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An avenue with a long official name, for example, Mass-av (instead of Massachusetts Avenue) and Comm-av (rather than Commonwealth Avenue). For many years, the Boston Globe even used "av." (yes, in lower case) rather than "Ave."



In Cambridge, a Havihd student. In Sommaville, a Cambridge resident. Local speakers argue about its derivation: Some say its from "Bahnyahd," a derisive term for Hahvihd Yahd; others argue it comes from the old MBTA cah bahns just outside the Squayuh (the bahns went away when the Red Line was extended to Sommaville).

Eric Vroom recalls: "I can remember about ten years ago people in Somerville had bumper stickers and hats reading "NO BARNIES IN SOMERVILLE!!" And it just didn't mean Harvard students, it was any geek from Cambridge."

Meanwhile, R.D. McVout shows how to use the word as an adjective, in his contribution to a debate in the ne.food newsgroup about trendy restaurants in Somerville: "Why don't all of you terminally hip folks go and discover some other environment to befoul and bemoan? As a resident of Somerville, I'd be beside myself with glee if all of you Barney-assed pseudo-cognoscenti would climb into your Explorers and go back across the river where you obviously long to be."



Make an abrupt left turn (see hook for the right-turn equivalent): "He went to bang a left and take a uey but lost control." For more normal turns, the appropriate word is "hang."

Steve Trinward elucidates: ''Two frat-brothers of mine, back in '69 or '70, once double-dated two Long GUYland-raised ladies, and later regaled us all with their tale of the drive back from picking up their dates. Doug (from out Stuhbridge-way) was driving, Jim (from western Maine and a part-time cab driver) was navigating; the girls were in the back seat. As Doug wound his way through Boston's notoriously snarled traffic, Jim, in an effort to bypass the worst tie-ups, kept barking out directions, as in "Bang a left here, then hang a right at the next light, etc." After about three rounds of this, the gals in back couldn't stand any more, and in their best Lower Island hard-g whine, said simultaneously:


Keith McDuffee and Steve Trinward



A school restroom, at least in the Stoughton area. Pete Costello recalls: "The lavatories in all the schools I went to grades 1-12 were called 'the basement,' even if they were not on the lowest floor of the school."


Big Dig

Massive project to build a new underground highway through the heart of the city while keeping the existing elevated Central Ahtery open during construction. Now covered by the Rose Kennedy Greenway.

It is the most expensive highway project in U.S. history - at a cost of more than $1 billion per mile. U.S. Rep. Barney Frank once said it would be cheaper to elevate the city than depress the ahtery. He also once answered the question "how do you depress the Central Artery?" by saying "Have Fred Salvucci talk to it." If you get that, you probably have more of an intimate knowledge of Dukakis-era politics than is good for you.


Breakdown lane

Highway shoulder. Also, an oxymoron - the last place you want to break down in greater Boston is in the breakdown lane, especially during rush hour, when it becomes the high-speed lane (in some places, even legally). The state has built a series of emergency turn-outs along Rte. 128 so you can pull out of the breakdown lane if, in fact, your car breaks down.


Allston Christmas

Labor Day Weekend or Aug. 30/Sept. 1 if Labor Day comes late. The cornucopia of stuff, from appliances to furniture that magically appears on streets across the neighborhood as people move out (and in) of their apartments:

In need of a car if I'm going to do some serious Allstonmas/Mission Hill Xmas shopping.

-- James Peter.

Although named for Allston, it's also celebrated in other student-heavy neighborhoods, such as Brighton, Mission Hill, the Fenway and the North End.

Universal Hub's annual Allston Christmas coverage.