How did these New York cities get their names?

What I remember reading at the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse is that the town of Syracuse sprung up near a brine spring lake which was found to be very productive as far as salt harvesting. In fact, IIRC, up into the early 20th century, most of the salt consumed in the US came from the Syracuse area. The exact salt producing site was named Salina by the early salt miners. When the nearby town later grew large enough to warrent its own name, the mucky mucks there decided to name it Syracuse, in reference to the ancient city of Syracuce on Scicily, which is itself located next to a small island named Salina.


It’s pronounced that way in NY too. Did you think otherwise?

Well, yeah. I always thought Albany was pronounced “All-beny” or “All-bany”. Having known people from up-state NY and living around here, the two pronounciations are markedly different.

Yeah, there was a lot of classical fervor back in the Revolutionary/early America days. A lot of people expressly compared the US to early republican Rome. Classical studies were a much bigger part of a standard education back then, so anyone who was somewhat educated was steeped in Homer and Virgil and whatnot, and Latin was a standard subject to study. Less-educated people still absorbed that atmosphere.

That’s why buildings in Washington, and by extension most of our government buildings, have that pseudo-classical architecture. When George Washington stepped down from the presidency, everyone promptly labeled him the American Cincinnatus (so Cincinnati is another city named after a Roman).

Please, please tell me it was traditional for Rome’s fans to wave salt-shakers menacingly at games.

Oh - and to chant “Carthago delenda est!”

Or as mundane as Rockland. Which was named that due the fact there were a lot of rocks there.

Revolutionary war figures were another big source of names. We have counties named after Benjamin Franklin, Nathanael Greene, Alexander Hamilton, Nicholas Herkimer, Thomas Jefferson, Robert Livingston, James Madison, James Monroe, Richard Montgomery, Israel Putnam, Philip Schuyler, Friedrich von Steuben, John Sullivan, Joseph Warren, George Washington, and Anthony Wayne.

And within a few miles of Moscow ID are Wellesley, Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Vassar, Cornell, and Purdue. Not all of which are viable towns today, some are just names on a map. All were at one time stations on a railroad, named by an early-day railway surveyor who was very proud of his Ivy-league education. Possibly influenced by the fact that Moscow is home to the University of Idaho…NOT Ivy League, hopelessly incapable of fielding a credible football team, but does have a reputation of being a top-notch research school :stuck_out_tongue:
SeldomSeen in Idaho these days

Up here, it’s said so fast that All-binny and All-benny pretty much sound the same.
Never ever have I heard the ‘a’ in the ‘bany’ part pronounced with an ‘a’ sound.

I’ve seen TV shows where they the actors would say the first syllable as “Al”, instead of “All”, clearly taking me out of the scene.

I thought “East Fishkill” was a heck of a name for a town until I found out that Kill was Dutch for stream.

Not to mention this politically incorrect stream name near Albany.

The ablative absolute is a construction common in Latin, but rarely found in English, unless the writer had a classical education and was consciously modelling his style on Latin. “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” People who aspired to be accepted as cultured were taught to admire and emulate the Greek and Roman civilizations.

Or better yet, after a victory plowed the football field under and doused it with salt.

“Neck” is a common part of the names of the peninsulas of the north shore of Long Island (NY) and some parts thereof. Among others, Little Neck, Great Neck, Cow Neck, Hog Neck, Horse Neck (the latter three more historical than current). The peninsulas have very curved shorelines and some of these names may have started as names of smaller regions and then extended to names of the whole peninsula.

:smack: I should know better than to post while sick (literally) and tired. What I meant was that West Egg and East Egg are not Little Neck and Great Neck but Great Neck and Cow Neck (Sands Point, really), respectively. I will now retire from the field.