December 31, 2005
My son Nathan and I were today discussing how we Bostonians abbreviate street names. We call Commonwealth Avenue “Comm Ave” and Massachusetts Avenue becomes “Mass Ave.” We noticed that many of the local three-syllable streets have meaningful nouns for their first syllable. So, we could call Washington St. “Wash,” Chestnut Hill Avenue “Chest” and Beacon Street “Beak.” Yes, technically Beacon only has two syllables, but we want to be able to say we live near the intersection of Wash and Beak, and not far from Chest and Beak.
Despite the Boston passion for abbreviations, we tend not to shorten “VFW Parkway.” Nathan noticed that that’s seven syllables, and thus could be the heart of a haiku. Here goes:
The name is too long:
I call it “The Veef.”
Or perhaps you prefer a non-scanning Limerick:
In Boston we tend to abbreviate
the names of long streets, to alleviate
the rush and confusion
of syllables in profusion
That if said would make us extremely late.