Is it correct to speak of New York dialect, or should I use a different term when referring to the particular pronunciation used in New York?
In discussing English, we don't usually make a big distinction between dialects and accents. For day to day discussions, people will probably understand and appreciate "New York accent", and if you're talking to linguists, "New York dialect" or "New York English" will probably be better. But there's no very firm distinction between the two.
Wikipedia, for example, goes on about the New York dialect for pages, so I don't see why it wouldn't be "correct". :-) Then again, if you particularly want to point to the pronunciation, then maybe New York accent might be a slightly preferable term.
Do you mean New York City? If so, I think it'd be more correct to speak of accents (Brooklyn accent, etc.). Also note that Long Islanders also have a distinct accent that isn't normally associated with the city (e.g., "kwafee" for coffee, "drua" for "drawer").
There used to be distinct New York neighborhood accents (you can hear them in old movies), but my guess is they've been mostly homogenized. Here are some examples of stereotypical accents:
- Bronx: Groucho Marx. Harpo also.
- Brooklyn: Three Stooges, e.g., "woik" for "work".
- Midtown/Upper West Side: Humphrey Bogart (is that the generic New York accent?)
- Garment District: hard "G", as in "Long G-eye-land"
The weird diphthong Mipadi identified as from Long Island seems to stretch from there down to Philadelphia. In Philly they say "fwawth" for "fourth" and "twawk" for "talk".