More periodophilia in the NYT

It’s probably about time to give up on mocking the NYT‘s love of periods in initialisms, but here’s one last bash. In the map accompanying the December 23 story on the enormous snowfall in Syracuse NY, we see figures for the month (through December 22) for various New York locations:

What caught my eye was J.F.K. referring to John F. Kennedy International Airport. Uniformly, references to the airport in its own literature seem to be as John F. Kennedy (International) Airport or Kennedy Airport or simply Kennedy or JFK (International) Airport or simply JFK (JFK is its airport code, changed from IDL when Idlewild became John F. Kennedy). Yet, because the abbreviation for John F. Kennedy, the name of the person, is J.F.K., the Times is treating the airport name by the same convention, which in any case accords with its own style sheet, despite the practice of the airport and virtually all the other sources I could find. (There are too many hits for me to search exhaustively.)

(Practices on periods in initialistic abbreviations of names vary, though not of course in the Times. Elsewhere, you can find both F.D.R. and FDR for Franklin Delano Roosevelt, G.W.B. and GWB for George W. Bush, and so on.)

I don’t know of any parallel cases. There are a fair number of airports named after people, but as far as I can see, few after people with three-initial names, and none of these carried over into customary names for the airports: Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), John Wayne Airport (SNA), General Edward Lawrence Logan Airport (BOS) (called simply Logan), and so on.


4 Responses to “More periodophilia in the NYT”

  1. Chris Ambidge Says:

    Charles de Gaulle airport outside of Paris, with IATA code CDG (without the periods)

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      Airport codes in schedules and the like are always periodless. But does anyone refer to the airport as C.D.G. or CDG rather than de Gaulle?

      There are some airports where the codes are used in ordinary speech to refer to them — LAX for example (“I need a taxi to go to LAX”, but not, say, “I need a taxi to go to LAG”) — so there’s a question about how the Times would treat this mention of LAX in print.

  2. Jack H Says:

    People in the travel forums and newsgroups often refer to airports by their codes. I sometimes call the Cincy airport “CVG”, because it’s in Covington.

    I wonder how the Times refers to radio station KLBJ.

  3. » More periodophilia in the NYT « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

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