Rename Centre Street in JP to Avenue de las Americas?





Background info

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Globe article, which leaves me with the question:

Avenue de las Americas? If you're going to do it, shouldn't you go whole hog and rename it Avenida de las Americas?

las Americas: Like the idea/hate the name

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The North End is a recognized brand deeply tied to Italian culture. Why not brand Hyde/Jackson square as a Latino "North End"? Besides the obvious arguments concerning gentrification and homogeneous mall type stores, I can't think of a down side to this idea.

My only criticisms a.) echo Adam's comment and b.) "Avenue de las Americas" isn't very imaginative or catchy. They should solicit ideas from the community on what to call the proposed "ciudad latina" district.

PS - Why did you vote no?

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I am curious as to why people are voting no. I mean Huntington Av was renamed "Avenue of the Arts" - what's the big deal?

this is insane. in response

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this is insane. in response to the "North End" comment - the reason the North End (or South End, South Boston, West Roxbury etc) is called the North End is because (as geographically incorrect as it may be)it is a reference to where it lays on a map of Boston. Hyde Square is South West. Would you propose calling it the "South West End"? As for naming Centre Street "Avenue de las Americas", that is equally strange. Would you be in favor giving Haitan-Creole names to Mattapan streets? Or Gaelic names to streets in South Boston or West Roxbury? At one point Jamica Plain was predominantly Irish, and now it is (parts of it) predominantly Latino. If the demographics change in 15 years to, for instance, Vietnamese, would you be in favor of changing it again to a Vietnamese name?

And Chinatown is close to Bejing?

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And they call it Chinatown because of it's geographic location? My point is, when you hear "North End" (which was once demographically Irish, then Jewish), you think "Italian". Some even call it "Boston's Little Italy". Why not give Hyde/Jackson Square, an established and thriving Latino community, an oppurtunity to raise its profile? Downtown Crossing wasn't always called Downtown Crossing. The JFK/UMass/Harbor Point area used to be known as Columbia Point. Rozzie has "Alexander the Great Square" because of it's Greek population. Name changing isn't always a bad thing. They changed 6th Ave in NYC to "Avenue of the Americas", but everyone from NYC still calls it 6th Ave. I am in favor of building community and and enhancing multicuturalism in the city. I think a "Latino North End" (or a Haitian/Vietnamese/Irish North End, for that matter) would be a great boon to the city!

Yes but

I'm all for giving this part of JP more visibility and identity. I'm just not convinced that renaming Centre Street to this particular name will accomplish any of that.

Not that big of a deal

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It's not a particularly long stretch of Centre St that they want to rename. Not to mention, a "symbollic" renaming of that stretch would work nicely. Think "Avenue of the Arts" and "Ted Williams Way" - two renamed streets that have kept their old names. I also think ultimately, each neighborhood/community should have the final say; let the people of that neighborhood decide for or against the new name. The people there have worked many years on that neighborhood, I think rebranding that area to reflect its Latino heritege would be a source of pride for the long time residents and new arrivals alike.

It all depends...

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on how the community intergrates the new name into it's identity, and how the new name is marketed. Was there even a Seaport District 10 years ago?

[Ted Williams Way is more popularly refered to as Lansdowne Street]

Seaport District

I'm not sure there's a Seaport District today. Maybe there will be one once some actual development happens. Right now all you have is a courthouse and the soon-to-open ICA.

But you know where it is

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Ah, but 10 - 15 years ago someone says "Seaport District", I say "Never heard of it." I mention it today and you know what I am talking about.

Hunington Ave is still

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Hunington Ave is still Hunington Ave. it just has a few vanity signs saying "Avenue of the Arts".

North End

And if you walk around the North End, you'll see such Italian street names as 'Hanover', 'Salem', and 'Parmenter'.


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Love it.


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beat me to it. :-(

You hit that nail on the

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You hit that nail on the head, that's exactly what I was thinking. What a crazy idea.

This looks like a job for Charles Swift!

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Hey Charles,

I am sure your blog has some great insights to the renaming of Boston streets, districts , and neighborhoods. Also, I would love to hear your two cents on the issue!

An answer will have to wait

An answer will have to wait until I get back into town on Tuesday, but thanks for thinking of me! I do have a couple of blog entries about Washington Street, which in the colonial days had different names for different sections of the street and Mass Ave, which had the same issue prior to the entire length being declared Mass Ave in the 1890s.

hi, Charles!

I'd be especially interested in anything you have to say about Centre Street. I recall that it existed long before Washington Street did (under any name), as the road from Roxbury to Dedham.

There's like a whole long

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There's like a whole long strip of Centre St in JP that has no ties to Spanish or Latino stuff at all. It tends to be filled with cute boutiques that mainly sell useless items. Oh, and there's  Dunkin Donuts or two, of course.

My point is, it might be sort of confusing to rename just part of the street.  (And I've never given direcrtions, or had directions given to me,  that involved the phrase "Avenue of the Arts," I just say Huntington Street)

If you really say

If you really say "Huntington Street" instead of Avenue, you'll confuse a lot of people.

i will agree to rename

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i will agree to rename centre street if you agree to rename part of dorchester avenue đại lộ tài khéo léo kỹ xảo. isn't that what multiculturalism is all about?


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Sorry, the crappy iMac at work doesn't allow for the best typing conditions. I meant Huntington Ave.

Roads with two names (Oh no!)

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A.) It seems that other Boston places with dual names have not been that confusing, given the Huntington Av analogy, and given our smug pride of knowing that 95 is 128 and part of 93 is also route 3. B.) Locals may not care about the "Avenue of the Arts" moniker (I laughed when I saw the signs first being installed), but might it not strengthen the connection between that stretch of road and the artistic community?  A first time visitor to the Huntington Theater may not realize how close it is to the MFA, The Gardener Museum, Mass Art (the only free standing Public Art School in the US), etc untill s/he sees "Avenue of the Arts".  Love it or hate it, the blue sign helps to define a vibrant arts district.   And as far as renaming Fields Corner in Dorchester, I say go for it. The names "Dorchester Ave" and "Dot Ave" are too ensconsed in the local lexicon for a sign to ever erase the name; but if it will boost community and civic pride, it is a good thing.

As a part of the artistic

As a part of the artistic community, and someone who lives, works, studies, and performs around "Avenue of the Arts," I can pretty much assure you that I don't care what the street is named. In fact, I would far prefer that the money actually go TO the arts, not to pointless street-renaming projects.

ok. let's rename the city,

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ok. let's rename the city, block by block, to whatever name helps people feel good about themselves. i have an idea. let's keep the street names the same. i think it's a little weird that you think the city has to rename streets to make a group of people feel good about themselves, or "strengthen" them. let them define themselves - they don't need the government to do it for them.

Let the community decide

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The government would not be doing it for them, they would be doing it themselves with the city's help.  No one complains when a street/square/park is renamed for a war hero, etc.  The article indicated that the people in the neighborhood wanted to strengthen their community (by extension, themselves) by re-branding the district.

Re-branding the district is

Re-branding the district is a fine thing to do. I'd like them to do it in a way that well succeed. I don't think "Avenue de las Americas" does so.

Like I said...

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in my first post, like the idea, hate the name.

Somewhat agreement

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I believe it should be left to the residents of the neighborhood to decide, if they like the name, then my vote is a yes. Either way, I wanted to see why people, who probably don't live in the Hyde/Jackson square area, were overwhelmingly opposed to the idea.

I think they're taking the

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I think they're taking the wrong approach. I think, but iI could perhaps be convinced otherwise, that a better way to go is to come up with a designation for an informal area, similar to the Ladder District (like the Salsa District, (Sallie!) or some such). But even better would be to simply position Jackson Square as the heart of Latino Boston. Rebranding is fine, renaming is a different story.

Erecting a statue of Simon Bolivar, otoh, seems fairly unobjectionable. Heck, why not marry our Irish and revolutionary past with our Latino future and put one up for Bernardo O'Higgins?

renaming part of centre street in jp

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I've live one block from Centre for a third of my life. I work on Centre. I travel Centre 7 days a week. And if it gets renamed I won't give it much thought, and I doubt in 5 years anyone will care, notice, or remember the the stupid new name.

I voted NO because I think it's a stupid idea without any imagination. I put it on a par with the real estate people renaming hyde square "hip" hyde square. You'll be able to fool some of the people, for some of the time, but in the end, it'll be the same dirty, gritty, smelly Centre street that I've grown somewhat fond of.

Correction from the Globe

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Correction from the Globe article: The Councillor did not want to re-name the street, rather use Las Americas as an honorary title.