Category: place names
By Nile Cappello
My name is, without a doubt, one of my most defining characteristics. Yes, I am loud, outspoken, slightly (or more than slightly) obnoxious, extremely determined (read: stubborn), and quite a few other things — but with a name like Nile, I wouldn’t have to be any of these to stand out.
Most people tell me they have never met someone named Nile. They also ask me if I was born in Egypt, conceived on the Nile River (ew), or am Egyptian. My co-worker said before my first day she was convinced I would be a tall, dark, Egyptian goddess. I am not. I am small, pale, blonde, and overwhelmingly white.
Although my name was clearly inspired by the river in Egypt, I’m actually named after my grandfather Neil. In a time when made-up names like Jazlyn and “creative” spellings like Madilyn and Joslyn litter the Top 1000 list, I’m thankful to have a bit of history and familial significance behind my name.
Middle names are, in many ways, the place where you can get most adventurous with your choices.
Or are they?
What, in your opinion, is the best kind of middle name to choose?
A creative name that you might love but that you wouldn’t dare put in first place?
A name with important symbolism — the city where your child was conceived, the name of a personal hero?
Or maybe you see the middle name as the ideal place to represent family: to use the baby’s father’s first name, for instance, or pass down grandma’s maiden name or honor a family member who is recently deceased.
Or the middle name to you might be an opportunity to create flow and melody in a name, and so you look for a middle name with the perfect combination of syllables and sounds.
Place names for people are a category that’s exploded over the past generation.
Some place names owe their popularity to the epically beautiful places they reference: Kenya, for instance, and Venice. And then there are those names that are much more attractive than the places they represent: We’re thinking of Trenton, Camden, Detroit.
Our question this week: Would you use a place name for your child? Have you used one? In the first place, or only as a middle?
There are countless reasons to visit New York City. Museums to visit and galleries to hop. Great theater, opera and ballet. Sights to see, people to watch and fashion-forward stores to shop. But it turns out there’s another, less expected thing to shop for—and that’s a Manhattan-inspired baby name.
We’ve looked at some of the street names before–a Manhattan avenue, after all, was the inspiration for the extraordinary success of the name Madison– but a thread on our own forums, “Need a Big Apple Middle Name” a while back inspired us to us to look beyond the street signs of NYC for other places and people that are quintessentially Gotham.
PLACES—nabes, rivers, parks, etc
Ansonia hotel and then apartments
Cedar Tavern—watering hole of Abstract Expressionist painters
Chumley’s– legendary writers’ hangout
Gracie Square and Mansion
Judson Memorial Church, scene of early art world ‘happenings’
Sardi‘s–show biz restaurant
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
…and a few of the best Manhattan street names
PEOPLE—just a few of the countless notables who were born, lived, or are otherwise associated with the Big Apple
Ambrose Kingsland, NYC mayor, 1851-53
Auden, W.H.– poet and long-time Village resident
Eustace Tilley—monocled cartoon symbol of The New Yorker
Fiorello La Guardia, three-term mayor in the 1930s and 40s
Tallulah Bankhead–Broadway actress and sometime member of the “Algonquin Round Table”