travel apps are also essential to navigating the subway and moving around New York City. We recommend Citymapper – the ultimate navigation app – for covering all bases for methods of transport. Specifically for the subway, Kickmap has 24-7 subway maps, and Exit Strategy, which works offline, offers a handy feature that highlights which side train doors will open.


Every day amenities

“Bodega” and “Deli”

Small convenience stores are referred to as “bodegas”. Found on every other street corner, these stores are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year taking convenience and late-night snacking to the next level. A ‘delicatessen’ is shortened to ‘deli’ in NYC, a retail area selling fresh salads, cured meats, and cheeses. It’s also a regular spot for New Yorkers to pick up a made-to-order sandwich.

“On line” not “In line”

A true New York-ism. The rest of the world waits in line, whilst in NYC you wait on line.


Not to be mistaken for something sweet or covered in pastry, a “pie” refers to a pizza. NYC and pizza culture go hand-in-hand. The classic way to master eating a “slice” (never a piece) of “pie” like a New Yorker is standing nonchalantly on the street.




This term refers to a district. New York City is made up of five boroughs – Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island. Each borough is diverse with its own culture and local president.

In fact, the ten-block radius surrounding your apartment is a sacred space that should offer all the amenities you need to feel at home. Where you stay has a crucial impact on your everyday routine. A well-located apartment can minimize a daily commute or open up your options for after-hour leisure activities. Whether that means being close to a subway stop, a yoga studio, or local bars. Your zip code can even symbolize prestige, complimenting your personality and desired lifestyle.

facade view of building in soho nyc

Blueground selects apartments in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn’s most sought-after areas, as we know that buying into a new apartment can equally mean to buy into a new lifestyle. Their “no-fee” listings break free from the traditional methods of searching for a New York apartment with a broker. This means their tenants can opt to live in their furnished apartments across the best areas without the extra fees accrued with finding an apartment through a broker.

In New York, you’ll get to know neighborhoods by their nicknames.

“SoHo” aka South of Houston Street

This is a trendy part of town known for independent retail stores and contemporary art galleries.

“NoHo” aka North of Houston Street

A classy residential area attracting artistic crowds to its creative landmarks and cafe culture.

“FiDi” aka Financial District

A hub for financial and tech business by day, switching gear by night into a lively bar scene.

“Nolita” aka North of Little Italy

A relaxed downtown neighborhood with low-key coffee shops and options for dining out.


Keep your options open

Each New York neighborhood has its own unique charms and amenities. It can be challenging to decide which borough is best to live in when moving to a new city. A solution can be a move-in ready Blueground short-term rental. Their apartments offer flexible leases for stays from 1-12 months with the option to move between apartments, pending availability. Being free to rent between high-quality apartments across the best areas of the city puts the tenant in the driving seat to live the New York lifestyle most suited to them.

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