The unofficial guide to New York political slang

New York State Capitol in Albany
New York State Capitol in Albany
Yurii Prohonnyi/Shutterstock
The Capitol in Albany

The unofficial guide to New York political slang

The unofficial guide to New York political slang
January 7, 2018

"Lulu"? "Goo-goo"? "Big ugly"? To the uninitiated, New York political slang can sound more like playground gibberish. Now that session is beginning in earnest, it's time to brush up on your Albany lingo.

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CFn. [formal] 1 an acronym for Campaign for Fiscal Equity, a nonprofit that sued the state to get equal funding for New York City schools 2 the continuing fight to get equitable funding when the state chose to interpret the lawsuit ruling differently than intended

con con n. 1 shorthand for constitutional convention

CUNY n. 1 acronym for City University of New York, the largest urban university system in the U.S.

D-trip n. 1 Spoken shorthand for Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee; written: DCCC

fusion voting n. 1 When a single candidate appears on multiple party lines on a ballot; see: Wilson Pakula

goo-goo n. 1 Shorthand for good government organization or person, such as the League of Women Voters or New York Public Interest Research Group, which is committed to improving government management

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Hizzoner n. [formal] 1 Term used in reference to the mayor of New York City, as in His Honor

IDn. [formal] 1  The acronym for Independent Democratic Conference, a group of eight breakaway Democrats in the state Legislature who share power with Republicans; note: does not include state Sen. Simcha Felder, who also caucuses with Republicans

LLC loophole n. 1 A clause that allows limited liability corporations to donate large sums of money to political candidates and campaigns, allowing wealthy donors to circumvent contribution limits by going through a shell company; a target of goo-goos

lulu n. 1 An extra stipend given for chairing a committee in the state Legislature; recently the subject of ethics investigations

The Big Ugly n. 1 The package of many unrelated bills that get thrown together at the end of the legislative session

Mitchell-Lama n. [formal] 1 A long-standing public housing program in New York City

nimby n. 1 A person who is opposed to a development close to their home or neighborhood they perceive as dangerous, undesirable or detrimental e.g., landfills, airports, chemical plants. From NIMBY, an acronym for “not in my backyard”

nimbyisn. 1 The state of mind of a nimby

pn. 1 Shorthand for public-private partnerships; also: PPP

pervy pol adj. 1 A term used by the Daily News, the New York Post and other tabloids to describe a politician accused of sexual misconduct; e.g., Anthony Weiner

RELATED: Is 2018 the year the #metoo movement comes to Albany?

prestated meeting n. 1 The press conference held by the New York City Council before a stated meeting

rabbi n. 1 Used as reference to a political mentor; archaic

Room n. 1 Term used to refer to the press corps at New York City Hall

Row n. 1 The third row on an election ballot that is determined by the number of votes a party gets in the gubernatorial election, with the Working Families Party, Independence Party and Conservative Party most often vying for the spot

school runs n. 1 The budget printouts that outline state funding for all school districts, often one of the last items given to lawmakers before they vote

Second Floor n. 1 The governor’s inner circle, named after the second floor of the state Capitol where the administration’s offices are located

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stated meeting n. 1 The semi-monthly meeting of the full New York City Council at City Hall in the Council Chambers

SUNY n. [formal] 1 Acronym for the State University of New York

three i’s n. 1 The three countries a New York candidate running for office needs to visit: Israel, Ireland and Italy; archaic

Taj McCall n. [formal] 1 A nickname for the state comptroller’s office in Albany, stemming from its first inhabitant, H. Carl McCall

Tammanadj. 1 Relating to a group exercising or seeking local political control through methods associated with corruption or a political machine; from: Tammany Hall

t triple-n. 1 An acronym for titles, power, pork and patronage

WFP n. [formal] 1 An acronym for the Working Families Party

Wilson Pakula n. [formal] 1 The authorization given by party leaders to a person registered with one party to also run on another party line; see: fusion voting

Editor's note: An earlier version of this post incorrectly characterized the relationship of the IDC with the state Senate Republicans. The two conferences share power. Additionally, the "CFE" definition was updated to clarify the legal goals of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity.

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