That Mythical Sixth Borough

One of those expressions you hear now and then is “Sixth Borough.” I personally prefer to apply that term to the Gold Coast Jersey City/Hoboken agglomeration. I think based on density and proximity to Manhattan, JC/Hoboken deserves the Sixth Borough title, but I’ve noticed different people – not just people in real estate! – use the expression in different contexts.
Some people look beyond similarity and nearness to Manhattan and use a place whose geopolitical turmoil reaches New York (the Mideast). Some people look at similar ethnic make up and decide the sixth borough is a subtropical city on the southeast edge of the continental shelf that’s bound to be submerged by rising oceans (Miami). Some people look at a NYC neighborhood’s ethnic distinctiveness and decide that it’s different enough from the rest of NYC to be that mythical “sixth borough.” (Washington Heights)

It’s usually not Hudson County.

A survey:

New Winds at an Island Outpost, Mar 4, 2007 NYTimes.

New York has many Hispanic enclaves, but only in Washington Heights did the size, density and visibility of the Latino population create a kind of sixth borough. From this high perch, visitors often wonder if they have accidentally stumbled into the 31st province of the Dominican Republic.

Snowbirds Flock Together for Winter, Feb 2, 2007 NYTimes.

That’s why the Miami area is called the Sixth Borough — and why Palm Beach County voters lamenting the weaknesses of the butterfly ballot in 2000 so often sounded like Long Islanders.

G2: Culture: Hot spot: It is known as ‘the city that coke built’. Now Miami is reinventing itself as the US’s capital of art, Dec 8, 2005, The Guardian (yeah, the Brit lefty paper)

The art fortresses of New York and Los Angeles aren’t worried yet (indeed many New Yorkers simply regard Miami as “the sixth borough“),

All Politics Of the Mideast Is Local, Mar 3, 2006 NYTimes

When Edward I. Koch was mayor, he had his own foreign policy for the Middle East; now and then, it came close to resembling United States government positions. Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani went so far as to make himself the city’s Bouncer-in-Chief, tossing Mr. Arafat out of a city-sponsored concert for dignitaries gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the United Nations.

Over the years, little has changed. The sixth borough continues to roil New York politics.


WE FLED to Nassau County to enjoy beaches and squirrels – and to escape the five boroughs.

Now, with the staggering rash of 33 home invasions by gun-toting mutts on Long Island this year, we are lurching toward being a sixth borough.


“His race for Congress was amazing,” recalled a Democrat who knows Weiner well. “He figured out something [his chief opponent, Melinda Katz] didn’t know and that was that Rockaway can’t be considered just another part of Queens.”

“He worked Rockaway as if it was the sixth borough and in the end, that’s where he got the votes to win,” said the Democrat.

The railroading of Bergen County. Aug 24, 2005 Bergen Record

Bergen County is in the crosshairs of a powerful alliance determined to transform its towns from tree-lined family communities into bustling mini-cities.

At the heart of this offensive is the transit village concept backed by state dollars and eager developers and driven by misguided planners indifferent to the character of our communities and committed to turning Bergen County into the sixth borough of New York City.

Letter to the Editor. Sept. 17, 2004 NYTimes

To the Editor:

The lost portion of New York to which Jonathan Safran Foer refers (‘‘The Sixth Borough,’‘ Op-Ed, Sept. 17) is really the seventh borough of New York. The sixth is called ‘‘Los Angeles.’‘

Ok, I’ve made my point . . . I’ll stop before the “fair use” police come and get me.

A question for any readers who find this, in your opinions . . . who should be boroughs six through ten?