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Lifestyles, "On the street where you live" Login/Join
 
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Where you live can say much about who you are. This week's words tell of the streets where you and others live.

easy street – a state of financial comfort or security
    When Bunny's Book Club chose my book, I knew I had it made, easy street, the sweet dreams of the saved. No more halving spicy poorboys, no more baldy tires, no second-hand paperbacks, obsolete WordPerfect or American beer.
    – short story by R.T. Smith, in The Carolina Quarterly, Spring, 2003
 
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quote:
No more halving spicy poorboys
I assume this doesn't mean what it sounds like! Red Face


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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If you move way up from easy street, you might even reach Park Avenue.

Park Avenue – the world of those who are ultra-rich in both money and social standing
The first quotation encapsulates it perfectly.
    Katherine Cassavetes was extroverted, animated and status-conscious. The daughter of a Greek ship captain (a prestigious position within Greek society), she was a member of the Park Avenue high Greek aristocrcacy (where the family joke was that Aristotle Onasis was an unstart businessman without true 'style' or 'class').
    – John Cassavetes, Cassavetes on Cassavetes (speaking of his mother)

    [in a divorce:] A Park Avenue wife may successfully contend that she is used to a standard of living that qualifies her for both a property settlement and a generous living allowance.
    – Marilyn Crockett, The Money Club: The Park Avenue Women's Guide to Personal Finance
Park Avenue in Manhattan has long been a fashionable and very expensive address. The dictionaries have not picked up the metaphorical sense, but Online Etymology notes "Park Avenue as an adj. meaning 'luxurious and fashionable'," dating from 1956. Indeed. The advertising world slaps the Park Avenue name on everything from real estate to automobiles to even dog carriers, to denote high-class luxury.
  • Our Park Avenue Executive Suite provides big city luxury and style – Las Vegas Hilton
  • the luxurious Park Avenue, Buick’s most elegant sedan – General Motors
  • Park Avenue Pet Carrier: New York style and Park Avenue chic

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You might rise from Easy Street to Park Avenue. But if things go ill you may find yourself on Queer Street ...

Queer Street – a condition of financial instability or embarrassment [but see below]
    How should we take Gray’s protestations of poverty? If we accept his word, he is living on the crust of the breadline, a cul-de-sac away from Queer Street. He has nothing in the way of “worldly goods”, he says, except his books, his typewriters, a couple of televisions, various pieces of furniture and his honour.
    – Alan Taylor, in The Sunday Herald, April 25, 2004

    "You see, I've run rather short." "Yes?" said my father. "Well, I'm the worst person to come to for advice. I've never been 'short,' as you so painfully call it. And yet what else could you say? Hard up? Penurious? Distressed? Embarrassed? Stony-broke?" (Snuffle) "On the rocks? In Queer Street? Let us say you are in Queer Street and leave it at that."
    – Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited
Where does the phrase come from? Some say a London street, site of the bankruptcy court, was informally called Queer Street, 'queer' being slang for 'in financial straits'. Others say that traders, in their books, would put a query (?) against the names of customers with suspected financial problems.

In boxing "queer street" is slang for "stumbling and groggy from a blow to the head'. It is often used to refer to the gay community, as in the recent book The Rise and Fall of an American Culture, by James McCourt.
 
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.. on Queer Street , or fall even lower to Tobacco Road ...

Tobacco Road – a squalid poverty-stricken rural area or community
[From the 1932 novel Tobacco Road by Erskine Caldwell]
    I was the second-to-the-last of 10 children. We were Tobacco Road looking folks -- big time poverty -- from Arkansas, who wound up in Salem, Ore., and then moved down here. We were crop pickers, following the crops around. The kids would all go to school and also pick out in the crops.
    – Judy Phillips, small businesswoman, quoted in Stockton (Califoria) Record, Sept. 27, 2004

    They managed graft on a scale comparable with that of their political bosses. The head of the Mexican police force managed to build a residence that makes the homes of Arab sheiks look like Tobacco Road..
    – William F. Buckley, Jr., National Review, Mexican cant, June 29, 1984
The term is often used in a different sense, in sports reports, to refer to the collegiate basketball teams from Carolina.
 
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I am new here to the board, but I love it! I'm curious about the origins of the sunny side of the street.

I can't find the phrase in Morris Dict of Word and Phrase Origin, nor in The Encyc. of Word and Phrase Origins by Facts on File, as well as a few other things, including some quotation sources.

Was the Great Satchmo (Louis Armstrong) the first to use the phrase? The lyrics were by Dorothy Fields, music by Jimmy McHugh . . .

Grab your coat and get your hat
Leave your worries on the doorstep
Life can be so sweet
On the sunny side of the street

Can't you hear the pitter-pat
And that happy tune is your step
Life can be complete
On the sunny side of the street

I used to walk in the shade with my blues on parade
But I'm not afraid...this rover?s crossed over

If I never had a cent
I'd be rich as Rockefeller
Gold dust at my feet
On the sunny side of the street

(instrumental break)

I used to walk in the shade with them blues on parade
Now I'm not afraid... this rover has crossed over

Now if I never made one cent
I'll still be rich as Rockefeller
There will be goldust at my feet
On the sunny
On the sunny, sunny side of the street


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"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
~Dalai Lama
 
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... to Tobacco Road, or even to the depths of skid row. ...

skid row – a squalid city district, inhabited by derelicts, alcoholics. addicts and the homeless
    Many of them are said to have a skid-row existence — living hand-to-mouth, sleeping in their cars, hiding out behind commercial trash bins or living in groups of 10 or 12 in low-rent apartments.
    – Nancy Perkins, Deseret (Utah) Morning News, August 26, 2004

    [in Philadelphia:] Franklin Square, the city's Skid-Row park where the homeless, the unemployed and the people of indigent leisure gather amid the adjacent flophouses, cheap hotels, missions, second-hand clothing stores, reading and writing lobbies, pawnshops, employment agencies, tattoo parlors, burlesque houses and eateries.
    – Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities
 
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In the early 1850s, Henry Yesler built a sawmill on Puget Sound in Seattle in what is now called Pioneer Square. Mill Street (now Yesler Way) was a log road that ran from his sawmill up to the logging camps. The road was lined with planks or timbers called "skids," and logs were hauled or "skidded" down this road. Consequently, it became known as "Skid Road." As you might imagine, loggers were not the cream of society, and the area along the skid road became lined with establishments that catered to their tastes; that is, bars, brothels, and flophouses. By 1930, according to The Word Detective, "skid road" had become "skid row," and was applied to any run-down area.

Word Origins disagrees with the claim that the original skid road was in Seattle, and says the "earliest known use of skid road is from the Adirondack region of New York".

Ask Yahoo has links to these sources, plus a couple others.

Tinman
 
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... skid row. Isn't it better to to be an ordinary fellow on Main Street, ...

Main Street – typical, average Americans, taken as a group [see first two quotes]; sometimes limited to those typical of rural and small-town America [see last three quotes]

[Note: Dictionaries also give a meaning of "parochial, conservative, smugly-complacent mediocrity," sometimes as the primary definition or even the sole definition. But that negative sense (spread by Sinclair Lewis's 1920 novel Main Street) seems to be rather infrequent in actual usage.
    George Bush wants to help people on Easy Street. I want to help people on Main Street.
    – Michael Dukakis, 1988 US presidential candidate opposing the first George Bush:

    … the late president’s funeral did not take place in Arlington Cemetery alone. It took place in a living room in Los Angeles, in Grand Central Terminal in New York, in kitchens and offices across the United States. John F Kennedy’s casket did not ride down Pennsylvania Avenue only. It rode down Main Street.
    – Newsweek, Dec. 9, 1963

    Pain on Main Street: Rural Americans are bearing a disproportionate price on the battlefield in Iraq. – Article title, Newsweek, Aug. 9, 2004

    Drought is the quiet killer that slowly squeezes the life out of Main Street America.
    – Max Baucus, USA Today, Sept. 23, 2004

    I resented the sneers at Main Street. For I have known that in the cottages that lay behind the street rested the strength of our national character.
    – campaign speech by Herbert Hoover, U.S. president 1929-1933
 
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... on Main Street, or on a suburban Acacia Avenue?

Acacia AvenueBrit; facetious: any middle-class suburban street.
    In London, the straggling Acacia Avenue suburbs, often gone to seed, could be pulled down and rebuilt to intensive city density to give more people homes.
    – Polly Toynbee, The Guardian, Sept. 3, 2004
So to put it all together:
If you strive to move up from Easy Street, you might even reach Park Avenue. But with things go ill you may find yourself on Queer Street, or fall even lower to Tobacco Road, or even to the depths of skid row. Isn't it better to be an ordinary fellow on Main Street, or on a suburban Acacia Avenue?
 
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One of my early limericks for the OEDILF was for Acacia Avenue if anyone wants to take a look.
 
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Makes me wonder how many place names are actually tree names. The area of town I work in is called "Linden" due to all of the Linden trees planted there by the German immigrants. When we were buying trees to landscape I purposefully researched for a suitable strain of the Lindens to help re-grow our namesake folliage.


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"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
~Dalai Lama
 
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Interesting you never mentioned Clink Street. Or the expression therefrom derived, "...He's in the Clink..."


Richard English
 
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Originally posted by Caterwauller:
Makes me wonder how many place names are actually tree names.

acacia, alder, azalea, apricot, ash, aspen, beech, birch, cherry, cedar, chestnut, dogwood, Douglas fir, elder, elderberry, elm, fir, hemlock, hickory, holly, horsechestnut, Ilex, ironwood, larch, laurel, leatherwood, lime, locust, madrona, madrone, magnolia, maple, oak, orange, pawpaw, peach, pear, pine, quince, redbud, redwood, rhododendron, rosewood, sandalwood, sassafras, sequoia, spruce, sumac, sycamore, tamarack, viburnum, Walnut, willow, yew, zebrawood

That's all I can think of at the moment. I can't think of any that begin with j, k, u,or x. The list gets longer if you expand it to include shrub and other plant names. Here's an article titled History of Street Names and Street Naming in North America .

Tinman

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