Bridge and tunnel

Bridge and tunnel

Bridge and tunnel (often abbreviated B&T) is a disparaging neologism for people who travel to Manhattan from surrounding communities.


The term applies to those who visit from elsewhere in the New York Metropolitan Area, especially from New Jersey and Long Island, both for work and for the New York nightlife, a trip that inevitably requires passing over a bridge and/or through a tunnel. It was later adopted in San Francisco, as an ironic reference to this original usage, because party-goers from the East Bay typically drive across the Bay Bridge/ Yerba Buena Tunnel (or take the BART, which goes through the Transbay Tube - a tunnel). The commute into San Francisco from Marin County also involves a bridge (the Golden Gate) and tunnel (the Waldo). The term has also recently been adopted by residents of Taipei, Taiwan when referring to people from Taipei County who take public transportation to go clubbing in the city on weekends. Clubs close to MRT stations, such as Luxy and Lava in particular, are favorite destinations of Taiwan's bridge and tunnel crowd.


Though the name originates from the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, which services the five boroughs that make up New York City, the term has come to encompass all people who originate from outside of Manhattan, including the four "outer boroughs" of Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island, as well as Westchester County, Long Island, Connecticut, and New Jersey (i.e., must use a bridge or a tunnel to enter Manhattan).


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

:"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 Queens and Staten Island and those places," he said.


As the residents of the other boroughs of New York City and of the New Jersey and Long Island suburbs or New York are assumed to be generally less affluent than the residents of Manhattan, the term "bridge and tunnel" has picked up several connotations in the New York nightlife scene. Popular clubs will have bouncers and door staff that specifically screen for a "good crowd".

* A location with an undesirably high ratio of non-Manhattanites to Manhattanites, e.g. "That place used to be cool, but now it's all Bridge and Tunnel"
* A local who is tawdry and meretricious, especially someone from the Upper East Side or Murray Hill.
* Any person who has a strong Outer-borough, New Jersey, or Long Island accent (three often indistinguishable accents).
* A stereotypical perception of young working-class ethnic whites, perceived as uncultured, thuggish, and macho.
* A New York Metropolitan Area suburbanite

Many consider the term to be insulting and exclusionary, because it implies that they are less welcome in New York than local residents. People who were born and raised in the New York metropolitan area may find this term annoying when it is applied to them since many Manhattan residents were born elsewhere.


The preference of local crowd over tourists by upscale establishments is common in many vacation destinations including San Francisco, Honolulu, and Las Vegas. Tourists are often seen as louder and more obnoxious, as compared to local patrons.


Many clubs in Manhattan and San Francisco are more popular among local residents during the work week, and by out-of-town residents on weekends. This is in part due to locals' preference to avoid the influx of large crowds on weekends.


* [ San Francisco Chronicle] describes one particular gay bar as 'bridge and tunnel.'
* [ Nitevibe] column describes a popular DJ / club promoter who produces a 'Clubber's Commute' radio program and caters to the 'bridge and tunnel' crowd at the Ruby Skye nightclub.
* [ Ovahoid in New Yawk] chronicles real life bridge and tunnel encounters.

References in popular culture

* In the 2001 Off-Broadway musical "I Sing!", the character Charlie berates Pepper for "gettin' paid for bridge and tunnel parties."
* In "Made" Vince Vaughn's character mocks his friend for not being able to get "the Bridge and Tunnel" girl.
* Less Than Jake, a ska punk band, wrote a song called "Bridge and Tunnel Authority," which appeared on their album "B is for B-sides".
* The Honorary Title, a New York City indie rock band, released a song called "Bridge and Tunnel" as a single from their 2004 album "Anything Else but the Truth".
* Idle Minds, a former underground Bronx rock band, released a song called "A 'Bridge & Tunnel' Love Story" on their 2004 debut album "Some Distant, Boundless Place...".
* In "Loser", a character states that bridge and tunnel girls on an unnamed university campus "sleep around" in order to avoid commuting back home.
* In "Chasing Amy", Alyssa's friends are trying to figure out who she's dating. One exclaims, "Eww! Not a bridge-and-tunnel Jersey dyke!"; another adds, "With huge hair and acid-washed jeans!"
* In "Boiler Room" a gay man in a restaurant says to the main characters, "What's up with those clothes? Did you just come from a city council meeting or are you just trying to get lucky with the bridge and tunnel crowd?"
* In an episode of "How I Met Your Mother", Barney says that he should call his "Bridge and Tunnel Girl".
* In "The Sopranos" , "Christopher Moltisanti" is referred to as "bridge and tunnel boy" in a Manhattan nightclub, in reference to his commute from New Jersey.
* "Bridge and Tunnel People" is a 2007 track by NSI from Shut Up and Dance! Updated.
* In episode 8, season 1 of "30 Rock", Jenna disparagingly refers to Liz's ex-boyfriend as being "a little bridge-and-tunnel."
* In the musical version of The Wedding Singer, the song "Saturday Night In The City" makes a reference to the "bridge and tunnel crowd".
* Bridge and Tunnel is the name of an punk band from Huntington Station, New York.
* [ Bridge + Tunnel] is the name of media production company, based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the UK. It's founder Tina Gharavi was brought up in Red Bank & Middletown, New Jersey and currently lives where there is also a famous bridge and tunnel (Tyne Bridge and Tyne Tunnel).
* Bridge & Tunnel is the title of a 2006 critically acclaimed Tony Award winning Broadway play performed by Sarah Jones (stage actor).
* Bridge & Tunnel is the name of a popular wine bar and music venue in Shoreditch, London.
* In The Dark Knight, the Joker makes a vague threat to the "bridge and tunnel crowd"

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