What’s in a name?

Place names are part of who we are as a city. Seattle’s standard misspellings and wrong (or unsanctioned?) names might be treasured quirks as well. Or are they opportunities to charmingly correct our friends and enliven parties? The answer is probably in the middle. So use the following sparingly!

Green Lake, Gas Works, and Sand Point are each two words.

One-third of all locals don’t know how to spell Elliott Bay. That’s a scientific wild guess.

People seem confused by Columbia Center. Perhaps the Columbia “Tower” Club contributed to this.

If an ad says “in” Queen Anne Hill vs. on, it was written elsewhere.

Even many lifelong Seattleites don’t say Pike Place Market. “Pike’s” seems common. The problem might be that “Place” doesn’t seem to fit. The lightbulb goes off when they learn that the street through the middle is Pike Place.

Sea-Tac is the airport, and SeaTac is the municipality.

A word about contrived marketing names…Lower Queen Anne is memorable and unique. We don’t need to copy the twenty-four other Uptowns that Wikipedia lists in the US and Canada. If someone tries to push Uptown on you, you’re a hero for resisting.

The Denny Triangle is different because that area used to lack a common name.

Let’s also discuss the common idea that a neighborhood has official boundaries. A City department says so, someone will say. But City departments create lots of maps, each to fulfill their own mission whether it’s planning or policing. That doesn’t mean their jagged line between Belltown and the Triangle has more authority than you do about what’s one or the other.

Nor does anyone else’s idea about what’s “Downtown” or not. Downtown is a subjective concept or exists for a specific purpose that probably doesn’t parallel yours.

Back to Belltown and the Denny Regrade. They’re kind of the same area but not if the actual regrade(s) is the point.

Oh, and “Downtown” can be capitalized if it’s a specific place name vs. a direction or general concept.

This party could keep going and going. But this is an urban issues and design blog, not about grammar or brevity. So let’s not get into topics such as why sportscasters always “had the opportunity to talk with” someone vs. simply talking with them, or any errors in this post.

This entry was posted in Government, Landmarks, Neighborhoods, Opinion, Planning, Seattle lifestyle. Bookmark the permalink.