Friday, May 22, 2009

Everyone is "down the shore"

Friday, start of the Memorial Day week-end and it is deadly quiet here in South Philly - maybe even all over the city.

Folks in Philly go "down the shore" in the summer. Not to the beach but down the shore. It's a south Jersey thing. I googled the phrase and indeed it is described as a South Jersey locution. And, as we are quickly learning, Philadelphia is just a suburb of South Jersey.

I'm from New York City and when I say the City I mean the whole damn place, all 5 five boroughs, even Staten Island, which is only nominally in NYC. There is a tradition in NYC that people who live in Brooklyn and Queens refer to Manhattan as "the city". I don't know what folks in the Bronx call Manhattan, maybe they to refer to Manhattan that way as well.

I suppose I did too when I was a teenager in Queens but as a young adult, we are talking the mid-1960's, I socialized in Manhattan and most of the people I knew were from out of town, come to the "city" to seek fame and fortune. They were totally unaware that NYC was actually 5 boroughs. I was at a party on the upper East side and I was asked where I lived. I said "Jamaica" - which is a neighborhood in Queens. They replied "Wow, that is some commute" and they were serious. I spent a lot of time explaining to these folks the geographical make-up of New York City. I learned to refer to each borough by it's name, less confusing. On the other hand old time NY'ers will ask me if I am a native NY'er simply because I do do that. Their experience is Manhattan is the "city" and if you call it Manhattan then you can't be a native NY'er. I call those folks assholes.

So where was I? I think I had a point when I started this but now I'm not so sure. We kinda make fun of "down the shore", my husband and I. We find it amusing. When we say it you can hear the italics. Where I'm from we call it the beach - Jones Beach, Orchard Beach , Rockaway Beach - you know, the Atlantic Ocean and sand. My husband is from Boston and I don't think they have beaches - they have ocean and rocks but not much in the way of sand. In Vermont, when they say they are going to the beach they mean a lake - again, not much in the way of sand, I can tell ya.

The beach has an ocean and sand. Anything else is not a beach. Technically speaking it is a shore, but I'd rather go to the beach.

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