The language of Seinfeld

There are many modes of communication in New York that initially were foreign to me: train line conversation, which consists of figuring out the fastest routes around town (“I never switch to the 2/3 at Atlantic-Pacific, because it takes forever”), the requisite nod and hello to doormen (you always initiate), and the loud rather than polite excuse me (everything in this city is loud).

But one language I am quite proficient if not fluent in is the language of Seinfeld, which is spoken freely and naturally all over this city. If you can reference a Seinfeld episode in New York, you will feel a bit more at home here, whether or not you’re a true New Yorker.

Last night at a restaurant, the guy at the table next to me had his overstuffed wallet lying on the table. The waiter noticed it as he came up to the diner to collect the check. “Nice George Costanza wallet,” the waiter said. The diner knew exactly what the waiter was talking about, laughed, and said thanks.

You’re well-served in this city if you watched “Seinfeld,” a lot, at least if you’re in the Upper West Side and Brooklyn.

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About elainemeyer
I'm a writer and editor. I work in communications at the Columbia School of Public Health, where I write about epidemiologic research. In the past I've worked as a reporter and studied journalism and history in school.

2 Responses to The language of Seinfeld

  1. NYC Educator says:

    That’s good advice to include in a travel advisory. And expanded, I think it would make a really interesting article.

  2. elainemeyer says:


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