Mets/Willets Point

Citigroup and any other business that buys naming rights obviously wants more than their name on the building. They want the name to be used constantly as people refer to the place in conversations, on broadcasts, in directions, in news stories, and everywhere else for that matter. “I’ll meet you at Citi Field.” “We’re located just off the Long Island Express Way, two blocks from Citi Field!” “Hello again everybody, and welcome to beautiful Citi Field, where today the Yankees play the Red Sox in a game relocated due to Yankee Stadium’s destruction at the hands of Dr. Manhattan.” That kind of thing.

In reality, the majority of these efforts are thwarted in that people either continue to use the old name for the stadium or the name of the stadium the corporate name is replacing, or more creatively, people come up with cutesy new names in an effort to avoid using the corporate name. BOB. The Phone Booth. That kind of thing.

The New York Metropolitan Transit Authority is taking it one step further, telling Citigroup that if they want their name used on a subway station, they’ll have to pay for the privilege.

Good for the Transit Authority.

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Comments

  1. Rob said...

    What’s up with NYC co-opting the Kennedys?  First the airport, then the lake in Central Park, now the Triboro bridge?

    Also, isn’t the Jackie Robinson Expressway the BQE?  I can’t imagine a stretch of highway I’d less want to bear my name.

  2. ditmars1929 said...

    Glad you concur, Jason.  And for God’s sake, it’s Sixth Avenue, NOT Avenue of the Americas.

    I’m wondering if the illustrious Michael Kay will still say “Yankee Stadium” or if he’ll switch and call it “New Yankee Stadium”.  Based on the fact that he’s a complete moron, I’ll guess the latter.

    By the way, Jason, nice blog you got there.

    Yep, Alex, that does ring a bell now, the Interboro, not the Belt.  Thanks for that, but I’ll still call it the Interboro.  Hell, I still refer to the numbered subway lines as the IRT.

  3. Chris H. said...

    Well I think things like highways, etc. take a lot longer.  Here in Chicago when they renamed the new Comiskey Park “U.S. Cellular Field,” people still called it Comiskey for a while.  Then there was the cutesy-hybrid period with things like “U.S. Comiskular.”  But now, it’s either “U.S. Cellular Field” or just “The Cell.”

    Things like highways (or, as we call them here, “expressways”) take longer.  When I was a kid, everyone used the names: the Kennedy Expressway, the Edens Expressway, the Eisenhower Expressway (or “the Ike”), the Tri-State Tollway, and so on.  All the news reports, etc., used these names.  You never heard the Interstate numbers at all.  To this day, if you ask my dad where the I-290 is, he’ll give you a blank stare, but if you call it the Ike, he knows what you mean.

    Nowadays the reports tend to use both: radio is a mix, and the TV displays may refer to the expressways by name but the graphics, etc. all use the numbers.  People from my generation (or younger) tend to know the numbers better than the names, or at least that’s been my observation.  And if the people weren’t born and raised here?  Numbers almost exclusively.

    Same with renaming.  Something got renamed as the Reagan Tollway around here, but I couldn’t tell you where it is or anything.

  4. Chris H. said...

    ARGH!  I can’t believe I said that!  How do you delete comments?  Of course, blue is far more likely to mean CUBS fan!

    I am so ashamed.

  5. Jason @ IIATMS said...

    @Ditmars: thanks for the comment.  What is this “Avenue of the Americas” that you reference?  After 5th comes 6th, then 7th, unless disected by B’day.

    For the non NYCers: B’way runs diagonnally thru the grid of NYC, from the Northwest to Southeast.

    And don’t ask what happened the 4th Ave.  It’s there, just stubby.

  6. Grant said...

    Maybe they’ll use that subway naming money to keep fares from going up in two weeks. What? The MTA hates poor people? Right, I forgot. Say hello to your $103 Metrocard folks…

  7. Aarcraft said...

    I can tell you that in Houston, we were more than happy to stop calling it Enron, and Astrodome didn’t really make any sense. So its Minute Maid, or The Juice Box. Thats different animal entirely, though.

  8. Chipmaker said...

    Good for the transit authority not to cave in. Corporate names are far too unreliable. As pointed out, Enron became Minute Maid following one of the earlier financial disasters. Up in Arlington, “Ameriquest” went kaput and now it’s just simple Rangers (Unsponsored) Ballpark. Where the Marlins play went through a few names in rapid succession. The Giants’ home may as well be called “Telco Du Jour”.

    And now Citi? Does anyone think Citi will still be called Citi, or that Citi as it is today will still exist, in 2028? It might not be here under that name in 2010.

    Ballparks can do what they like, but I’m glad the MTA has the clarity of vision (no doubt inspired by not getting any filthy lucre) not to fall for it.

  9. kendynamo said...

    so theyre making the semi nationalized citigroup pay for right to have thier corporate name on a subway stop, but theyre giving the wholly private company, the mets, free advertising.  well, i guess since the city paid for half the stadium.  still, i dont see how what theyre doing is in any way more fair than the alternative.

    regarding local landmark naming conventions and thier politicization: when i first moved to dc i called the airport ‘Reagan airport’ in the precense of a ‘native washingtonian’.  i was condesendingly corrected and told that no one calls it reagan, and that it will always be known as National Airport, and that i shouldn’t call it reagan unless i wanted to sound like a tourist.  that ticked me off so now i go out of my way to call it reagan.  the last thing in the world that i would want is to be confused with a native washingtonian, or worse, someone who grew up in montgomery county, md.

  10. Jason @ IIATMS said...

    Funny stuff, Ken. 

    Don’t even bother asking me what’s the name of the stadiums in NJ.  For me, it’s just “the Meadowlands”.  And where the Devils now play in Newark?  I just found out that they are there so I can’t even consider being able to answer that one.

  11. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Ken—I was living in DC when they changhed the name. It just seemed really awkward to me and I always called it National. I lived one Metro stop down from the airport, and for at least a year after the change the Metro drivers were still calling the stop National Airport.  Not sure if they still do or not.

    Since I moved away, however, I am finding myself referring to it as Reagan more and more (e.g. when I’m thinking of flying there I’ll say “let’s check fares and see if we can get a better rate into Dulles than Reagan”).  I think the takeaways are that all changes take time, and that the changes inspired by politics (Reagan/National; JFK/Idlewild) are a little easier to take than the ones inspired by commerce.

  12. kendynamo said...

    So craig, you lived in or near Crystal City?  Ever go to the crystal city restaurant?  great wings there.

    i dont really get excited about the nameing stuff stuff one way or the other, i was just peeved at my friend for implying that i should make a concsious effort to try and pass myself off as a local, and that being recognized as an out of towner is somehow less desirable than being from dc.  cha right!  make a decent pizza first and then we’ll talk.

    and jason – the meadowlands never had a corporate sponsor.  same with giant stadiumm located in the meadowlands.  the stadium on the premises, however, has gone through several iterations.  i think its the IZOD Center now, which is just plain awesome.

  13. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Ken:  I lived right at the Braddock Road Metro station from 1995-1998.  And yes, I’ve been to the Crystal City Restaurant.  I can’t remember the wings, however, because of all of the semi-nude women.  That place always made me wonder whether wives of husbands who go to DC on business ever wondered why the credit card charges for a mere “restaurant” came out to hundreds of dollars.

    “But honey, really, the wings were SUPER expensive there . . .”

  14. dave said...

    As noted the Jackie Robinson is the old Interboro, and I have never heard anyone under the age of 70 that drives the road call it anything but the Jackie Robinson since the name change.
    The MTA is exactly right for a change.  If C wanted a different deal they should have had it negotiated into the naming rights contract.  Pandit wants a freebie?  Pound sand, clownass.

  15. Chris H. said...

    Aaron Moreno: yeah, when we use the term “expressway” in Chicago, it means what most people mean when they use the term “freeway,” i.e. an Interstate that doesn’t charge tolls.

    No idea why they’re called expressways here, but there you go.

    And I still call the airport in DC “National” only because that’s what everyone called it when I used to travel on business all the time, and it’s stuck in my head that way.

    That’s one scary airport.  The runways are, like, what, 20 feet long?  First time I flew into National, as we approached I looked out the window and saw water.  Looked out again after a bit and I saw individual waves.  Looked out again after a bit and I saw *fish*.  I was sure we were going to splash down.

  16. ditmars1929 said...

    Craig, you are correct in that up here in NYC, we tend to stick to the old names.  The West Side Highway was renamed after Joe DiMaggio.  I have never heard anyone use JoeD’s name to describe it.  There’s also a stretch of highway somewhere around here named after Jackie Robinson, but I can’t even tell you where since nobody uses the new name.  I think it might be part of the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn. Some fools in our city government, for no apparent reason, just renamed the already famous Triborough Bridge after a scumbag politician not from New York, but Boston.  You will NEVER hear anyone say, “Just cross over the RFK Bridge, and you’ll be in Queens.”

    They can slap Citi’s name on the building and use more of our Citi bailout tax dollars to pay for renaming the subway station, and it won’t make any difference at all.  Us NYers will still say, “Well if you got tickets to Shea, just take the 7 train to Willet’s Point.”

  17. ditmars1929 said...

    Oh, and as an addendum, I hope like hell that the Mets won’t have too many games aired on Fox, because you know that windbag jackass, McCarver, will be good for at least 10 obnoxious Citi references per inning.

  18. Jason @ IIATMS said...

    ditmars is spot on.  I think the Jackie Robinson Highway is in brooklyn, which would make some sense.  And I’ll never go over the RFK Bridge but will cross the Triboro.

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