Saturday, August 19, 2017

Still Life with Robin: Name That Park!

Parky MacParkSpace?
Image by NoMa Parks Foundation
by Peggy Robin

It’s a bit far afield from Cleveland Park, but the neighborhood of NoMa is asking for public input to help name two new parks, a larger one that will be created at 2.5-acre site along Harry Thomas Way north of Florida Avenue (see for the plan), and then a smaller, 8,000 square foot one at Third and L Streets NW (see (  You can read about both parks and the naming project here:

Since we’re all one city, and many of us are creative thinkers, and some of us are even more creative namers, I think we needn’t shy away from participating in this naming contest just because we’re not nearby neighbors. I don’t know how good we are at coming up with catchy names for parcels of land, but when I was googling around to find out if DC residents have any special talent for naming things, I found one article that listed some clever punning dog names, including Anderson Pooper, Ruth Bader Ginsbark, Virginia Woof, and Winnie the Poodle. Inspired by that, I think we should certainly send this contest our best.

By the way, if you are already thinking along the lines of Parky McParkspace (the internet naming meme is discussed in this New York Times article: – just be aware that the contest organizers are already a few steps ahead of you, having come up with a method to screen out this sort of thing. NoMa Parks director Stacie West has already ruled, “No Boaty McBoatface” (see Greater Greater Washington, August 15, 2017:

For the larger park, the top contenders at the moment seems to be Union Park and Union Green. Either of these would be OK. Kind of boring, though. But they don’t stir up any strong opposition, and that may be what’s needed. “Swampoodle Park” – based on an older, pre-gentrification name for the neighborhood – is getting some support. In a nod to its post-gentrification demographics, how about Millennials’ Park? Or just be frank about it and call it Gentrification Park.

In the comments section at, someone proposed Paul McCartney Park, since since NoMa was host to the Beatles' first US concert. Suggestions from the Greater Greater Washington comments section include: Congress Park, Trolley Park, S’Poodle Park (just for the smaller dog park-within-a-park), Eckington Park, and NoMEckington Park.

Another acronymic neighborhood name (proposed by Tim on the Greater Greater Washington site) was this mouthful: PoMetBraTNoFlA (composed from bits of “Park off the Metropolitan Branch Trail North of Florida Avenue.”) But the funniest one was from Ryan, who wrote: “Clearly, the park should be named: "After Community Review, We Recommend Further Studying the Name of This" Park.

Since we would need to acronymize that to turn it into a pronounceable name, here’s what I propose: AfComRev-WeRecoFurSNoT Park. Of course, it would quickly be shortened to its two final syllables, “FurSNot Park.”

Entries will be accepted through August 25 – so if you’re inclined to weigh in, it’s anchors aweigh – right here: (for the larger park)
and here: (for the smaller park)

Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays. 

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