Recently a friend residing in Williamsburg said he was going to "the city" for the evening—meaning, of course, Manhattan—which raised some eyebrows when the terminology was brought to the table at Gothamist HQ.

According to some fast and loose corners of The Internet, the reason that some people call it "the city" is that "Manhattan is the center of New York City and the New York metropolitan region, hosting the seat of city government and a large portion of the area's employment, business, and entertainment activities," and therefore residents of the other four boroughs sometimes "refer to a trip to Manhattan as 'going to the city,' despite the comparable populations between those boroughs."

The Gothamist office is nearly split—a quick raise of hands showed that out of the 9 people who participated in our scientific poll, 4 admitted to calling Manhattan "the city." In one corner, we have John Del Signore (who hails from the Albany area) arguing, "We are ALL the city, even those of us who reside in Staten Island, but elitist real estate masterminds have succeeded in convincing New Yorkers of Manhattan's pseudo-significance. I, for one, refuse to submit to the soft bigotry of Manhattan exceptionalism, and have never hesitated to correct anyone who insults New York City's other four boroughs by mislabeling that arrogant little overpriced island across from New Jersey as 'the city.' This is probably why I have so few friends. That, and what some people have mislabeled 'pretentiousness.'"

Representing those who deem Manhattan "the city" is Jake Dobkin (a native New Yorker, raised in Brooklyn), who says: "I disagree with John. I think we outer-borough residents call Manhattan 'the city' as a way of separating ourselves from its hegemony—as a way of repudiating its values of consumerism and celebrity. We, the everymen and women of Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island, have much in common with our rural forebears, in that we think of Manhattan as a boiling cesspit of disease and despair, surely a product of Satan that we refuse to associate ourselves with."