I was talking to someone who used to work at Blaue Gans, and every time she referred to the restaurant as “Blau-ee Gahnz,” the “ee” threw me. Not long after, I called Marc Forgione, and the person who answered the phone pronounced the name as “Marc For-jee-ohn.” Having taken Italian in college, I always presumed it was “for-jee-oh-nay.” And then a friend who often interviews celebrities at the Smyth said the hotel’s name with a long i, like the singer of the band Scandal (and Mrs. John McEnroe) Patty Smyth. Suddenly, I was less sure it’s pronounced “smith.”

What’s a Tribeca expert to do? Call (or stop by) every business and ask! OK, not every business, but any of those about which there might be confusion—and there are a lot. Some will be obvious to you, but having been surprised several times, I decided to cast a wide net. First, here are the Italian- (and Latin-) derived names. I’m no expect at phonetics, so I did my best to make them as clear as possible. Put the stress where the italics are.

• Stuzzicheria stootz-eh-keh-ree-ah (“eh” isn’t really right—it’s more like in the vowel sound in “is”)
• Marc Forgione for-jee-own
Ponte’s Restaurant pahn-teez (which used to be F.illi Ponte—fill-ee pahn-tee)
• Il Giglio eel jeel-eeh-oh
• Da Mikele dah mee-kay-leh
• Trattoria Cinque trah-toh-ree-ah cheen-kweh
• Il Mattone eel mah-tohn
• Mondo Cane mahn-doh cah-nay
Scalini Fedeli skah-lee-nee feh-dell-ee
Tre Sorelle tray sohr-ell (In Italian, it’s pronounced tray sohr-ell-eh, but they Franco-Americanized it)
Ristorante Aglio ree-stoh-rahn-tay ah-lee-oh (Italians would say it more like ah-lyee-oh, but the restaurant is trying to keep it simple)
Pane Panelle pah-nay pah-nell (In Italian, it’s pronounced pah-nell-eh, but they Franco-Americanized it)
2Spaghi doo spah-ghee (Romans drop the second-syllable “ay” from “due”)
Sole di Capri soh-lay dee kah-pree
Tutto Il Giorno too-toh eel jyor-noh
Gran Morsi grahn mohr-see
Adoro Lei ah-dohr-oh lay

And on to the French/Franglais:

• Desbrosses Street I defer to historian Oliver E. Allen, author of Tribeca: A Pictorial History: “The Des is most likely Dess, and I’d say the brosses rhymes with bosses. It’s hard to say, though: It’s an Anglicization of a French name, and we don’t know how people pronounced it when they first converted it to English.” I didn’t ask, but I assume the accent is on “brosses.”
• Bouley boo-lay
• Capsouto Frères cap-soo-toh frehr (the “Albert” in Albert Capsouto Park, meanwhile, should be “al-behr“)
Capucine ca-pooh-seen
• Cercle Rouge cer-kleh roozh (the “kleh” is minimal)
• Petite Abeille peh-teet ah-bay
• Terroir Tribeca teh-rwahr (they said “teh-rwah” was too pretentious. Also, many folks call the place Terrier!)
• Corton cor-tohn
• Plein Sud plahn sood (according to a waiter) or playn sood (according to a Smyth concierge)
Le Pain Quotidien leh pahn koh-ti-dee-yahn (well, that’s how I say it, but the “n” at the end is more of an implication than an actual sound; for LPQ’s official pronunciation, go here and listen to a man saying it over and over—someone should stick a beat behind it!)
Racines NY rah-seen
La Garçonne lah gar-sohn

Other foreign-derived names:

• Blaue Gans blau-eh gahnz
• Kaffe 1668 Kaffe is “coffee” in Swedish, but they say “café” like it’s French (and then “sixteen-sixty-eight”—why do so many people just call it Kaffe?)
• Otte awt
• Barzinho bar-zee-nyoh
The Odeon oh-dee-ahn
Churrascaria Tribeca choo-rah-scah-ree-ah
Jungsik yung shik
• Kanlo Can-low
• Rosanjin roh-san-jin
• Tribeca Issey Miyake eee-say mee-yah-kay
• Canis Minor “Technically it’s cane-iss (like in canine) but most people say can-iss.”
Zutto zoo-toh (the “zoo” is very quick)
Sushi Azabu ah-zah-boo
Nili Lotan nee-lee loh-tahn
Polarn O. Pyret poh-larn-oh-peer-eht
Agatha Ruiz de la Prada ah-gah-tah roo-ees day lah prah-dah
Aire Ancient Baths eye-ray
The Copenhagen The “a” in Copenhagen is long, as in “hay”
Benares ben-ahr-ehs
Shigure shih-guh-ray
Fika fee-kuh
Siring Asian Grill see-ring
A Uno Tribeca ay (rhymes with hey) ooh-noh
Stillfried Wien still-freed veen
Uhuru ooh-hoo-roo

And then there are names that aren’t foreign-derived (or might be but I couldn’t bother looking have yet to look them up):

Laight Street “Laight is definitely Late.” —Oliver E. Allen
Smyth smith
• Adeline Adeline I’m not sure how to phoneticize it, but if you say “add-a-line” (twice), you’ll be fine.
• Pécan They didn’t know. I say pee-can because why else would the accent be there? Plus, it amuses me.
Babesta bayb-stuh (like gangsta, but for babes)
TriBeCafe try-beh-ca-fay (the last two syllables are pronounce like “café,” but I don’t know how to get the “ca” across)
Vesey Street vee-see (says Oliver E. Allen)
Lolë loh-lee
Kutsher’s Tribeca cutt-shurs
Masters & Pelavin (gallery) mass-terz and peh-lay-vin
Annelore ann-eh-lohr
Fiterman Hall fit-er-mehn
Roberta Freymann fry-man
Haus Alkire hoss al-ky-er
Shinola shy-noh-luh
Ruum room
Gotan goh-tahn

A surprising number of businesses admitted that customers and suppliers often get their names wrong. Then again, many business said they didn’t care what you call them, just as long as you call them. If I missed any, let me know at



  1. thanks for the clarification!

  2. You may have been doing this tongue in cheek, but I actually found this helpful. That peh-teet ah-bay – not so obvious to the uninitiated. And everyone gets confused about Smythe! (which I pronounce to rhyme with Blythe, otherwise, why the y and the e?)

  3. very informative and this made me smile ;) keep up the good work all around

  4. @Liat: Not tongue-in-cheek at all, actually…. I started it thinking I’d clarify five or six names, but then the list kept growing….

  5. Canis Minor could’ve fooled me…I called them “can-iss” :) all along and thinking :”How Latin of them..”
    New tea shop in TriBeCa???? How exciting!!!

  6. This is the kind of thing that makes your site a treasure. Thanks!

  7. Ditto David G.- you should have titled this “questions Tribecans had but were too afraid to ask”. Unfortunately you need to clarify ‘Babesta’ – I have heard it time and again, ‘Bah-BEE-stah’ but it’s not, it’s ‘Babe-stah’ , like ‘gangsta’ but babies. :)

  8. @N Whiting: Babesta is added!

  9. lunch at Plein Sud at the Smyth today…maybe I should have chosen Brick. (great list)

  10. I dont know what category you put Tribecafe in but this seemingly simple name seems impossible to say. I talked with the bartender Kay and he said he usually refers to it as tri-beck-afé. I mentioned they should have just called it Tribe Cafe and let people put it together. Or just Tribe because referring to that restaurant as a “cafe” is somewhat confusing.

    By no way is this a slight of any kind on their service, food, or cocktails…all are excellent. Just adding it to the name stack.

  11. Wow I’ve been mispronouncing Babesta for years. Babe-stah?! That’s just an awful, awful name…

  12. @Bryan: Good point! I added it. I think that the best way to approach TriBeCafe is by saying the second syllable as “beh” (unlike in Tribeca, where you say “beck”)—then you can say “café” more easily.