There's been some talk over the past few years about the decline of the classic New York accent, but it seems like New Yorkers and public officials aren't quite ready to contribute to the death of "tawk" and "ahrange." When the Department of Transportation installed audio recordings at over a dozen intersections to aid the visually impaired while crossing the street, they enlisted the Transportation Department's supervisor electrician and a native Brooklynite, Dennis Ferrara, to provide an, ah, authentic New York voice recording.
Ferrara's dialect is a prime example of the very accent that's been disappearing over the years. At crosswalks in places like Downtown Brooklyn and Astoria, the Gerritsen Beach resident reminds pedestrians the "wawk" sign is on, and lets Manhattan pedestrians know they're crossing "Brawdway." And Ferrara's accent is instantly recognized by tourists and natives alike as distinctly New Yawk— an Alphabet City resident immediately pinpointed the voice as "from Brooklyn" when she heard one of Ferrara's recordings while crossing at East 23rd St., according to a Times article printed today.
Is the New York accent beautiful, guttural, in decline or booming? The pros and cons of maintaining the accent or shedding it have been debated for a while. Either way, we've compiled a few clips from films that celebrate "New Yawk" in all its low back chain shift glory:
From Woody Allen's Broadway Danny Rose:
An instructional video on how to speak like a New Yorker:
And from the documentary If These Knishes Could Talk: The Story of the New York Accent: