Several months ago I was taking a walk around my neighborhood and noticed a street sign on my corner. It wasn't just the regular name of the street corner (Luquer street) as it included an honorific street name of Lydia Buffington Way. I snapped a photo of it on my phone and then continued on my walk. I then noticed another sign down the block, hand painted on a building. It had the street name written as Luquere - what was that about?
After returning home, I went online to look up the history of the street and these signs. I wondered who was Lydia Buffington? Why are there alternate names for the street? When were the streets named? I came upon a handful of wonderful blogs - written by what my friend Katie Honan would call "local yocals" - people who certainly represent the character of my neighborhood. Additionally, local new favorite: Forgotten New York, written by Kevin Walsh, detailed the sort of unconfirmed history of the spellings, while the Carroll Gardens Association had an article about the community activist - Lydia Buffington.
This got me to start noticing signs in my neigborhood. So much so that I started to map my findings in an excel spreadsheet. I wanted to know more. I started to wonder if patterns might arise that related to historical events or ones that perhaps could show how the communities values change over time. There were priests, community activists,policemen etc.
Now I'm taking this data and trying to figure out the best way to visualize it - to showcase any patterns that might occur or help other New Yorkers make sense of it. I'm hunting around for data sets that might have this information documented or more comprehensive research on the streets. In the meantime, it's just an idea that I'm continuing to tinker with in my spare time.