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Just like New York

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  • My father uses a phrase very similar to this. Whenever a project or a measurement goes even better than expected he exclaims “Just like downtown”. It is a positive exclimation, and I have nearly exclusivly heard it used in construction jobs. He is an electrical engineer by trade, just turned 65, and hails from the hills of San Fransisco, working volunteer construction in his retired free time.

  • In a neighborhood where I lived on Chicago’s North Side, there was a janitor who used the phrase “Just like downtown” to mean the same as “Just like New York”, which I heard for the first time on this program. This was in the 1970s, and the janitor had been a radio announcer at some time in the past.

  • I also heard the expression “Just like downtown” from an African-American co-worker in NE Ohio in the 1970s. He said it whenever a difficult or complicated job was nicely finished.

  • I grew up in Wisconsin, where “just like downtown” means, “pretty slick,” or “great.” In CT, “downtown” means Manhattan or NYC. My father and grandfather used the expression — one a logger, boilermaker, welder, the other a telephone man. It is used to indicate that a task is completed quickly and on time without a hitch or setback. Usually it would be used with a task that you expected to be a problem, but everything went as expected and well.

  • There are lots of hits on Google for the idiom “just like downtown.” I am surprised Grant didn’t consider this idiom…

  • I have heard – and used – “just like downtown” quite a few times, though by “urban” people. Also for “just like New York.” In my non-blue collar circles we use it either for a job well-done or for an experience that went well, like traveling some distance to see a concert or a baseball game and the arrangements worked just as planned. (Arrangements meaning travel arrangements, not musical arrangements which are out of our control.)

    Now that I’m in New Zealand, whenever I use these I think they just go so far over people’s heads they don’t even hear them. Using any Yiddish word, though, results in pure perplexity.

  • And, by the way, I’m always about 2 months behind on podcasts. And why does the spell-checker flag “podcasts”?

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