Cross streets, not street numbers. Cab drivers and locals alike do not respond to street numbers well. It’s Mulberry Street between Prince and Houston (pronounced How-ston, not Hew-ston). Not 170 Mulberry Street. Saying it in your best American accent, will save you time too.
Subway, not cab. Believe it or not, trains are on time and frequent here (except in and out of Brooklyn-Manhattan on the weekends). So it’s almost always quicker to jump on the subway rather than hail a cab. That said, cabs are ridiculously cheap, so perfect and completely, utterly justified for short distances – particularly when heat, snow, slush or heels are involved (think US$5 for what would be at least a A$15 ride in Australia). Although it still beats me how to tell if they’re available.
Helpful, not hipster. The best thing about crowd-sourcing apps like Foursquare is that they actually work here. Well, in the sense that it’s kinda nice to have helpful hints and tips sourced from a crowd larger and more diverse than those in advertising and communications circles. So you’re not just using them with the people you sit across from every day (as awesome as they are).
Later, not earlier. Australia is a country made for mornings. New York is not. Unless you’re in banking, people generally don’t rock up to work earlier than 930-10am. No shop really opens until 11am. Brunch not until 11am or 12pm. Dinners booked around 9pm (make OpenTable your friend). And parties scheduled as early as 12am or 1am.
Delivery, not pick up. Well you can pick your food up. Or you could just have it delivered. Almost anything, anytime, anywhere. Detox juice? Ice-cream craving? Burger? ‘It’s 4am and I’m in a cab-delivery’ by the time I get home? Delivery to a bar that doesn’t have food on the menu? You got it.
Go, don’t read. One of the best things about New York is that those incredible entrepreneurs, designers, writers, musicians, dancers, actors (hello Jake Gyllenhaal), that you often read about actually live here. Hardly surprising, but an awesome reminder that they’re not just a Google search, blog feed or @Twitter away, but likely someone you can stalk a few blocks away speaking, hosting a [free] event or just hanging out.
Fahrenheit, not Celsius. To convert °F to °C, just minus 30, divide by 2. So 80°F – 30 / 2 = approx. 25°C.
Pounds, not kgs. 1 kg = 2.2 pounds. For example “I ate so many lobster rolls at Luke’s Lobster, tubs of guacamole at La Esquina, gelato macaroon sandwiches at Francois Payard Bakery, pulled pork buns and dark chocolate sea salt caramels at Brooklyn Flea, and Akamaru ramen bowls at Ippudo, I put on 9 pounds (not 4kgs)”. (NB: Ippudo, East Village – best ramen outside of Japan. Hands. Down.)
Put it in the calendar, not diary. A diary is something a 13yo teen writes in (well, used to.. perhaps password protects on a blog these days). A calendar is what you put appointments in for work.
Get wasted, not loose. Saying ‘get loose’ means ‘be sexually promiscuous’. So your friends don’t want to ‘get loose’, they want to get ‘drunk’. Tsk.
Candy, not lollies. A lolly is also something a 13yo teen eats. Like Chuppa Chups. Or Push Pops. Or Pez. Candy encompasses every sugary treat (including chocolate) from Snickers, to Skittles.
Sprite or 7-Up, not lemonade. Lemonade is the kind of drink kids make a cardboard stand for on their front lawn and sell for 50c a pop. So they can go buy ‘candy’. So if you really want to confuse a bartender, order a ‘vodka lemon lime bitters’ (bitters isn’t really stocked here).
Cilantro, not coriander.
Garbanzo beans, not chickpeas.
Peppers, not capsicum.
Courgette, not zuchinni… and so on.
‘ing’, not ‘ies’. Whilst Aussies love to abbreviate with ‘ies’ (mozzies, stubbies, boardies, breakie, tele), yanks love to add a good ‘ing’ (roof topping, biking, beaching, grilling [BBQ-ing]).
Chill, not chilled. Literally. ‘She’s chill’. Rather than ‘She’s chilled’. Sure.
Yes, not ‘really?’. No matter how well you know a person, you’ll be invited out to all sorts of parties, openings, day trips, summer weekends, festivals and so on, much more freely and frequently than most would offer in a smaller, more cliquey city like Sydney. From someone you’ve met for all of 5 minutes, to lovely clothes shop assistants and the like. To the point where it’s an anomaly not to meet someone new or experience something different every week. I hate to end on something cheesy, but it’s the way it should be, and a healthy reminder to branch out of the necessary, lovable but easy-to-confine-yourself-to Aussie contingent.