Naming rights

From today’s NYT, a tale of naming: “Contest to Name a Lawn Ends as It Gets Personal” by Lisa Foderaro:

It was supposed to be a playful contest, an opportunity for the public to name a lawn in Brooklyn Bridge Park, which is still under construction.

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“Become a part of history and name the lawn at Pier 6!” the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy exhorted on its Web site. “Maybe you have a favorite flower or bird that lives in Brooklyn Bridge Park? Something particularly cool about the view? A little-known fact about local history that deserves some recognition?”

But when a campaign to name the lawn for Chris Hondros, a war photographer from Brooklyn who died two years ago, gathered steam, the conservancy backpedaled. Then on Tuesday, it decided just to call the whole thing off.

They hadn’t contemplated nominations for people, and shrank back from the prospect of choosing one person over any others:

“While the idea of naming a lawn in memory of someone is certainly a lovely idea, we’re keenly aware that there are so many deserving and special Brooklyn residents to memorialize, and it felt like naming the lawn for one person isn’t fully representative of that,” said Nancy Webster, executive director of the conservancy, a nonprofit group that supports the 1.3-mile waterfront park.

(It’s not as if there aren’t plenty of things in New York City named to honor or memorialize particular people. So I’m puzzled by the reluctance in this case.)

On Hondros:

Mr. Hondros, 41, a senior staff photographer for Getty Images, lived three blocks from the park with his fiancée, Christina Piaia, and was killed in Libya in a mortar attack in April 2011, along with the photographer Tim Hetherington. Mr. Hondros and Ms. Piaia were to be married in Brooklyn in August of that year.

Hard to think of a better candidate.


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