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April 05, 2013


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And... there goes my afternoon too. I found a page with nicknames for cities in the UK. That should keep me busy for a while.

I believe Greenfield, in the Salinas Valley, is the Broccoli Capital of the World.
Holtville used to be at one end of a local railroad known as the Holtville Interurban whose right-of-way was incorporated into the Southern Pacific's line connecting the East-West main line at Niland through the Imperial Valley to El Centro and Calexico.

On a somewhat related note, the city of Seattle wanted to have a nickname besides "Jet City," which I believe the chamber of commerce (or whoever) thought was a little too focused on one industry. The Seattle Times held a contest -- this was in the 1980s, so I vaguely remember it -- and the winner was The Emerald City. (Not bad, I thought.) It was the only instance I'd personally lived through of a city self-consciously choosing its own nickname, tho I suppose that lots of places likewise have done something similar in a booster-ish way.

A bit of New Orleans (actually in Metairie) is also called "Fat City", which I love.

All of this "of the world" grandiosity reminds me of the times my wife and I run into some run-down dump or dive called the "World Famous" this or that. She's from Copenhagen, and we always get a giggle out of imagining that the World Famous Breakfast Club on Tybee Island, Georgia is the toast of the salons in Paris and the talk of the town in Tokyo.

And here in Iowa, let us not forget: The sign coming into town proudly proclaims that Lake City has "Everything but a Lake."

I live near Half Moon Bay, self proclaimed "Pumpkin Capital of the World". Because of draconian coastal regulation, high land prices and NIMBY's, there are not many pumpkins grown around town anymore. For the Halloween pumpkin season, most pumpkins are trucked 65 miles from from Watsonville. In fact, instead of paying $10 for a jack o lantern pumpkin, I've scavenged roadside pumpkins which fell off trucks on the way to the fields.

Mccloud as Blackberry Capital: I can see that. The climate there is perfect for soft berries.

I'm from Hollister, which tried to bill itself as the earthquake capital of the world for some years before it realized that (a) the claim was totally inaccurate and (b) it was scaring away potential tourists. Of course, that was the least of Hollister's tourism problems, but I think it makes for a funny story.

As a southerner, maybe I can contribute a little. Here are some names sent in for Orange County cities:
The only ones I've actually heard in conversation are:

Anaheim -- Anaslime
Leisure World -- Seizure World and Geezer World (It's a retirement community.)
Garden Grove -- Garbage Grove
Villa Park -- Vanilla Park (very wealthy, tiny city)
Fashion Island -- Fascist Island (actually a big shopping mall in a stinking rich area)

I'm also familiar with the origin of two nicknames listed for Santa Monica in the Wikipedia entry:

"People's Republic of Santa Monica", actually used in conversation, beginning in the late 1970s when it was the first city in the area to institute rent control

"The home of the homeless", a signature sign-off of Harry Shearer's weekly radio program from Santa Monica College's station

Mudge: I was focusing on official nicknames of the sort you'd see on city-limits signs. Pejorative nicknames are in a separate category. A couple of years ago I posted a link to a discussion of Pennsyltucky, the People's Republic of X, and many others:

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