A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeye's fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from December 15, 2010
Wazzitoyuh ("What’s it to you?")

The Work Progress Administration’s 1938 Almanac for New Yorkers contained a page about New York City speech: ”Wazzitooyuh? Delicate rebuff to an excessively curious questioner.” The question “What’s it to you?” was popular in the 19th century, spoken by someone tired of questions. “What’s it to yuh?” is cited in print since at least 1901. A popular modern form is “What it to ya(h)?”

“What’s it to yuh?” was spoken in classic New York City plays, such as Eugene O’Neill’s All God’s Chillun Got Wings (1925) and Signey Kingsley’s Dead End (1936). 

An episode of the cartoon SpongeBob SquarePants ("Good Ol’ Whatshisname,” July 23, 2007) featured an appearance by a character named “Mr.What Zit Tooya.” When employees of the Krusty Krab restaurant tried to learn the customer’s name, they were seemingly rebuffed with “What’s it to ya?”

what’s it to you - idioms and phrases
see what of it.

Google Books
The Westerners
By Stewart Edward White
New York, NY: Grosset & Dunlap
Pg. 120:
Harry turned on him slowly. “What’s it to yuh?” he asked malevolently. “What’s it to yuh, eh? I want to know! Who let you in this anyway?”

Google Books
The Owner of the Lazy D,
By William Patterson White
Boston, MA: Little, Brown, and Co.
Pg. 207:
“What’s it to yuh so long’s I do what I’m paid to do?”

Google Books
All God’s Chillun Got Wings
By Eugene O’Neill
London: Cape
Pg. 13:
MICKEY: What’s it to yuh?

Google Books
Dead End: a play in three acts
By Sidney Kingsley
New York, NY: Random House
Pg. 141:
What’s it to yuh?

19 January 1938, Philadelphia (PA) Evening Bulletin:
-- A Fighting Word

WHEN a New Yorker wants another drink, he tells the bartender, “Filladuppigen.”

If he thinks the man’s pupils look too dilated, he replies, “Yoovadanuffbud.”

The patron had better not argue, or the bartender might ask, “Wannamayksumpnuvvit?”

That formidable-looking word is defined in the WPA’s “1938 Almanac for New Yorkers” as “an invitation to a brawl.”

Other definitions of New Yorkese, upheld by the almanac editors as being “at least as fruity and full-flavored as ever proper English could be,” are:

Braykidup: Policeman’s suggestion to any group of loiterers.
Wazzitoyuh?: Delicate rebuff to an excessively curious questioner.

Almanac for New Yorkers 1938
Pg. 114 ("In a manner of speaking..."):
Wazzitooyuh? Delicate rebuff to an excessively curious questioner.

SpongeBob SquarePants Wiki
SpongeBob SquarePants episode
“Good Ol’ Whatshisname”

Airdate:  July 23, 2007
Mr. Krabs puts SpongeBob against Squidward in a work contest, telling them there will be a prize. He shows them a brochure for a tropical vacation, leading Squidward to believe the vacation is the prize. They have to name all the customers in the Krusty Krab. Somehow SpongeBob knows every ones name and Squidward is wondering how he knows. SpongeBob actually has a book with everybody’s name in it. Squidward then swipes the book and says the names in the book. He told Mr. Krabs that he has more points than SpongeBob. Mr. Krabs didnt tally the scores, but Squidward and SpongeBob were in a sudden death to know the last customer’s name. After a struggle or trying to remember, Squidward then gets SpongeBob out of the way and asks the fish his name. He responds"What’s it to ya?” After three attempts to find out his name, Squidward snatched his wallet and ran. He attracted a cop eating a doughnut, who chased him because he ran a red light, and more so after he realizes he stole a wallet too. Squidward then makes it on top of a roof and after a tug-of-war for the wallet, Squidward manages to get his license, which the name reads “Mr.What Zit Tooya”. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityNames/Phrases • (0) Comments • Wednesday, December 15, 2010 • Permalink