The New York City Spelling Bee -- a new, adults-only spelling bee offering erudite fun to all -- is a glamorous offshoot of the Williamsburg Spelling Bee, which has scintillated Brooklyn since 2004. Co-hosts bobbyblue and Jennifer Dziura have now brought the logophilia to the great isle of Manhattan.

The Williamsburg bee has been featured in the New York Times style section, on WNBC, and in international press from Germany to Tokyo.  The Village Voice called it "...the bar game of choice for self-proclaimed geeks and well-groomed lovers of logorrhea."  The Times said, "...go for the cold drinks and the inevitable laughs derived from watching a person who is tipsy try to spell trichotillomania."

The New York City Spelling Bee occurs quarterly, and proudly takes place at the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe.

To bee or not to bee?
Sign up for our mailing list
to make sure you hear about the next event.


Results: March 8, 2012

Spelling Bee Winner: Marcus Bones

Forty-plus people and sixteen spellers converged on Housing Works Bookstore Cafe for Geek Week! Geek Week has been an annual book sale and slate of events at Housing Works, but this is the first time the bee has been a part of it. A brief sampling of words: early on, spellers had a bit of trouble with peignoir and boutonniere; later, our top three correctly spelled Clausewitz, witloof, and toheroa.

Congratulations to winner Marcus Bones!

Our top three:

More photos here.
We hope to be back at Geek Week 2013, and back at Housing Works sometime later this year. See the Geek Week NYC Tumblr.

Results: Nov 5 Spelling Bee 

Winner: Andy Kravis

Seventeen spellers and about 40 people came out for the NYC Spelling Bee on November 5th. Winner Andy Kravis spelled a great many words correct, including "Kierkegaardian" and "pantagruelism." Ben Kusmin came in second, and Adriana Torres came in third. Andy won a Shorter OED, and all three winners received memberships to Visual Thesaurus and Word Beast t-shirts from Manhattan GRE.

The next NYC Spelling Bee will be held in 2011! For more-frequent bees, check out our Brooklyn bee.

Complete photoset

Results: May 21 Spelling Bee

Winner: Jessica Nordell

Nineteen spellers and a full house of onlookers converged on Housing Works this past Friday for an orthographomachia of the ages (or at least of the season!) Jessica Nordell was crowned winner, Wilson Southerland came in second, and Jenny Weiss and Dev Thakur tied for third. Everyone won Bananagrams, and Jessica took home a shiny trophy and an action-packed OED.

Complete photoset here.

Results: October 30 Spelling Bee

Winner: Miranda Kaplan

Our final spelling bee of 2009 was marked not only by adept orthography but also by wittily lexical costumery: Miranda Kaplan won the grand prize by spelling "quincunx" in a run-off, and contestants Laine and Erin delighted all assembled by arriving dressed as a misplaced modifier and a serial comma, respectively. Miranda took home a Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (a $175 value!), kindly donated by Oxford University Press. Second place went to Carolyn D'Aquila and third to Regina Joseph. Enjoy these photos by Gina Rini!

A pre-bee shot from the balcony.

Spelling by "Dr. Acula."

Bobby (vampire nerd) and Jen (Spellvira, Queen of the Dark) with Laine (misplaced modifier) and Erin ("cereal" comma).

Presenting the Shorter OED to Miranda.

From left: Regina Joseph, bobbyblue, Miranda Kaplan, Carolyn D'Aquila, and Jen Dziura.

Click here for the complete photo gallery.

Results: July 18 Spelling Bee

Winner: Dominique Vance

31 spellers and many more spectators converged upon the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe for a sesquipedalian divertissement! Spellers Dominique, Regina, and Erin came out on top, each spelling seven words correctly. In a run-off, Dominique correctly spelled "heortology," the study of religious festivals, to clinch the win. Regina and Erin were awarded a tie for second, and all three took home copies of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (a $175 value!), kindly donated by Oxford University Press.

The win!

Winner Dominique Vance.

From left: host Jen, runner-up Regina, and winner Dominique.  Regina is really working her biceps to hold the "Shorter" Oxford English Dictionary!

Runner-up Erin escaped before we could rope her into the previous photo, but this is a pretty great photo of her, looking smart and devious.

Host Jen: "Thank you and good night!"

Click here for more photos.
All photos by Rob Goldberg.

Next bee is FRIDAY (not Saturday), October 30th! See you then!

Results: April 18 Spelling Bee

Winner: Wilson Southerland

Nearly 20 spellers and many more spectators convened at Housing Works on a lovely spring night to drink and wax orthographical.

Wilson spelling something like "agathokakological." (He spelled a lot of words! We're not sure just which one this photo depicts).

Runners-up Kim and Miranda, winner Wilson, hosts Bobby and Jen.  Photographer Gina encouraged us to ham it up.

Click here for more photos!
Photos by Gina Rini.
Our next spelling bee is July 18, 2009! See you then!

Results: January 31 Spelling Bee

Winner: Brian Gonynor

This bee was covered by Paper Magazine reporter Rebecca Prusinowski (thanks, Rebecca!) From the Papermag post:

Housing Works Bookstore Café is celebrating its 10 year anniversary, and the downtown cultural institution is keeping the good times going with lots of offbeat interactive events for weeks to come. This past Saturday, we hit their New York City Spelling Bee, a hilarious adult spelling competition hosted by comedian Jennifer Dziura and musician bobby blue. Although anyone can enter, the Bee means business. After a first round icebreaker in which all spellers advance, competition heated with words like "selenology," "gesundheit" and "perchlorate." In the end, second place went to contestant, former Daily News scribe, Jo Piazza (who got stumped on "ochlocracy") and Brian R. triumphed after knocking out a series of polysyllabic puzzlers.

Winner Brian poses with hosts Jen and bobby and runners-up Jo and Veronica.

Click here for more photos!

Photos by Gina Rini.

Results: October 25 Spelling Bee

Winner: Robert Moy

Robert Moy takes the cake again in a Halloween-themed spelling bee with over 30 spellers!
The next NYC Bee will take place in early '09 -- check back in the new year for our updated calendar!

Two-time winner Robert Moy with hosts bobby and Jen

Click here for more photos:

Results: September 20 Spelling Bee

Winner: Carolyn D'Aquila

Over 55 people and over 35 contestants came out for this past Saturday's bee! Spellers breezed through "acknowledge" and "renown," persevered through "pomological" and "accipiter," and the final few pushed on through "schipperke" and "papeterie." Carolyn D'Aquila triumphed and took home an adorable bee-themed trophy and a Housing Works gift card.

Winner Carolyn D'Aquila with hosts Jen and bobby 

Click here for more photos.

Results: June 28 Spelling Bee

Winner: Robert Moy

27 contestants and many more spectators came out to this second-ever NYC Spelling Bee. Contestants in the new "challenge" round got to select words for their fellow spellers to spell, and challenge they did, asking each other to spell "panegyrical," "ginglymus," "fastigium" and more.  An enthusiastic Robert Moy (presciently, perhaps) signed up first and, indeed, came in first.

Winner Robert Moy with hosts bobbyblue and Jen Dziura.

Click here for more photos.

Results: May 24 Spelling Bee

Winner: Ashley Newman

The first-ever New York City Spelling Bee brought out 26 contestants and many more friends and spectators to the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in Soho.  Drinks were drunk, free popcorn was consumed.  It was a sesquipedalian bee, as spellers gave us p-a-r-a-c-h-r-o-n-i-s-m (a chronological error), q-u-a-d-r-u-m-s-n-o-u-s (having four hands), c-o-l-l-y-w-o-b-b-l-e-s (a stomachache), and many more.

Twelve spellers made it into the final round, one in first place and two tied for second.  After a suspenseful runoff between Geoff Cardillo and Jonathan Lill, prizes were awarded to Jonathan in 3rd place, Geoff in 2nd, and -- leading the pack with eight words correct over the course of the bee -- Ashley Newman in 1st.

Be sure to come out in June for the next installment of the New York City Spelling Bee.


Jen Dziura and bobbyblue perform the New York City Spelling Bee Theme Song they co-wrote.


2nd place Geoff Cardozo, host bobbyblue, 3rd place Jonathan Lill, host Jen Dziura, and Grand Prize Winner Ashley Newman.

Click here for more photos.