When something is important to us, we develop numerous different ways to refer to it. Think of all the different ways you can say beer, for instance, and you’ll understand what we mean.
If you were to make a list of the most important cities in the United States, we’d be willing to bet New York City would be at or near the top of that list. As such, people have developed dozens of nicknames for this grand metropolis over the years.
In this post, we’re going to be taking a look at all the New York City nicknames we could find. If we could find information on where those nicknames came from, we’ll also explain their origins for you.
New York City Nicknames
NYC is one of the largest population centers in the United States. For many, it is the gateway to the rest of the United States, so it’s little wonder that many people have referred to it as America’s City.
America’s Leading Tourist Resort
There’s no denying the touristic power of New York City. Millions of people travel there on their vacations each year to drink in the sights and sounds, earning the nickname America’s Leading Tourist Resort.
The word “mecca” is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as a location that’s central to the interests of a specific group. America’s Mecca is a nickname in line with America’s City – it simply calls the sprawling city central to the rest of the country.
There are tens of thousands of taxis in New York City alone. It’s not surprising to us that many people call it Cab City as a result.
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You might not have known this, but the word “knickerbocker” has its origins in New York. Early Dutch settlers in the area wore these pants, and one of the families in the area was called Knickerbocker.
In 1966, Mayor John Lindsay called New York “a fun city,” and thus this nickname was born. It’s stuck around ever since.
Because immigrants often pass through New York City, the city is sometimes also called “Golden Door.” It’s a reference to how the city functions as a door to the rest of the nation.
Many people assume that the nickname Gotham comes from the Batman series. However, the nickname actually has much earlier origins than that, when famous writer Washington Irving dubbed it Gotham in his periodical Salmagundi.
Hong Kong on the Hudson
The nickname Hong Kong on the Hudson references the large population of Chinese citizens in New York City. There are many other nicknames that reference other ethnic groups within city limits, too.
Little Spaces Big City
With so many buildings crowded into the city limits, it’s not shocking that some have taken to calling NYC Little Spaces, Big City.
This is another comic book-based nickname. Metropolis is also the main location in the world of Superman, although the word itself comes from much earlier.
Before it was captured by England after a war in 1665, the area NYC is located in used to be called New Amsterdam. This is because it was settled by Dutch colonists.
No matter where you’re from, you’ve probably seen those famous shirts that say, “I Heart NY.” NY is just an abbreviation for New York, something that’s often applied to both the city and the state.
If you want to avoid confusion, the best acronym to use is “NYC.” The letters stand for New York City, making it specific which city you’re referring to.
Most people know that NYC is famously referred to as “the Big Apple” (which we’ll discuss more later). One especially cutting nickname that condemns the corruption in the city plays off this famous nickname by calling it the Rotten Apple instead.
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The Babylonian Bedlam
There are tons of nicknames that start with “the,” singularizing New York City as a city of utmost importance. The Babylonian Bedlam is the first example we were able to find.
The Baghdad of the Subway
This nickname is a lot like Hong Kong on the Hudson. It references another large ethnic group present in the city.
The Banking Center of the World
With the presence of Wall Street and many of the world’s largest banks, it shouldn’t surprise any that NYC is frequently referred to as the Banking Center of the World.
The Big Apple
The Big Apple is easily one of the most well-known nicknames for New York City out there. If you’re wondering where it came from, it was first used in the 1920s by a sports writer named John J. Fitz Gerald.
The Big Burg
Google defines burg as an old-fashioned town with walls. NYC doesn’t have walls, per se, but it is one of the largest cities out there, so it makes sense to call it the Big Burg.
The Big Town
This nickname is pretty self-explanatory. New York City is far larger than a town these days but calling it the Big Town kind of pokes fun at its size.
The Biggest Gateway to Immigrants
This is another self-explanatory nickname. Numerous immigrants pass through New York City when they first move to the United States, making it the Biggest Gateway to Immigrants in the country.
The Business Capital of the Nation
When you think of trendy businesses, we’d be surprised if one of the first images that comes to mind isn’t bustling Times Square or Wall Street. With such prominent commercial locations, we’re not surprised some people call it the Business Capital of the Nation.
The Business Capital of the World
The Business Capital of the World takes the sentiment from the previous nickname and expands it. Many people view it as one of the most important financial points in the world, if not the most important.
The Capital of Finance
The Capital of Finance is the same as the previous two nicknames. It comments on NYC’s financial importance around the world.
The Capital of the World
E.B. White, author of the famous book Charlotte’s Web, was the first person to coin the nickname The Capital of the World. However, a more recent famous figure has also referred to NYC by this name: Rudy Giuliani.
The Center of the Universe
There are actually a number of locations jokingly referred to as “the Center of the Universe.” NYC, or more specifically Manhattan and Times Square, are also frequently called by this moniker.
If we asked you to close your eyes and picture a city, one of the first things you’d probably imagine is towering skyscrapers in New York City. It doesn’t take much to see why NYC is sometimes just called “the City.”
The City of Cities
New York City is one of the largest cities in the world and it has global connections to numerous other cities like a giant hub. It isn’t a stretch that some people refer to it as the City of Cities.
The City of Dreams
Tons of people head to NYC, envisioning it as a place where they can make their dreams reality. Many small business owners are among these dreamers – in fact, some sources estimate that 99.8% of businesses in NYC can be defined as “small.” It’s easy to see how it got the nickname the City of Dreams!
The City of Everything
With such a large population and so many businesses crowding the streets, it’s easy to find virtually anything you could possibly want in New York City. This has earned it the name the City of Everything.
The City of Islands
There are a number of small islands within the city borders, including the famous Manhattan. This is why many people call NYC the City of Islands.
The City of Light
If you were to walk the streets of NYC in the evening or at night, you’d have no trouble seeing because it’s filled with lights from businesses, streetlights, and giant billboards. That’s how it got its name, the City of Light.
The City of Neon and Chrome
The City of Neon and Chrome comes from a famous Broadway musical called Rent. It’s easy to see how a giant city filled with bright neon lights and chrome structures would be called by this title.
The City of Orchestras
There are a surprising number of prestigious orchestras based in NYC. It makes perfect sense for it to sometimes be referred to as the City of Orchestras.
The City of Skyscrapers
What’s one thing New York City is best known for? We’d say it’s all the impressive skyscrapers crowding the skyline, making this entry a fitting nickname.
The City of the World
You can’t escape New York’s massive cultural influence. Because of all its ethnic bubbles and connections, many envision it as the City of the World.
The City of Towers
Like with the City of Skyscrapers, it doesn’t take much thinking to figure out why NYC gets called the City of Towers. It’s packed with towers of all shapes and sizes.
The City So Nice They Named it Twice
This name comes from the fact that both the city and the state are called New York. It was first coined by a jazz singer named John Hendricks in the 1959.
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The City that Belongs to the World
This one is a lot like The City of the World or The Capital of the World. NYC is a major hub city connected to many others, which is likely where this nickname comes from.
The City that Never Sleeps
There’s always something going on New York City. It doesn’t matter how late (or early) it is. Perhaps this is why the name The City that Never Sleeps was applied to it in 1912 in the Fort Wayne Newspaper.
The Coliseum City
We couldn’t really find any solid history on why New York City got the name the Coliseum City, but it’s easy to draw parallels between this name and other historical empires. Rome, for example, was known for its large and elaborate coliseums. Maybe that’s where this name came from.
The Commercial Emporium
The Commercial Emporium again references New York City’s importance in world’s financial stage. You’ll see many other nicknames referring to its market importance.
The Concrete Jungle
The Concrete Jungle, another one of NYC’s most popular nicknames, has murky origins. Some speculate that it may have come from a 1949 book called The Jungle.
The Corporate Capital of America
This is another nickname that refers to New York’s commercial importance. Many of the largest companies in the country have headquarters or important offices there.
The Crossroads of the World
Business Insider states that over 3,000 commercial flights zoom through New York every single day. Many of these flights come from around the world, making it an undeniable global crossroads.
The Cuisine Capital of the World
Did you know that New York is also packed with world-famous restaurants? With over 60 Michelin-star restaurants, we think New York has earned its title as the Cuisine Capital of the World.
The Cultural City
We’ve said a few times in this list already that there are many different cultures that come together in New York. Because of this, it has many nicknames similar in nature to the Cultural City.
The Empire City
This might be one of the oldest nicknames for New York on the list! In fact, George Washington was the first to call it “the seat of the empire,” which is where this nickname comes from.
The Entertainment Capital of the World
Most people probably think of LA when they think of the entertainment industry in the United States, but New York is also vital to entertainment. With numerous shows, movies, and books that take place there, as well as the ever-popular Broadway, we think it could definitely be called the Entertainment Capital of the World.
The Fashion Capital of the World
New York isn’t just the capitals of the culinary, financial, and entertainment worlds. Many call it the Fashion Capital of the World, too!
The Financial Hub
There are numerous nicknames referencing New York’s powerful presence in the world of finance. This is another one of them.
The Five Boroughs
In 1898, five counties came together to form the New York City of today. That’s where the famous nickname the Five Boroughs comes from.
The Front Office of American Business
When you think about what a front office is for – representing the face of a business – it makes sense that many businessmen and women call NYC the Front Office of American Business.
The Greatest All-Year Round Vacation City
Here is another nickname that points to New York’s popularity as a tourist destination. People love to visit the city year-round.
The Greatest City in the World
The name the Greatest City in the World points to New York’s diverse culture and financial prominence.
The Greatest Industrial Center in the World
This is another name that references New York’s powerful commercial profile. It truly is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to the financial world.
The Headquarters of World Banking
Like many other businesses, there are quite a few banks headquartered in NYC. As a result, some call it the Headquarters of World Banking.
The Host of the World
Every day, numerous global events, both large and small, take place in New York. That’s what makes it a perfect world host!
The Hub of Transport
Think about all the transportation methods used in New York today. The streets are crowded with cars and taxis, the skies are crisscrossed by planes, and the underground is striped with subways. New York City truly is the Hub of Transport.
The Information City
We’re not 100% sure why New York has the nickname the Information City, but it makes sense. Many tech-based businesses and newspapers have important offices there.
The Media City
The prevalence of the entertainment industry in NYC gives it the nickname the Media City. This is another pseudonym that makes perfect sense, in our opinion.
The Melting Pot
You’ve probably heard someone call New York the Melting Pot before. This is a reference to how numerous different cultures come together and live side-by-side in the city. It was first used by the writer Israel Zangwill in the 1908 play also called The Melting Pot.
The Metropolitan City
An area that can be described as “metropolitan” is one with an incredibly dense population, just like NYC. The Metropolitan City is a well-fitting nickname for the region.
The Modern Gomorrah
Gomorrah is an infamous biblical city that, according to the Bible, was destroyed by God due to the extreme corruption present there. The Modern Gomorrah is a nickname that condemns the presence of organized crime in New York City.
The Money Town
With tons of nicknames referring to New York’s financial persona, it’s not surprising that some people decide to go much simpler with something like the Money Town.
The Movie-Making City
You might be shocked at the number of movies set in NYC. While not necessarily all are filmed there, it’s still inarguable that it deserves the name the Movie-Making City.
The Nation’s First City
New York wasn’t the first city founded in the United States, but it was certainly one of the largest early cities.
The Port of Many Ports
As we’ve mentioned before a couple times in this list, there are many people that pass through NYC on a daily basis. That’s where this nickname comes from.
The Restaurant City
Sources vary when it comes to providing an exact number of restaurants in NYC. However, there are many, and quite a few of them are world-famous. Calling it the Restaurant City really isn’t a stretch.
The Science City
The New York Hall of Science is far from the only scientific-based establishment in the city. With all the medical and research facilities there, you might find the Science City to be a fitting name for it.
The Super City
The Super City is another self-explanatory name. NYC is a massive city, and it makes total sense to say it’s super-sized.
The Vacation City
In 2017, NYC made more than $44 billion on the tourism industry. It’s the ultimate Vacation City.
The Wonder City
This name might sound a little too whimsical, especially if you’re someone who’s lived in New York City all your life. However, for many people, it really is a wonder, earning it this particular name.
The World’s Fair City
In case you’ve never heard of it, the World’s Fair is a global event designed to display the achievements of all nations. It’s been hosted by New York City quite a few times, which is why some people call it the World’s Fair City.
You won’t find too many cities out there with the large number of nicknames that NYC has! Compared to cities in other nations, it may be relatively young, but it’s exploded into popularity and prominence. Chances are, we’ll see it earn new nicknames in our lifetime.