Last night my wife and I took a walk through East Harlem to have a pizza at one of the few remaining Italian restaurants that have survived the neighborhood's transition from an Italian slum to a black and Hispanic slum. We headed up to Patsy's between 117th and 118th on 1st Avenue where, in our estimation, their coal-fired brick oven yields some of New York's best pizza.
We walked home as well through the crowded streets on a hot Saturday night. Around 114th I heard this bit of kibbitzing--a 30-something guy ragging a 30-something woman.
"Just because your head is shaped like a bullet don't mean you're a big shot."
And evidence once again that the language of real people is real language.
Which is why it makes sense to walk and listen, or take the train and eavesdrop, or talk to cabdrivers when you decide to cab it.
New York, if you listen well enough, has an electric, living language.
The language you don't get from briefs.