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B. and T. ???

New York
Level Contributor
3,945 posts
B. and T. ???

Bridge and Tunnel -

This phrase has come up in a couple of recent posts, and I gotta say it's always sort of bothered me. (NYCDave - I know you used quotation marks in the the other thread, so this is not really directed at you).

It always seemed to me to be such a condescending, classist term. I associate it with recent arrivals intent on proving how cool they are for living in Manhattan. When one considers that Manhattan is an island, and that only 20% of the city lives there, most of use bridges and tunnels every day...Ironically, I lived on Staten Island for 10 years. In many ways, that is an epicenter for the demographic associated with the term. But if you take a ferry into "the city" how can you be "bridge & tunnel"?

I know, I know: the phrase generally connotes New Jerseyness - But I feel that if you really have a problem with people from a certain region, you should come out and say it rather than resorting to such a smarmy, coded epithet.

Rant over.

Brooklyn, New York
Level Contributor
6,530 posts
29 reviews
1. Re: B. and T. ???

No question that it's a disparaging neologism. But it, along with BBQ's (people from Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens), was originated by chi-chi club owners and later restaurant employees to describe the people who they didn't particularly want in their establishments.

Regarding "Bridge and Tunnel" ... you can thank Steve Rubell and Studio 54...

The earliest known instance of this phrase in print is the December 13, 1977, edition of the New York Times:

"On the weekends, we get all the bridge and tunnel people who try to get in," he said.

Elizabeth Fondaras, a pillar of the city’s conservative social scene, who has just told Steve Rubell she had never tried to get into Studio 54 for fear of being rejected, asked who the bridge and tunnel people were.

"Those people from Queens and Staten Island and those places," he said.

Brooklyn, New York
Level Contributor
6,530 posts
29 reviews
2. Re: B. and T. ???

I had one purchase left in my NYT archive fund - so here's the original article that coined the phrase...


Central Village...
Level Contributor
18,120 posts
3. Re: B. and T. ???

So, I guess I'm a M.N.P. (Metro North person).


And if you're looking for the source of that - I just made it up.


New York City, New...
Level Contributor
921 posts
1 review
4. Re: B. and T. ???

Strange that even in SD when I was in college and Studio 54 was in its heyday, I remember this phrase being used to describe non residents of Manhattan and their attempts/failure to gain entrance into this club.

In that article, it appeared that those who used the term were quite proud of it and also of their being able to live in Manhattan.

What interests/bothers me now that I actually live in Manhattan, is that there are other phrases used to distinguish NYers according to where they reside.

Also, to speak to fellow Manhattanites and have them talk about others in a degrading way because of where they live is disturbing.

For a city that considers itself America's melting pot, there are strict divisions according not only to where you live, but also where you work, your income, what you wear, whether you take the subway or taxi to transport yourself around the city, what restaurants you go to, where your kids go to school......the list of class division goes on and on.

Even in TV shows, Saturday Night Live comes to mind, the basis of their comedy routines is based on a groups lifestyles and the items listed above.

Sad that I received a PM yesterday asking me to look within myself and realize my prejudices when all around us in this great city there are negative (and sadly, accepted) ways of looking at people and judging them. Racism takes many forms....even if only to call someone a B & T person!!

Level Contributor
3,422 posts
6 reviews
5. Re: B. and T. ???

I don't really find the term particularly offensive..nor did I really use it when I lived in Manhattan. It might have had some merit in the 70's & 80's, and even pre-Guiliani 90's.

But let's face reality...Manhattan nightlife is not what it was 20 years ago...(and people will say the same thing in 20 years..when clubbing consists of Vitamin Water bottle service, and go-go's provacatively showing a little bit of ankle.)

There is nothing particularly cool going on in Manhattan that can't be found in the outer boroughs, nor other cities for that matter.

Let's not even get into the fact that you have 20-year-olds fresh from the suburbs who live in dorms using the term.

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
871 posts
24 reviews
6. Re: B. and T. ???

Hey, if it's any difference, neither I nor most of the people I know consider it to apply to anyone in Bronx, Brooklyn, or Queens -- but the second you cross the Nassau County line, you're B&T.

At this point, enough of the hip people, the parties, the art, and the cool-but-impoverished partiers live in the outerboroughs that they're no longer considered "outside" of the city. Which I think is a good thing.

I still have no problem using B&T to refer to those people who live outside the city, and more importantly, lack a sense of the place, yet basically come in just to make drunk fools of themselves like brits going on a stag weekend in Prague.

Thats what *I* mean when I talk bridge and tunnel, at least.

I mean, I suppose I could just as easily tag it the "Hair gel and Axe set" :-P

Queens, New York
Level Contributor
25,046 posts
12 reviews
7. Re: B. and T. ???

"...is that there are other phrases used to distinguish NYers according to where they reside."

Sure. You simply say, "a-hole from..." and then say the neighborhood.

Brooklyn, New York
Level Contributor
6,530 posts
29 reviews
8. Re: B. and T. ???

When I lived in Greenwich Village in the late 80's and then in the East Village in the early 90's I'm sure I used the term more than once to describe the crowds that drunkenly weaved through the streets of my 'hood on a Saturday night ;-)

Brooklyn, NY
Level Contributor
5,792 posts
1 review
9. Re: B. and T. ???

Hey ..... just cause we come from another planet doesn't make us all nuts. No all those SP's out there will just have to read about us someday in the history books. It's not about how to avoid SP's. No it's ..... it's all precisely about those PTSP's ..... but how do you shatter or confront that oppression ? Re-read KSW would you. It's all there in black and white. LRH is a genuis !! (picture me jumping up and down on the couch). And another thing ..... vacation ??? ..... did you just ask me about a vaction ..... well who the heck has time for a vacation when I'm way too busy fighting the fight and creating new realities.

So everyone ..... drink the Koolade and shut up until the mother ship comes back for us all. Now ..... "Beam me up TomKat."

Level Contributor
1,419 posts
13 reviews
10. Re: B. and T. ???

Poppa: we may take Metro North, but we still have to cross a bridge to get into Manhattan.

I don't think just because we live in the burbs means we have no sense of place!