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January 31, 2014
Broadway Village?
By Rick Winterson

But no, “Broadway Village” was dreamt up by an anonymous jokester, and actually appeared in print on the real estate pages of one of our downtown dailies late last week.  By the way, these dailies aren’t downtown any longer, which is proof positive that many words describing local institutions are definitely and frequently deceiving.
It’s not that “Broadway Village” is pretentious, although it certainly is.  No, what’s far worse is that the name (similar to “Brookline Village”) is blatantly cutesie-poo.  Yes, cutesie-poo to point of being downright silly.  Lower Broadway can be described in many ways, but it certainly isn’t silly.  Nor does it have chalets imported from the Swiss Alps or thatched roofs from the bogs of Ireland.  One gets a faint frisson of nausea at the sound of “Broadway Village, even when it’s quietly whispered.
Here’s an example of how simple wordplay can be used to fabricate ridiculous place names:  We call the eastern end of South Boston “City Point”, even though it’s as far from the City as it can get without being in salt water, which is very cold at this time of year.  By the same token, the Lower End is quite far from America’s West, so why not call it “West Point”?  In South Boston Online’s opinion, it would be better to call the proposed name change “What’s the Point?”  After all, referring to “West (or “Lower”) Broadway near the station” has worked for generations
Yes, yes; we know, we know:  Once upon a time, long ago, there really was a “Village” located in what is now part of South Boston.  But that was, well, a real, actual village.  It was originally a small settlement named “Little Neck”, clustered around a glassworks.  And it was still part of Dorchester after South Boston was annexed to Boston, so South Boston residents were completely blameless for the word “Village”.  In 1850, its 1,000 residents (still from Dorchester) voted to name it “Washington Village”, in honor of one of the real heroes of the Evacuation of Boston on March 17, 1776.  In fact, the Evacuation of Boston was Washington’s first victory in our War for Independence.  After all that took place, “Washington Village” was eventually annexed to South Boston.
To get serious for a moment (yes, that’s difficult for us here at South Boston Online!), the intersection of Dorchester Ave. and West Broadway is not any kind of “Village”.  It’s really a “Crossing”, to use the correct term; it was once the southern terminus of the Red Line.  And what’s just as important, it’s now named the “John J. McDonough (Gold Star) Square”.  If a name change turns out to be essential for some reason, then “Broadway Crossing” sounds pretty good to us.  Meanwhile, let’s keep it as it is.
Or perhaps it could be named for a prominent person.  We already have the Kelly Bridge, the Curley Community Center, the Mary Ellen McCormack Housing Development, and the Moakley Courthouse.  And we have a precedent also:  Andrew Square was named for John Albion Andrew, who was prominent in the mid-1800s.  He was Governor of Massachusetts from 1861 till 1865.  Look him up; you’ll be surprised at all he did.  His middle name might strike a few vibrations also.
But please, please, not “Broadway Village”.  We already live in a shallow world that has become too silly by far.
Take a moment and let South Boston Online know what you think.

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