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this was the one where it was a messager (?)who was using a CaBi - it was the last day of February: (I'm embarrassed to say I have forgotten his name):


He died? And that crash wasn't in April, so is the NBC story just wrong?

No, I think this is what was being referred to:
From Jack McKay, 1D03 ANC, newsletter:

This wasn't quite in our neighborhood, but any time a pedestrian in the area is killed by a vehicle, it's a concern. On the afternoon of April 2, a pedestrian was crushed by a trash truck backing out of an alley off Columbia Road, just this side of 14th Street. One naturally thinks of some poor pedestrian on the sidewalk taken by surprise by a truck backing out at speed. But that wasn't the case here. It's reported that the
pedestrian was actually trying to assist truck driver, signalling to him that the sidewalk was clear to back safely out of the alley. Then, bizarrely, he failed to get out of the way of the truck himself. He was a homeless man, according to reports.

Hey, who is on the drugs here you or me? ;-)

Of course you are correct : the CaBi on the last day of Feb, Shawn Streiff did not die. THe cyclist reference may have been a red herring and I suspect Kevin has the reference correct.

I agree. I think Kevin has it right. That's an awful story.

The person killed in the alley (Harvard Court) back in April, was identified as a pedestrian--though I too thought at one time someone id'd him as a cyclist. WTOP had the info here: http://www.wtop.com/41/2812610/Police-identify-man-killed-by-trash-truck-in-DC-

Why do people insist on giving neighborhoods cutesy names? NoMa please. there never was a NoMa and there never will be to native Washingtonians.
NoMa...ha ha ha.

What do you call that area then?

Acronyms like NoMa, especially with camel-case, are ugly, IMO, as are blends and portmanteaus such as Shirlington. It would be nice if people could come up with names that evoke an independent meaning. NoMa is especially annoying because it gives you no sense of where it is; at least with Shirlington one can deduce the approximate location from what one knows. Stooping to an ugly acronym without even making it a useful one is just stupid.

Another annoying acronym is MoCo, for Montgomery County. "Moco" is Spanish for "snot"; you'd think, what with our large Spanish-speaking population, people would at least try to avoid making such dumb blunders—and again, with the camel-case. This is a place name, not a variable name in a computer program.

Again, just my opinion. :^)

Well, they're easier to type. And since we don't speak Spanish here, I'm fine with using English words that mean something else in Spanish. There are hundreds of languages out there and we shouldn't have to dance around them. Is anyone actually being confused by the use of MoCo?

NoMa is north (No) of Mass (Ma) Ave, so I disagree in that it does give you a sense of where it is. One can deduce the approximate location from what one knows. Or you can Google it.

Confused, i doubt it. Laughing, yes.

Sure, there are hundreds of languages, but only one of those is the secondmost populous in Montgomery County.

No one who sees NoMa for the first time knows that it means "North of Massachusetts" without looking it up. Even then, the expansion is useless: Massachusetts Ave stretches from Southern Ave, SE to Glen Echo. How does "North of Massachusetts" signify anything?

If you're going to pin a useless name on something, why not at least make it evocative? What does "NoMa" evoke?

To answer my own question, "What does 'NoMa' evoke?":


If you know nothing about DC, you won't know what NoMa means or where it is.

Just as you won't know what Adams-Morgan means or where it is.

Or what Kalorama means or where it is.

Or what Barry Farm means or where it is.

Or what LeDroit Park means or where it is.

I believe i have allowed that, twice, already, while pointing out that, if a name is going to be useless (i.e. not helpful for locating the place), it should at least be evocative.

The difference with your examples is that that those are all nice names for things, and that they have actual meanings—not meanings that help you find the places, no, but meanings that give them some poetry, unlike NoMa.

And, again, as i already pointed out, the difference with a name like Shirlington (which i also don't like, but which is at least useful) is that if you know where Arlington and the Shirley Highway are, you have a clue where Shirlington is.

NoMa, in contrast to all these, is useless, and ugly at the same time.

It's unclear why NoMa evokes cancer. I don't get that. It makes me think of the Art Museum in New Orleans. It also sounds a lot like MoMa.

So your complaint is that it's ugly, and you don't like it, and that it doesn't tell people where it is - even though other names don't either and even though the name is directly related to where it is.

So I'm going to disagree with you on the second point and I'm going to say that the widespread use of these kinds of names (SoHo, TriBeCa, MoMa etc...) likely puts you in the minority. But if you think the name looks and sounds ugly, I can't really argue with that. I can wonder why you think that matters.

MelaNoMa, carciNoMa.

Yes, it's ugly, and it doesn't tell people where it is. Other names that also don't tell people where things are are at least chosen with aesthetics in mind. Picking a simplified acronym based on an unspecific location is an aesthetic cop-out.

MoMA isn't a place name; it's the name of an institution.

TriBeCa is geographically very helpful once you know what it means. As i've already pointed out, but you don't seem to be acknowledging, "North of Massachusetts Avenue" really doesn't narrow things down. Kalorama fits the bill just as well as Truxton Circle—better, in fact; NoMa is so far north of Massachusetts Avenue, the name seems absurd. SoNY would be a fitter name. Whereas, one can look at a map of Manhattan and readily find the triangle below Canal St.

SoHo is not quite as geographically useful as TriBeCa, but in an area as narrow as Manhattan, it is adequately precise. It's also possibly wordplay on the centuries-old name of Soho in London, so it has some aesthetic appeal.

The similarity with names like SoHo, however, brings up another objection to NoMa: you don't get to just coin words like that (particularly in a city where they aren't common) and have them catch on. It's incredibly presumptuous. If people had been using the name as a general convention for years, then picking it up would be all right. But to foist it on people the way they have smacks of smarmy, sleazy, astroturf marketing.

Also, i would respectfully disagree with your characterization of the practise as "widespread". Outside of New York City, i can't think of any city offhand where the use of acronyms for naming neighborhoods is commonplace. It certainly isn't widespread in D.C. Is there any other example of this in D.C.?

Ah, melanoma. I just don't hear that in the name, but now it makes sense.

Well in addition to NYC's numerous neighborhood acronyms, there San Francisco's NOPA and SOMA, Atlanta has BuHi, New Orleans people love to call the area NOLA. I've heard AdMo more than a few times to refer to Adams Morgan.

you don't get to just coin words like that (particularly in a city where they aren't common) and have them catch on.

Yes you do. That's exactly how words are created. Someone comes a word and then it catches on. That's how we got the words fax and MILF.

If you look at the history of names like SoHo and TriBeCa, you'll find that they do not come from the boardrooms of real estate developers, but that they are grass roots names that gain initial traction in the community they refer to. This is the astroturfing i'm referring to. Word coinage of the NoMa ilk is not called "coining"; it's called "branding". It's force-fed marketing. It's trying to borrow cachet from SoHo at the same time, making it all the more craven.

You honestly don't see how disgusting the NoMa moniker is?

Fax (not an acronym) and MILF are not place names. There's no argument that acronyms and abbreviations in general are popular. I won't give you any flak for making that assertion (pun intended).

I've never heard AdMo—every time i've heard people shorten Adams-Morgan, it's been as "the Morg". It's a clever term, but i don't forsee the Adams-Morgan actually choosing to officially rename the neighborhood thus. I'll take your word for AdMo; as unpleasant a word as that might be, that would be something that comes from the community, not from some marketing sneak, and, as with "the Morg", i'll be impressed if the Adams-Morgan folk choose to make AdMo official.

As to your other examples, NOPA and SOMA might qualify; never heard them myself, but i'll take your word for those as well. NOLA is an acronym for the entire city, not a neighborhood, so it's closer to initialisms like NYC, or airport codes like PDX or ATL. I'll grant you the San Francisco and Atlanta examples, along with AdMo, but remain in disagreement that four cases, among thousands of neighborhoods, constitute widespread usage.

Disgusting? No. Not at all. That's pretty strong language for something so benign. Sure, it's branding, but that is really common in real estate. Many of DC's neighborhood names were branding by the real estate developers that created them: Mt. Pleasant for example. I know you'll say that isn't an acronym. But is your complaint only with non-organic, acronym-based toponyms that only generally - but not specifically - designate a place? Because that is pretty niche pet peeve.

I think you're pointing out a lot of distinctions without relevance here. When I mentioned fax I was talking about words being made up, not about acronym place names. You're setting up a very specific test - like, I don't see how using an abbreviation for a city is significantly different than a neighborhood.

Look, if it's so obviously awful people will reject it and it will die. If not, than it must not be that people share your taste. That's happened to me, as it is the only explanation for 10 years of the TV show Full House.

Lol... i'd agree, not specifically about that show, which i've never seen, but about pretty much the whole sitcom industry.

The real pet peeve is with people letting themselves be shanghaied into shilling corporate wares unwittingly. NoMa is one facet. It'd be a weak, uninspired name if an ordinary person came up with it, but it would be genuine. That people literally buy into an ersatz name like that, and live in it, and brand a Metro station along with it, appalls me. The XTC song "Funk Pop A Roll" comes to mind.

Besides that, i really do find "NoMa" to be an ugly sounding word. "MoMA" evokes "mom". "NoMa" evokes, along with "cancer", "no mom". And it's a good seven blocks away from Mass Ave, so WTF?

The New Orleans Museum of Art is disappointed to hear that.

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