British Copyeditor at N.Y. Times?

A while back, I pondered that signs in Philadelphia say “No Parking In This Street,” where American usage would favor “… On This Street.” The other day this photo captioned showed up in the Real Estate section of the Sunday New York Times, below a photograph of an apartment:

IMG_0040 2

To be clear, Sutton Place is a street in New York City, and American would normally refer to an apartment “on” Sutton Place. Either “in the street” is taking hold in the U.S., or the Times has a British copyeditor writing captions.

Update: I am reliably informed that in New York, Sutton Place is not only a street but a neighborhood, in which case “in” would be consistent with American usage. In the words of Emily Litella, never mind.


11 thoughts on “British Copyeditor at N.Y. Times?

  1. Copyeditor in the US, subeditor in the UK with refinements like back desk sub (handles lightweight copy or a junior just started).

  2. Is there some reason not to think it’s just that silly tendency among some American marketers to assume British usage and spelling are somehow “classier” than American– like the surfeit of centres and harbours and so on?

  3. New Yorker here. “Sutton Place” is one of those neighborhood names that isn’t much in use except by realtors. Realtors like it, because it’s very specific, and sounds vaguely posh.

    If you look at old maps, what are now called Sutton Place and York Ave were once called Avenue A, and the numbering on those avenues continues the Avenue A numbering. As those neighborhoods gentrified property owners and realtors pushed for changing the names because people associated the name Avenue A with the Lower East Side and the Gashouse District, and hence with slums. The original play (and film) “Dead End” was set in what’s now called Sutton Place, and depicts an early stage of gentrification (one wealthy family on the block).

    The classic examples of realtor-introduced neighborhood names are “Clinton” as a euphemism for what most people called Hell’s Kitchen, “East Village” as a euphemism for the first part of the Lower East Side to start being gentrified in the late 70s, and “East Williamsburg” for the northern part of Bushwick.

  4. Those of us who own real estate near Sutton Place focused on the depressing numbers in the caption before we got to the grammar. But we’re never leaving, so it doesn’t matter.

    News flash: just learned from my brother that my nephew Dylan’s freshman roommate at the University of Miami is the son of a guy in Putin’s Cabinet. Wow, imagine the networking possibilities. Or the other possibilities.

    Good grief.

    Andrew Feinberg 333 E. 57th St., Apt 5A New York, NY 10022 212-755-8756 212-755-7634 (fax) 917-734-7917 (cel)

  5. As a native BrE speaker, “in Sutton Place” suggests a neighbourhood more than a street address. In fact, I’d only use “in” with a street name in exceptional cases where that name has transcended the street itself in some way. For instance, I’d say “in Stanhope Mews” – but then a “mews” is as much about the buildings as the thoroughfare. The same applies to a “Square” or a “Court”. There’s also cases like “Oxford Street” or “Piccadilly”, where the roads are essentially their own areas of London – in fact I had to just look up whether Piccadilly was a road name or a part of town first (actually a stately home). But the Royal Academy, in Piccadilly, still has an entrance *on* Piccadilly.

  6. I don’t know why, but I would live on Park Lane or in Wilton Crescent – in reality I am a few million short for either 😀.

    1. I agree with your instincts, and I explain below why I do. I’d be very interested to know whether you think my explanation captures the distinction for you.

      (For those unfamiliar with London, Wilton Crescent is a very desirable residential street in a quiet area of the West End, in which some of the houses are now used as embassies. Park Lane, despite its name, is a dual carriageway of six to eight lanes, which is the main north-south link in the road network of west-central London. You can see them here,-0.154607,3a,75y,302.74h,102.04t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1stbePhRlJNxUZ73QCNSOrVA!2e0!7i16384!8i8192 and here,-0.1520688,3a,75y,289.78h,92.23t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sYP03sqe6Rr0fMMyVunwiRw!2e0!7i16384!8i8192)

  7. I once lived in Farndon Road, in north Oxford. If I had lived on the same block, but around the corner, I would have said that I lived ON Woodstock Road. As it happens, I recently wrote a comment explaining why, for me, those are the correct choices of prepositions.

    I’ll copy the bulk of it here (correcting one typo):-

    As I understand it, the old BrE distinction between a street and a road was that the main use of a street was to give access to the buildings along it, while that of a road was to allow travel to the destinations at its ends. If those destinations were X and Y, the road would be called “Y Road” at the X end, and “X Road” at the Y end. (Roman roads being exceptions, typically being called “Z Street” or “Z Way”, where Z bears no relationship with X or Y, and usually turns out to be the personal name of some Anglo-Saxon bod.)

    Streets, on the other hand, could be named more-or-less arbitrarily. Often their names would include the word “Street”. (There are even some just called “The Street”, where originally the settlement had only one.) But there might be no common noun included (eg “Eastcheap”, “Poultry”, “Cheapside”) or the name might include another noun such as “Hill”, “Lane” etc. In more recent times, some streets have been given names including the word “Road”. But, to prevent confusion, one avoids using the name “Z Road” where Z is the name of a place anywhere nearby. (The neighbourhood in South Wales where I was born had streets named “Z Road”, where each Z was a village or small town in Kent, or thereabouts.)

    So I think that mattysb is correct in saying that, in Britain, if you are on “X Road”, you’re not in X. (Barring cases like the “London Roads” in Greater London that lead out of previously separate settlements towards the centre, which used to be all the London that there was.) To me, it is an interesting and surprising fact that the same does not apply in The States.

    Also, I’ve just noticed that I think of a road (in the original, strict sense) as a route, a (thickened) line that you travel over to get to its destination, and I think of a street as a group of buildings with a piece of shared infrastructure allowing access. So you live ON a road, but IN a street, even if its name includes the word “Road”. I lived IN the street where I was born, even though it was named “Z Road”. But I had friends just around the corner who lived ON “X Road”, a genuine road leading to X.

    1. As an extra complication, there are roads with “Street” in their names. Contrast Great Newport Street and Great Dover Street. Great Newport Street, between Covent Garden and Chinatown, is a street named after the Earl of Newport, and has no other connection with the city of Newport. So, for me, “in Great Newport Street”. But Great Dover Street is a busy road, the main road out of central London towards Dover. So, despite the word “Street”, I’d say “on Great Dover Street”.

      Oxford Street is an interesting mix. Originally it was a road like Great Dover Street, which would argue for “on Oxford Street”. But now the traffic has been removed and people go there to shop at the stores located there – many people have probably never even noticed that if you head west along it and keep going you eventually get to Oxford. So its nature has changed from road to street, and “in Oxford Street” is fine, too.

  8. Only here on the street where you live
    (American lyricist, British subject, based on a play by an Irish author (the term “on the street where you live” does not appear in the original play).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s