It’s not often that an item on the city council agenda lends itself to philosophical musings, but last Monday’s question of What to Name the Transit Oriented District brought out a lot of interesting, silly, playful ideas; none of which stuck. The issue is that you can call something by any name, and that may not be the name that gets used.
Ever have a nickname so persistent that that actual legal moniker has all but disappeared? I’ve known adults named Tiney, Chunky and Pidge. It’s pretty easy to imagine that these were nicknames from childhood that just never let go. When a piece of town, or a plot of real estate gets a nickname, it is pretty much the same thing. Some organic name comes from the street, and it sticks.
Metro is insistent that the area be called the “Robertson Transit Hub,” a name so glaringly uncool, just about no one uses it. What’s a hub anyway?
Most of Culver City divides itself into ‘parks’ and ‘hills.’ Carlson Park, Vets Park, Blair Hills, Fox Hills. Not terribly imaginative, names put in by real estate developers, but the point is that whoever you are talking with knows what part of town you are talking about.
What about SoCo? If you live South of Costco, that’s your title. Ever heard of ELaC? East of La Cienega? Very few people use these beyond a joking reference; it’s just trying to make CC sound like NYC.
There is an area in Hollywood known as Gower Gulch, off Gower Street, where Paramount Studios used to shoot a lot of Westerns. Decades later, it’s still Gower Gulch, rarely a cowboy in sight. Not unlike Tiney and Pidge, when these things stick, they stay stuck.
Of the dozens of names offered by the consulting team, I was pretty amused to see that one of them was Culver City Crossroads. (That’s already taken, friends.)
Being located between Downtown Culver City (which we often reference as DTCC – that gets into WOA – World of Acronyms – and that’s a whole other column) and the Arts District, where the art galleries are conveniently clustered, the Robertson Transit Hub may find that the businesses moving in will be referred to in some playful way; it might become the Apple Core.
We could call it the Down Arts district. But right now, most people just say “the train station,” and until something a bit cooler, more hip, comes along, at least we all know what part of Culver City we are naming.