Bridge and tunnel

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This article is about the descriptive geographic term. For the Off-Broadway show, see Bridge and Tunnel (play).

Bridge and tunnel (often abbreviated B&T or BNT) is a pejorative term for people who commute to New York City from surrounding communities outside the area served by the city's Metropolitan Transportation Authority, a trip that, due to New York's geography, requires passing over a bridge and/or through a tunnel in a car. It is especially used in reference more for those who travel into the city from New Jersey and Long island.

Etymology[edit]

Though the term originates from the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority[citation needed], it has come to encompass all people who originate commute from outside of the New York metro area, including Connecticut, Long Island, New Jersey, and Upstate New York. As the Oxford Dictionaries explains: a bridge-and-tunnel person is one who lives in the suburbs and is perceived as unsophisticated.[1]

Origin[edit]

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

"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 New Jersey and Long Island and those places," he said.

Comparisons[edit]

"Bridge and tunnel" was later adopted in San Francisco in reference to party-goers who live outside San Francisco,[2] as an ironic reference to this original usage, although the term is not always derogatory.[3] Residents of the Peninsula and South Bay take commuter trains (Caltrain or BART, each of which has several tunnels) and freeways (I-280 and US 101, which do not) to visit city hot-spots but do not actually live in San Francisco. Residents from the East Bay typically drive or take a bus across the Bay Bridge (and Yerba Buena Tunnel) to reach San Francisco, or take BART through the Transbay Tube. The commute into San Francisco from Marin County also involves a bridge (the Golden Gate) and tunnel (Waldo).[citation needed]

In Southern California, the term "909er" (a reference to Area Code 909) has come to have a similar, derogatory meaning for people coming from areas inland of Los Angeles, Orange County, and Riverside County, which has the 909 area code.[citation needed]

The term has been adopted in Boston to refer to young people who reside outside of Boston's core neighborhoods of Back Bay, Bay Village, Beacon Hill, Leather District, South End, North End, and the West End. Given Boston's natural and manmade geography, individuals from other neighborhoods in Boston must access the city's social center via one of the various bridges or tunnels that lead into central Boston.[citation needed]

In Southern Ontario, the term "905er" (a reference to Area Code 905) has come to have a similar meaning for the suburb area surrounding Toronto-proper, including areas such as York Region, Pickering, and Oshawa.[citation needed]

In popular culture[edit]

Film[edit]

  • The movie Loser (2000) makes a reference to bridge-and-tunnel girls when one of the Jason Biggs’s ex-roommates calls his girlfriend by that term.
  • In Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (2008), Norah makes a reference to Nick's being "bridge and tunnel", to which Caroline replies, "If he's bridge and tunnel, what does that make us?"
  • In The Dark Knight (2008), the Joker tricks Gotham into escaping via ferry by having his hostage declare on the news that "... the bridge-and-tunnel crowd are sure in for a surprise."
  • In Greenberg (2010), Roger Greenberg, who resides in New York, doesn't want to go to a bar in L.A. because it's "probably full of bridge-and-tunnel people. Or whatever the L.A. version of bridge and tunnel is."[4]
  • In Paranoia (2013), Emma makes a reference to Adam's being "bridge and tunnel", after her attempt to lose Adam after their one night stand.
  • Bridge and Tunnel (2014) is a feature film written and directed by Jason Michael Brescia, set in Long Island, NY.

Music[edit]

  • Bridge and Tunnel are a New York punk/post-hardcore band, with a number of releases on the No Idea Records label.
  • The Honorary Title, a New York rock band, released a song called "Bridge and Tunnel" as a single from their 2004 album Anything Else but the Truth.
  • Holy Ghost!, a Brooklyn synthpop duo, have a song called "Bridge and Tunnel" on their 2013 album Dynamics.

Television[edit]

  • In the first season of the television comedy 30 Rock, Liz Lemon's boyfriend is referred to as being "a little bridge and tunnel."

Theater[edit]

  • Bridge & Tunnel is the title of a 2006 critically acclaimed, Tony Award-winning Broadway play

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "bridge-and-tunnel". Oxford Dictionaries. Retrieved 23 June 2013. 
  2. ^ Sonny Smith (2008-09-30). "About his narcissistic helpless universe". San Francisco Examiner. 
  3. ^ Paul Liberatore (2008-09-22). "Young teacher uses art to help youths tap own voices". Marin Independent Journal. 
  4. ^ focusfeatures.com