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Neighborhood names are a funny thing. They can give an area a sense of identity and unity; even the most seemingly unflattering names can become a marker of pride (witness Pigtown’s annual piglet races). So of course, now that Baltimore’s Downtown Partnership is pushing hard to get people to move downtown, they’re working to rehab the city map — by giving downtown neighborhoods new names.

The Baltimore Sun’s Jacques Kelly got an earful of some of the new names being considered. Here are a few he mentions, as well as my own subjective evaluation:

+Bromo – An uninspired, but solid, choice for the streets surrounding the eponymous tower. Has a hint of “bro” to it, which sounds about right. 7/10.

+Cathedral Hill – An elegant name for an area surrounding the Baltimore Basilica. I gotta say, though, I’m suspicious — it’s got a whiff of the real estate developer about it, and also has way too many syllables. I’m going to keep calling this “Mt. Vernon.” 5/10.

+Preston Gardens – You know that spot where St. Paul Street splits, and I always go the wrong way, and there’s that inexplicable grassy expanse across the street from Mercy Medical Center? Yeah, that’s the “garden.” Not buying it. 2/10.

+Government Square – I guess this is a better name for the area around City Hall than “Block-adjacent.” Has a ring of respectability to it. 6/10.

+Charles Center – This is the proposed new name for what Kelly calls “middle downtown.” I can’t even call this neighborhood to mind, which means it could use a little identity branding. Unfortunately, there are too many things already named “Charles” in Baltimore. C’mon, Downtown Partnership– you can do better. 3/10.

What do you think of the new names?

3 replies on “Downtown Neighborhoods Get New Names”

  1. I like Preston Gardens, it’s been the name of that median park since the 1920s. Unfortunately, the city has really cut it off by widening St. Paul St in the past. Luckily, Downtown Partnership’s plan is to restore the upper park by changing the northbound traffic lane there. Should make it nicer!

    I dislike Government Square, it sounds like an unoriginal knockoff of Government Center in DC. Maybe call it Courthouse Square or Monument Square, which are both historic names for the space where the Battle Monument is located.

  2. Well, I tried to come up with better comments than Rachel’s, but I think she hit the nail on the head with each one. “Bromo” still seems a little bit lame all around, but I get the “bro” reference (and what do I know anyway? I’m so old, I remember bromo-seltzer!)

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