A New York minute

A New York minute: time between the light turning green and the driver behind you yelling at you, pic: scientificamerican.com

The expression “in a New York minute”  is most well-known because of it’s fairly frequent use in “Sex and the City”.

The expression refers to an infinitesimally small unit of time, an instant at best.  To put it concretely: a New York minute is the time between a traffic light turning green and the driver behind you honking his/her horn to get you moving faster.

The phrase is used to express the frantic pace of life in New York.  The phrase did not originate in New york, rumor has it that it was coined in Texas and conceived the notion that a New Yorker does in an instant what a Texan would take a minute to do.  Somehow I can’t shake the impression that the Texans don’t think this a desirable quality whereas the New Yorkers are proud of it.

Here is an example:

“You are taking me to the to Fancy French Restaurant!  I’ll be ready in a New York minute.”

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