You Know You Live in Queens When…

…you see signs like this.

My friend Adam posted this photo on Facebook after spotting it at a car repair shop in our neighborhood of Astoria, Queens.

It’s brilliant on so many levels. First the Queens accent I hear in my head when I read this: no smokin’ fo NObawdy! You can’t live in this borough and read that sign and not hear that thick, jarring, nasal-y accent.

Second, the health consciousness of it. New York long ago banned smoking in restaurants and bars, but apparently it’s still a problem in auto repair shops — where, you know, the presence of flammable fuels and welding materials would make you think that no smoking would kinda be a no-brainer. But, apparently not.

Third, the mystery. Was this an innocent mistake on the part of a native speaking in the local dialect, which is heavy on the double negative? Or was it crafted by someone belonging to the 46% of the Queens population who is an immigrant whose first language is not English? Or ….maybe…was the sign maker just trying to be healthy, safe and funny?

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