Random Thought

8 Oct

Do you think the popular image and reputation of Cheektowaga, Tonawanda, and Lackawanna would be different if they were instead named Appleton, Swiftwater and Limestone Hill?

NT Erie Canal

Does the name of the town equal its destiny & brand? Do you think more people would want to move to an address in a trendy-named town, rather than a respectful but funny sounding (to modern ears) Seneca name? Is it a coincidence that Buffalo’s (funny name itself) fastest growing suburbs are named Amherst and Clarence? Just sayin’.

17 Responses to “Random Thought”

  1. STEEL October 8, 2009 at 10:20 am #

    This has been known to developers for decades. That is why they call their ridiculous subdivisions ridiculous things like:

    The Pines at Woodland Brook or The Crossings at Quaker Point.

    It does not matter that these names have no relationship at all to the same old same old sprawling sterile subdivision plan. As long as you say it the gullible American public will buy into the fantasy.

    Didn’t Carl Rove teach us that too. I know I just had to insert the political into the thread to make it more fun

  2. STEEL October 8, 2009 at 10:22 am #

    But the real reason the Cheek, Tonawanda and Lacakwanna are dead suburbs is because they are old and Americans only like new stuff. Plus Cheektowaga is too close to the East Side. It has a big fat white flight target painted on it.

  3. Brian Castner October 8, 2009 at 10:40 am #

    STEEL: I know I’m not breaking any new great philosophical ground here, but what gets me is that other cities knew this 200 years ago, and we didn’t. So NYC has suburbs like White Plains, Floral Park, and East Orange. Your neck of the woods has Tinley Park, Mt Prospect and Oak Park. These are old places that weren’t always suburbs. Parts of Hamburg, Amherst and Orchard Park are far older than new parts of Cheek. Still, they thrive. I think its more than a new/old thing. I wish there was some urban planning lab where we could rename Cheek/Ton and Lack and see how investment changes. Srsly.

  4. SusanMary&Josph October 8, 2009 at 10:52 am #

    Isn’t it bad enough that invaders stole the land away from the Native Americans, now we should wipe away any remaining hint of their existence?

  5. Brad October 8, 2009 at 11:04 am #

    I agree that the name of its town is part of its brand. But I don’t think the name of the town can adversely affect its branding. If you’re stuck with an old name, you make it part of your brand. “Old” names haven’t hurt any of the towns on Long Island. Despite the fact that places like Syosset or Massapequa have almost no connections left to anything that happened there prior to 1946 (other than those blue historical site markers), the names actually make the places more interesting. IMO. Whatever population shifts that are happening in those “funny sounding” towns has absolutely nothing to do with their names. In our case, it is just a continuation of the sprawl-without-growth that has ravaged Buffalo. “Blight: Coming soon to a town near you!”

    Speaking of Long Island, it’s interesting that Rockville Center can exist next to Roosevelt. Why? Because there’s just no more room to sprawl on Long Island. It is the opposite end of the state, and it is largely the opposite of WNY. That is, wealthy, supremely proud of itself (to a fault, perhaps), incredibly dense (in an “urban density” kind of way), and tied to an economic center by public transportation. The exact opposite of Buffalo. In fact, the only things we have in common are the same dysfunctional legislature and those funny Indian names. So, no, it’s not the names. It’s everything else.

  6. STEEL October 8, 2009 at 12:17 pm #

    Yes but Cheek Ton and Lack are not old in a good way. They are not (for the most part) cute old just tired old. They are old as in 1960’s and 70’s old. That kind of old is in for some big trouble in the coming decades. People will be attracted to the far fringes or the urban center, not Cheektowaga even if it was rebranded as Forest Meadow.

  7. Christopher Smith October 8, 2009 at 2:34 pm #

    Grand Island sounds impressive, but it sucks. 🙂

  8. Brian Castner October 8, 2009 at 2:48 pm #

    Truer words have never been said! It doesn’t hold a candle to sweet smelling Depew.

    • Alan Bedenko October 8, 2009 at 3:35 pm #

      Best town name: Sardinia. Mountain town named after an Italian Mediterranean Island.

  9. Pauldub October 8, 2009 at 10:43 pm #

    Do you wanna, go to lackawanna??

  10. SusanMary&Josph October 9, 2009 at 10:36 am #

    did you know that “Miami” is an old indian name for a tribe that lived in the Great Lakes Region?

  11. Chris Smith October 9, 2009 at 11:23 am #

    Kidding aside, I think you make an interesting point in regards to our regional branding. It’s not just the town names that are an issue, I think there is a national branding crisis around the name “Buffalo”. We have done such a piss poor job in defining ourselves and what Buffalo is that the name sounds funny and has become a bit of a joke for national comparison purposes.

    When I’m eventually Mayor, I will put forth a resolution to rename our fair city, “Beau Fleuve”

  12. Brian Castner October 9, 2009 at 11:55 am #

    I agree. Branding is a huge issue, and the only one I hear talking about rebreanding is Drew Cerza. Heard an interesting point on Rush Limaugh the other day (I really don’t normally listen, but was stuck – please stay with me). He was talking about Johnny Carson, and how Carson was great at sensing the mood of the country, and reflecting it. He never lead, he always followed. So if Johnny Carson made fun of you, it meant you were really done. There was no “any publicity is good publicity” when it came to Carson picking on you.

    Sooooo, (to carry the point back to Buffalo and away from Rush) when Carson made fun of Buffalo in the Blizzard of ’77, and joked about the snow etc, he put the nail in the coffin. The nation knew we were a joke before, and its stuck ever since.

  13. Jesse October 9, 2009 at 12:08 pm #

    The thing is, “Chicago”, “Seattle”, and “Miami” are all arguably just as funny-sounding as “Buffalo”. Names don’t define brands; brands define names.

  14. Chris Smith October 9, 2009 at 12:29 pm #

    Chicago, Seattle, Miami have all done the work to cultivate and maintain a “regional brand”. Buffalo has not, we have let other people define it for us and the term Buffalo is now synonymous with regional FAIL. So, that’s where we’re at. The question becomes, how do we fix it? Do we need to fix it?

  15. SusanMary&Joseph October 9, 2009 at 12:37 pm #

    I will vote for anyone who proposes to rename Buffalo – “Beau Fleuve.”
    Moreso, I will vote for anyone who gets us a bigger piece of the energy produced from these mighty waters.

  16. Buffalo International Film Festival October 14, 2009 at 7:53 am #

    The Buffalo International Film Festival takes a positive constructive view of Western New York and focuses only on the positive accomplishments of Greater Buffalo.  The purpose of the festival is to “brand” the region in a 100% affirmative way.  We also refer to BUFFALO and NIAGARA FALLS as two separate cities.

    Sad to say, we find that residents of the region are the most negative about where they live. Unless local people speak highly of themselves and where they live and what they accomplish, it is unlikely that anyone else will.

    The success of a community is dependent upon the community itself.

    We believe in “Cultural Patriotism” as a way of showing the world the wonders of our country.

    “Community, Cooperation, and Collaboration are not four letter words.

    Buffalo International Film Festival seeks the support and cooperation of the community in accomplishing positive goals for everyone.

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