Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Your Street Name and You

They're building a new neighborhood down the hill from us.  It's called Rialto Beach and is located beside a creek, hence the "beach" and in the general vicinity of a Rialto St.  This has to be the dumbest neighborhood name ever, but they can't market it as Flood Plain Farms or Watermark Woods, so Rialto Beach it is.

The street name theme in my neighborhood is famous sites of Europe with a bit of Greek mythology thrown in for good measure.  Besides Rialto St., there's Blenheim Avenue, Stonehenge Avenue, Meridian Avenue, Druid Avenue and Castalia St.  Meridian only barely qualifies as a site and Druid doesn't qualify at all, so the whole neighborhood has the slightly pathetic quality of a wrong answer on an SAT analogies question.

I read somewhere that John Keats didn't want to live on a street with a name he didn't like and one of my theories is that the name of the street you live on can shape your life in subtle ways.  When we were shopping for our first house, it was definitely something I considered. When we put an offer on a house on Market St., I was pleased with its solid, unpretentious name.  Our offer hadn't even been accepted and I was imagining myself addressing future envelopes.  The Market St. house fell through, and our realtor was pressuring us to buy a house on Azalea Dr.  I wasn't so sure I wanted to live on an Azalea Dr.  Luckily, we found a house we liked in the agreeably quirky Rialto/Stonehenge/Druid nexus.


Other streets I've lived on:

  • Pilgrim Road--where I was born.  Aptly named street of prim little cape cod houses.
  • Clara Road--suburban Boston.  A neighborhood straight out of The Brady Bunch.
  • University Court--Tiny dead-end street of elderly steep-gabled brick houses, so close to the University of Buffalo we could hear the panty raids.  The entrance was marked with a dingy white sign that said "BLIND STREET" which confused everybody.
  • Seabrook Drive-- in the oh-so retro "Dana Heights" subdivision in Williamsville, NY.  (We were the lone drive. The other streets were all "Terraces" and named for woods: Sagewood Terrace, Fruitwood, Teakwood, Sprucewood, etc.)
  • Richmond Ave.--my first and second apartments. A long avenue of grand old Victorian houses on the west side of Buffalo.
  • Kenmore Ave.--our first apartment after getting married, on a bleak non-residential street, upstairs from an ob/gyn practice. (Terrible water pressure from women flushing the toilets downstairs all day.)
  • Elm St. --Kalamazoo, Michigan when the Nightmare on Elm St. movies were popular.  A sweet little gentrifying street of Victorian houses. 
  • Claremont Ave--back to the west side of Buffalo.  A lovely street Victorian-era street behind the aforementioned Richmond Ave. 
  • Locust Ave (Charlottesville)-- We rented a big, square red brick house here until we bought a house of our own.


Our house on Elm St

What do you think?  Do you like or hate your street name, or are you indifferent? Would your desire to buy (or reject) a house be influenced by the name of the street it is on?  Do you roll your eyes at ludicrous subdivision names?  What's the silliest/most pretentious street or neighborhood name you've encountered?





17 comments:

  1. I've had a good number of tree references in my address - Hawthorn Ave, Elmwood Blvd & Greenleaf Lane.
    It wasn't until I was older that I realized people assumed things about me because I grew up on Elmwood Boulevard - namely that I was snobbish and came from a well-to-family simply because we lived on an elegant street. Truth be told, my parents scored a huge deal on that house because the heirs had been fighting over it for so long, the lawyer involved just decided to sell it at a loss to be done with them. As part of their fighting, they came in and dug up huge parts of the formerly amazing garden, including some very old english boxwoods. It took my parents years to sort out what they had & work around the holes in the yard left behind. Our street was beautiful mix of sweet cottages & mansions with proper boulevard islands of lovely old trees down the center.

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    1. I like tree-named streets. There's an Elmwood Ave in Buffalo. It used to be lined with actual elm trees. Unfortunately, they were decimated in the Dutch Elm disease epidemic.

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  2. I remember your University Court house! I loved it! I mostly remember the front door area and playing on the front steps.
    And, yes, I think quite hard about street names where I might live. Mostly, will anyone be able to spell it on an envelope or how many times will I have to spell it for a phone rep. Basically, my thoughts center on how much the name will annoy me on a daily basis because someone decided to use creative spelling or pick the impossible rhododendron as a road name.

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    1. Good point about spelling. People do struggle with our street name, which irritates me because it's a hugely famous landmark that virtually everyone has heard of.

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  3. i'd always consider a street name when you're buying a house!
    mine's fairly pretentious; all the streets near us are named after famous british golf courses. i'm not too sure if the design of the houses has anything in connection with the place the golf course the street is named after originates from, but i think it's a pretty cute idea!

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    1. British golf courses is a pretty cool theme.

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  4. I like the idea of living on Locust Road.

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  5. I wrote a post on this very topic! I love street names! If it were up to me, I'd rename our street in a HEARTBEAT. We live on Hard Rock Ct...sigh. However, it's not the worst in the neighborhood. There's also Flintstone, Whetstone, Moon Rock and Bed Rock. Yep. True Story.

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    1. OMG, a Flintstones-themed neighborhood? Oh, wait, it's a geology-themed neighborhood. Interesting choice from those developers.

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  6. Our first house was in a NoVa suburb and the street name was the made-up Chasbarb Court. It ended up suiting our somewhat shallow neighborhood quite well. Later on, the actual town name was changed from one that was less desirable to one that was more aspirational, which was not at all surprising.

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  7. I grew up on Eighth Street, which was generally written 8th St. That was nice and easy. We now live on Prairie Ave (or Prairie Rd, depending on which street sign you believe). GPS, however, has the street name as "Sand Prairie Rd", which I think was it's original name. People never know how to spell prairie (where do all those "i's" go?), plus we live on a prairie, so there are a bazillion versions of prairie roads around here (Fawn Prairie, Prairie Hill, etc.).

    The most pretentious street name I've heard was chosen by a friend of my sister's, when she and her husband moved into a new subdivision. They were allowed to name their road, and they chose Riesling Summit. Haha! I mean, really.

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    1. LOL at Riesling Summit. What will they do when wine fashions change?

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  8. I've lived on South 13th Street, Fawn Ridge Court, Meadow View Lane, Stratton Lake Road, Hwy 93, Taylor Street, Vine Road and probably a bunch of others I can't remember. I like the anonymity of numbered streets, but Vine Road is nice because it's easy to tell people, "Vine Road, like grapevine."

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  9. I will tell you this: I LOVE your house! Love our house too...Main St..otherwise known as rte. 366. The upside to living on such an ordinary street is we are very easy to find :)

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  10. Hi! Just got done reading up on your blog and had a quick question. I was hoping that you could email me back when you get the chance. Thanks!

    Emily : )

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    1. Hey, I can't quite figure out how to find an email address via google +. If you like, you can email me at the address on my "contact" page.

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