Tuesday, September 21, 2010

How do I get to A T and T Street?

On June 24, 2010, AT&T signed an agreement with SEPTA which entitled Pattison Station to be renamed AT&T Station in August 2010. The move is to increasing advertising revenue. AT&T would give SEPTA $3 million, and Titan Outdoor LLC, SEPTA's advertising partner, would receive $2 million. SEPTA is also planning to sell rights to other stations.
So, there you have it. The first subway station (that I know of) that isn't named after its address. Try telling somebody who isn't familiar with the area that they have to get off at the AT&T Station and let them figure out what street or neighborhood they are in. "Am I on A T and T Street?" No. You're in a commercial development that is represented by a corporation that has purchased naming rights to a public facility. It's almost a good idea. Give us a few million bucks and we'll confuse commuters. That seems like a fair trade.
The need for money has driven otherwise sensible people to do stupid things - like naming a subway station after a company. It's the same sort of convoluted thinking that makes me hope that someday (before I die, preferably) the government will legalize marijuana. That would be a much better option than re-naming a subway station.
Sports stadiums are no longer named after great people or their location, save Baltimore's Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Now, they are named after banks and corporations, and change names so quickly that it's nearly impossible to tell where a particular stadium or ballpark is located. Try these:
Minute Maid Park
Citi Field
M & T Bank Stadium
Rogers Centre
Safeco Field
Miller Park
Comerica Park
U.S. Cellular Field
Tropicana Field
PNC Park

Without the aid of Google, tell me where each of those Major League ballparks is located and which teams play there. Most of them have been renamed once or twice, so good luck with that. The arena where our Philadelphia Flyers play is working on its fourth name change, and is now known as the Wells Fargo Center. How romantic.
Even though the numbers (and our government) tell us that the recession is over, signs are pointing to a deflationary environment, which economists will tell you, is worse than an inflationary one. Prices are supposed to go up, they aren't supposed to go down. When prices and wages start to decline, the country becomes a strange place to live.
You start to see things like subway stations being named after corporations, and commuters that are confused. Meanwhile, those of us who are natives will continue to call it the Pattison Avenue station, because it stops at Pattison Avenue. Call us strange, but we're funny that way.
It will take at least one generation of commuters to start calling it by its commercialized name, and by then our standards will be so low that we'll be seeing school buses, taxi cabs and your forehead decorated with the logo of your favorite corporation.
Meanwhile, I'll keep calling it Delaware Avenue and West River Drive, in spite of government and corporate efforts to get me to do otherwise.
I'm funny that way, too.

1 comment:

Kcoz said...

They turned the Sears Tower in Chicago to another name I can’t recall…I know it is not a public building but it is a landmark.

Your post is more proof that The Corporation is running every aspect of our life, and since the corporation business model is actually psychopathic, it is no surprise we live in such strange and hard times.