bridge and tunnel crowd

Definition: (noun phrase) People who come into Manhattan for shopping or entertainment (by a bridge or the Holland tunnel) but who don't live there and are therefore judged to be unimportant by its residents

Example: Jane and her friends had trouble getting into the fashionable club because they were recognized as members of the bridge and tunnel crowd.


“Already four years have passed since Bondage A Go-Go first opened its leather-clad doors. Purists said that it would never last -- that the bridge-and-tunnel crowd would overwhelm all the true fetish fans, leaving an acid-washed regurgitation of tequila-shot-chugging voyeurs.”
- Columnist Silke Tudor in SFWeekly

This expression brings to mind a classic 1976 New Yorker cover by Saul Steinberg. In the illustration “View of the World from 9th Avenue,” a few blocks of Manhattan take up the majority of the space. The rest of the United States is a small square beyond the vast Hudson River and Japan and China are only tiny blobs in the background.

If Bostonians believe that their city is the hub of the universe, New Yorkers believe that their city is the universe. In fact, New Yorkers, when elsewhere, often refer to New York as simply the city as though it were the only one. This linguistic phenomenon extends to one of the Big Apple’s better known citizens as well. Real estate tycoon Donald Trump is known as The Donald.

Although the phrase bridge and tunnel crowd (sometimes bridge and tunnel people or just bridge and tunnel) originated in New York, it has spread to other cities. The quote above is from San Francisco, where at least some of the natives seem to feel the same disdain for suburbanites who come into the city to go club-hopping.

by A. C. Kemp | March 25, 2004

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