"Bay View" is two words, and it's not a city, either

I know I'm a grammar snob, but one word (which should be two), totally drives me crazy: when people who should know better spell "Bay View" as "Bayview."

I see it all the time: on the Actaea Works billboard on the corner of Oklahoma and Chase Avenues, on bumper stickers and on return addresses. Most disturbingly, it even graces the purple banners that hang from street lights in the neighborhood. Please tell whoever spell checked these things: Bay View is most definitely two words.

Come on. Is it too much to ask that you know how to spell the neighborhood in which you live? You don't see people splitting "River West," or mashing together "Elmgrove" or "Riverhills." Are people lazy or have they stopped caring all together?

Which brings up an even bigger pet peeve about my charming neighborhood, which I prefer to call "Milwaukee's Other East Side." Bay View isn't a city. That means addressing an envelope with "Bay View, WI 53207" is completely wrong. That's akin to writing your return address as "North Shore, WI 53217." Think about how snotty -- and ignorant -- that would look.

Bay View is a neighborhood, with rough and unofficial boundaries, in the City of Milwaukee. It used to be its own village, but was annexed by Milwaukee in 1887. I know Milwaukeeans don't like change, but I highly doubt even the most elderly business owners on Kinnickinnic Avenue, ordering business cards, are more than 120 years old.

I've heard a few reasons for people insisting that they live in "Bay View, Wis." and some seem innocuous enough. They cite neighborhood pride, and that's just fine, but then tell people you live in Bay View, but get your address right. You pay City of Milwaukee taxes, so you might as well know your correct mailing address.

The most nefarious excuse I've heard comes from people who don't want to associate their homes with the City of Milwaukee, because it's just a little too "urban." And if that's the case, it's just plain old racist and is simply despicable. Pretending you don't live in Milwaukee doesn't change anything, and truthfully, Bay View is one of the more diverse neighborhoods I've lived in (in Wisconsin, anyway).

So take pride, or don't -- that's up to you. But at least spell the name of your neighborhood correctly, Bay View. And don't forget that above and beyond all, this great community is part of the even greater City of Milwaukee.

Grammar snob or not, you owe it to yourself to know where you live.

Talkbacks

FlavorDav | Nov. 11, 2007 at 9:26 a.m. (report)

35763 By the way, I've figured out where EAST Allis is. It's Cudahy ...

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FlavorDav | Nov. 11, 2007 at 9:25 a.m. (report)

35763 AmyLCarson: do not cast aspersions on the linguistic skills of Christina Ward. She used to clean up the so-called English in novels to be published for a living. Guys who print up really big signs, on the other hand, aren't always so exacting ...

Not to mention guys who publish online magazines ...

Andy Tarnoff: "grammar" snobbery has nothing to do with it. This is not an issue of grammar, perhaps not even on of spelling, it's an issue of convention. For the record, I'm all for "Bay View," but if I'm going to hassle somebody about it, I'm at last going to characterize why I'm hassling them correctly.

But, for the record, if you send something to "Bay View, WI 53207" via USPS, it WILL be delivered there, so ...

On the other hand, "Kin-NIC-kin-nic" vs. "Kin-NI-kin-nic"--neither "c" is silent. UNLESS you live in Bay View, it seems. But we already have "TIE-tonia" and "New BER-lin," so ...

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Z_boy | Nov. 9, 2007 at 1:57 p.m. (report)

To OlderWiser: In regard to your question, Oak Creek, Greendale and Shorewood (plus Whitefish Bay, Fox Point and South Milwaukee) are not really Milwaukee. They are part of Milwaukee COUNTY, but each is its own CITY. MPS, MPD and MFD are city of Milwaukee departments. Shorewood has its own police department, fire department, etc., as does Greendale, Fox Point.

Make sense now?

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a_noid | Nov. 9, 2007 at 9:55 a.m. (report)

Good work Winston. I have always wondered if it was acceptable to address like that. I see it done all the time. I will now start addressing my stuff like that. I like being able to differentiate my 'hood from the rest of the city.

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winston | Nov. 9, 2007 at 8:35 a.m. (report)

You can search the usps website for acceptable City names associated with zip codes. For example a search of 53207 reveals:
Actual City name in 53207
MILWAUKEE, WI

Acceptable City names in 53207
BAY VIEW, WI

Not Acceptable
BAYVIEW, WI
SAINT FRANCIS, WI
ST FRANCIS, WI

I'm not sure whose point this proves but it looks like our friendly post people have already debated this issue for us.

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