Updated: The hardest names to pronounce in NY politics

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis and Rep. Adriano Espaillat.
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis and Rep. Adriano Espaillat.
Photos by Celeste Sloman
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis and Rep. Adriano Espaillat.

Updated: The hardest names to pronounce in NY politics

How to say “Gjonaj,” “Bonacic,” “Constantinides” and more.
June 2, 2018

New York politics can be confusing. For years, the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference helped Republicans maintain control of the state Senate. Another Democrat, state Sen. Simcha Felder, still caucuses with the GOP. In the Assembly, Democrat Erik Bohen ran and won as a Republican and now can’t caucus with either conference. Actress Cynthia Nixon, who shares a last name with (but is not related to) former Republican President Richard Nixon, is challenging Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the Democratic primary. 

If that’s not confusing enough, what do you do when you struggle to pronounce the names of the politicians you are talking about? City & State is here to help with a handy-dandy guide to some of New York’s difficult to pronounce political names so you can seamlessly discuss state politics with friends, loved ones and strangers on the subway.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (KEER-sten JILL-ih-brand) note: NOT Kristen

kirsten-gillibrand-us-senate.jpg

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
Alt Text: 
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
Title Text: 
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
Description: 
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
Image Credit: 
Courtesy the U.S. Senate

Rep. Adriano Espaillat (ay-dree-AH-no ehs-pie-YAHT)

Rep. Elise Stefanik (eh-LEASE ste-FAHN-ick)

Rep. Thomas Suozzi (TOM-iss SWAH-zee)

Rep. Nydia Velázquez (NIH-dee-ah vell-AZ-kez)

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul (KATH-ee HO-kuhl)

Dutchess County Executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate Marcus Molinaro (MAR-kiss moe-lin-AIR-oh)

State Sen. Michael Gianaris (MY-kuhl gee-ann-ARE-iss)

michael-gianaris-state-senate.jpg

State Senator Michael Gianaris
Alt Text: 
State Senator Michael Gianaris
Title Text: 
State Senator Michael Gianaris
Description: 
State Senator Michael Gianaris
Image Credit: 
Courtesy New York Senate

State Sen. Marisol Alcantara (marry-SOLE al-CAN-tar-ah)

State Sen. John Bonacic (JAHN BON-ah-sick)

john-bonacic-senate.jpg

New York Senator John Bonacic
Alt Text: 
New York Senator John Bonacic
Title Text: 
New York Senator John Bonacic
Description: 
New York Senator John Bonacic
Image Credit: 
Courtesy New York Senate

State Sen. Thomas Croci (TOM-iss CROW-chee)

State Sen. Simcha Felder (SIM-kah FELL-der)

State Sen. Rich Funke (RICH FUN-key)

State Sen. Kathy Marchione (KATH-ee mar-SHOWN)

State Sen. Shelley Mayer (SHELL-ee MAY-er)

State Sen. Roxanne Persaud (rocks-ANN per-SAWD)

State Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer (MY-kuhl RAN-zen-hoff-er)

State Sen. Luis Sepúlveda (loo-EES seh-PULL-vee-duh)

Assemblyman Dov Hikind (DOHV HI-kehnd)

Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (nih-COLE mal-ee-oh-TAH-kiss)

Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages (ME-kai-ale so-LAHJ)

Assemblyman Joseph Morelle (JOE-sehf more-EHL-ee)

Assemblywoman Aridia Espinal (ah-reh-DEE-ah EH-spin-ahl)

Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (NEE-lee ROW-zick)

Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou (YOU-LEAN NYEW)

Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte (rod-NIECE bee-SHOTE)

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (STEE-ven SIHM-bro-witz)

Assemblyman Fred Thiele (FREHD THEEL)

New York City Councilwoman Alicka Ampry-Samuel (ah-LEE-kah AM-pree-SAM-yoo-ehl)

alicka-ampry-samuel-ali-garber.jpg

City Council Member Alicka Ampry Samuel
Alt Text: 
City Council Member Alicka Ampry Samuel
Title Text: 
City Council Member Alicka Ampry Samuel
Description: 
City Council Member Alicka Ampry Samuel
Image Credit: 
Photo by Ali Garber

New York City Councilman Costa Constantinides (COST-ah con-stan-tih-NEE-dees)

costa-constantinides-city-council.jpg

New York City Council Member Costa Constantinides
Alt Text: 
New York City Council Member Costa Constantinides
Title Text: 
New York City Council Member Costa Constantinides
Description: 
New York City Council Member Costa Constantinides
Image Credit: 
Courtesy New York City Council

New York City Councilman Robert Cornegy Jr. (RAH-berht CORN-egg-ee)

New York City Councilman Mark Gjonaj (MARK JOE-nigh)

mark-gjonaj-city-council.jpg

New York City Council Member Mark Gjonaj
Alt Text: 
New York City Council Member Mark Gjonaj
Title Text: 
New York City Council Member Mark Gjonaj
Description: 
New York City Council Member Mark Gjonaj
Image Credit: 
Courtesy New York City Council

New York City Councilman Ben Kallos (BEN KAY-lows)

New York City Councilman Mark Levine (MARK leh-VEEN)

New York City Councilman Steve Levin (STEEV LEH-vin)

New York City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez (ee-DAHN-iss rod-REE-gez)

New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams (joo-MAH-nee WIHL-yuhms)

New York City Councilman Chaim Deutsch (khEYEm dietch)

New York City Councilman Barry Grodenchik (BEAR-ee grow-DEN-chick)

chaim-deutsch-city-council.jpg

New York City Council member Chaim Deutsch
Alt Text: 
New York City Council member Chaim Deutsch
Title Text: 
New York City Council member Chaim Deutsch
Description: 
New York City Council member Chaim Deutsch
Image Credit: 
Courtesy New York City Council

Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini (TIHM SEE-nee)

Former New York City Housing Authority Chairwoman Shola Olatoye (SHOW-lah oh-LAH-toy-yay)

Former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (DEEN SKEH-lows)

State Senate candidate Andrew Gounardes (ANN-drew guh-NAR-dez)

U.S. Senate candidate Chele Chiavacci Farley (SHELL kee-ah-VAH-chee FAR-lee)

Billionaire John Catsimatidis (JAHN cats-eh-mah-TEE-dees)

Gristedes (griss-TEE-dees) note: above billionaire’s grocery store chain

Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch (ED KAHTCH)

Billionaire Republican donors Charles and David Koch (CHAHRLZ and DAY-vid COKE)

Rebecca C. Lewis
is an editorial assistant at City & State.
20180620