Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A tale of two bridges.

In New York, we have two ancient bridges that have just been given spanking new names.

The 19th Century Queensborough Bridge, also known as the 59th Street Bridge has just been re-dubbed the Ed Koch Queensborough Bridge. A few dozen blocks further uptown the Depression-era Triborough Bridge (my second favorite bridge in New York) has just been re-named The Robert F. Kennedy Bridge.

There's a problem with these re-namings.

First off, I can't believe that any New Yorker will ever call either of these bridges by their new names. The Triborough will always be the Triborough and the Queensborough, to Manhattanites at least, will always be the 59th Street Bridge. These names are honorifics. I can't imagine they will become part of New York's rapidly moving patois. (Similarly, I know no one who calls Sixth Avenue "Avenue of the Americas." Calling it such marks you as a rube, or worse, a Jerseyite.)

Second, and the real point here, the Ed Koch Queensborough Bridge is named after someone who is living. Never name something after someone living. Their "life story" isn't finished yet. What if Koch is caught in flagrante delicto with a goat? Why rush to change something and risk a debacle?

I think there's an advertising point here as well.

It's great to do something first, to, as clients and account people like to say, push the envelope. But it's not ok to proclaim something as new and improved before you're actually sure it's both new and improved.

In just the last few months more than a couple new, new things have unceremoniously fizzled. When was the last time you checked your Google+ account.

It's simple, really.

Think before you speak.

Look before you leap.

1 comment:

glasgowdick said...

For us the 59th street bridge was the fresh-baked bread bridge and the Tri-boro was "let's go to grandma's and suck in second hand smoke" bridge.