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Up & down, don't forget Mid, and cigarettes

Posted by Lotg on March 09, 2004

In Reply to: Up & down, don't forget Mid, and cigarettes posted by Smokey Stover on March 08, 2004

: : : : : : : : I'm reading a Kathy Reichs book in which there is a paragraph where the heroine describes her own house. It reads... "Though cramped, the place is perfect for me. Bedroom and bath up. Kitchen, dining room, parlor, guest room/study down. Twelve hundred square feet. What realtors call "cozy"."

: : : : : : : : Does this 'up & down' thing mean up and down stairs?

: : : : : : : : And while I'm at it. Americans often tend to refer to parts of the city as uptown and downtown. I used to think that 'uptown' meant the wealthier part of town and 'downtown' meant the poorer part of town. Only problem with that theory is that sometimes they tend to talk about what seems to be trendy parts of town being 'downtown', so it doesn't equate to my theory.

: : : : : : : : So is this uptown/downtown thing in reference to altitude, geography, wealth, population or something else completely? And is this a U.S. thing?

: : : : : : : : thanks

: : : : : : : 'Up and Down' does, indeed, refer to up and downstairs.
: : : : : : : As far a 'Downtown' is concerned, this seem to be very much a N American term. I too wondered what it meant until, on a trip to Canada, I saw the French equivalent 'Centre Ville'. In the UK we call it the 'City Centre'. 'Downtown' is never used, except to quote some US or Canadian source, or if the reporter comes from there.
: : : : : : : What about the rest of the English speaking world?

: : : : : : The uptown/downtown thing, at least here in the NYC area, is twofold.

: : : : : : Most of Manhattan, which to most people in the world is NYC, is numbered along a graph paper-like grid.
: : : : : : The streets run east and west while the avenues run north and south.
: : : : : : The lower numbered streets start in the southern part of Manhattan and get higher as you go north.
: : : : : : So downtown is south of uptown.
: : : : : : The idea of uptown or downtown also depends on where you are and where you are going.
: : : : : : So if you are at 14th street and want to go to 43rd street you would take an uptown bus or train.
: : : : : : And if you are at 3rd street and want to go to 14th street you would also take an uptown bus or train.
: : : : : : If you are at 72nd and want to go to 8th you would take a bus downtown etc etc.
: : : : : : The World Trade Center was at a spot that was just about as far downtown you could go.

: : : : : : As in a song from another era says:
: : : : : : "When you're alone and life is making you lonely you can always go........downtown!"
: : : : : : Downtown, as opposed to midtown or uptown, is where the trendy clubs and restarurants always tend to be. Most alternatives exist or start downtown. The Beat Generation existed in Greenwich Village in the late fifties. The anti-war movement/"hippie" movement existed in the East Village back in the mid to late sixties. Many alternative music and other arts started in the downtown areas of NYC. Cheap rents attracted struggling artists to these areas.
: : : : : : So the idea of "downtown" has tended to be associated with "alternative" while "uptown" has become associated with "the establishment".

: : : : : : Pee on Bush.

: : : : : I am wondering if Ms. Reichs is referring to a home where one goes in and from the entryway either goes up the steps or down the steps. (I don't know if I'm explaining that well.)

: : : : Uptown/downtown seems further confused by the useage elsewhere. (I hope I don't make a transposition error here.) A basketball sprotcaster refers to the longer goal attmpt as an attempt from "downtown". Why is further "downtown"?

: : : The meanings of "uptown" and "downtown" vary from one U.S. city to another. "Downtown" usually means the business district; it can also mean the part of a city at a lower elevation. Where I live, one goes downtown to shop, and the term "uptown" isn't used. Considering that many cities were built at ports or rivers, the (old) business district is likely to lie lower than residential areas added as the city grew.

: : Uptown in Manhattan, New York, U.S., to me indicates Harlem. Certainly not the rich district. And Downtown in Manhattan refers to the stock-and-bond trading district around Wall Street. There's also Midtown Manhattan which is where most of the shoppnig is done (Macy's, Saks, etc.) and where the Empire State Building is located.

: : Now, in Manhattan if you want to talk about rich areas use Upper East Side or Upper West Side, but never Uptown. The "Upper" sides are in realtion to Central Park and go a little farther north.

: : In Philadelphia and in Allentown, Pennsylvania they don't have Downtown but they have Center City. In Scranton Pennsylvania the highway signs direct you to Central City, but I've never heard it called that by the locals.

: : One of the big tobacco companies (Phillip-Morris or RJR) tried to bring out a new cigarette targetted at the African-American market about ten years ago. They wanted to call it Uptown (reference to Harlem, NY), menthol flavored, and placed upside-down in the pack in the uptown fashion, but when the powers that be heard about it, it was killed by protests.

: For just a moment, can we get back to the cozy house of Kathy Reichs? She says her bedroom and bath are "up," while everything else is "down." If there was more that was "up," we might be talking about the second floor (the one that is not at ground level). But with the information at hand it almost has to be a split-level house. Rooms on what you expect to be the ground floor are actually on at least two levels, but the levels are not room-height apart, just a few feet. There is probably a half-basement or garage, and possibly a sort of attic. Not quite a real house, not quite a ranch-style home (bungalow to you, buster!). But cozy, to the mind of a realtor. SS

Boy this whole uptown, downtown thing gets a bit complicated. About the closest reference that I'm familiar with, is a term used in my youth when I lived in the country (but I don't really hear it used in the city), is to say "we're going up the street", meaning we're going shopping in the main part of the shopping and/or business district. Or if mum wasn't home and I'd ask dad where she was, he'd often say, she's gone up the street. Which really means she's gone into town, shopping. Which is a bit strange in itself, because it suggests that we were somewhere near that particular street that we were about to "go up", but actually we were probably not even in the town before we "went up the street". So I don't really know why or how that evolved.