Dyckman Slang Vol 1…

BY Claudio E. Cabrera (@cecabrera21)

Well, before I start this post, let me clarify that this is really about ‘Hillside Avenue Slang’ and not ‘Dyckman Slang.’

When I was growing up, and even to this day, a lot of the English speaking slang you hear in our hoods (Heights/Inwood) is adopted from elsewhere. We take slang from neighboring Harlem and boroughs like Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens. You can’t forget, whatever a rapper says he probably stole from another city he toured in. We use that too. We are creators when it comes to Spanish slang, but that’s really about it.

But today, I’m going to give you a breakdown of the slang I grew up with.

Before I start, I’ve lived on Hillside (killside, chillside, realside) since I was 14. Yes, I know, those are all the silly, ignorant terms you rename your block when you’re growing up in an inner city, but I just wanted to give you some background on what we used to call it in our teenage years.

Back in the 90’s, Dyckman was a totally different place. The dudes on my block called themselves the “Hillside Bandits.” We were never really ‘bandits,’ but every block had some sort of tag name so we went with that. We even had football jerseys printed with that nickname. Our fights would rise out of football, not the silly youth violence that used to go on and still does between Ellwood and Post, Vermilyea and Arden, and other blocks around here over drugs and bravado.

But, on to the focus of this post, which will be three slang words:

#1 “Got ‘Em” (usually associated with laughter)


Yo Claudio…you see that girl I’ve been seeing? I found out she has a man.’

My reply: ‘Got em’

‘Show up to the club with a group of friends, they ask for ID, you look in your wallet, don’t have it and remember you left it at home’

Your friends say: ‘Got em’

‘Tell your girl you’re going out with the guys to watch basketball, but you’re really going to a club. You get home and she finds out where you were. You tell your friends that when you got home she confronted you about it.’

My reply: ‘Got Em’

We see you just buy a monthly metro, slide it and it says ‘see agent’

My reply: ‘Got em’

#2  Press Start

That’s slang for (Oh, gay folks are going to hate me again even though I don’t say this stuff anymore) when another guy says something that can be interpreted as gay. It’s not used as “no homo” is, but this is usually said along with “pause” when someone says something that people take as gay. Press Start is what it says on an old Nintendo video game controller for the pause button.

‘My pants got wet”

My reply: ‘Press Start’

“Man it’s so hard”

My reply: ‘Press Start’

“Yes, it’s actually pretty big”

My reply: ‘Press Start’

#3 Lleva (short for llevate in Spanish)

The word “llevate” is used in many different ways in Spanish. When Dominicans say “llevate,” it’s telling someone to be leery of going in that direction, doing that specific thing or actually believing what they are saying. You can also say it when you feel someone is lying.

‘I think Kobe is better than Michael Jordan’

My reply: ‘Lleva’

‘I’m gonna move to the Dominican Republic for good’

My reply: ‘Lleva’

‘I’m not drunk (but you are stumbling around the place and your speech is slurred)’

My reply: ‘Lleva’

To be continued….

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