Upstream. A Mohawk Valley Blogzine.

Monday, April 17, 2006

You're So Vain, I Bet You Think This Post Is About You.

In response to a recent post on this blog, someone commented that Saratoga refers to Saratoga County only and that the rightful name of the City of Saratoga is Saratoga Springs.

I guess the Battle of Saratoga then should rightfully be called the Battle of Saratoga County, even though that doesn't make sense.

More importantly the City of Saratoga Springs has often been referred to as simply Saratoga since the late 1800s with the publication of the immensely popular novel, Samantha at Saratoga, by Marietta Holley and the publication in 1882 of Saratoga Illustrated: The Visitor's Guide to Saratoga Springs Containing Descriptions of the Routes of Approach, Hotels, Institutions and Boarding Houses, Mineral springs, Walks, Drives, Amusements, Races, Regattas, Excursions, Commercial Interests... by Charles Newhall Taintor in which he refers to the City as both Saratoga and Saratoga Springs.

More recently (2004) Syracuse University published Saratoga Reader: Writing About An American Village, 1749-1900 by Field Horne.

Many businesses and organizations in the City of Saratoga have dropped Springs off of their name. Here is just a partial list:

The Inn At Saratoga
Saratoga Arms
Saratoga Hotel
Saratoga Sleigh
Saratoga Hospital
Children’s Museum At Saratoga
Saratoga Cigar And Pipes

Language evolves, generally from complexity to simplicity. Trying to stop it from changing is linguistic suicide. So we have New York City often referred to as just New York or simply The City. People often drop the New off of New Jersey.

I could gives thousands of more examples, but it doesn’t seem necessary to shoot a flea with an elephant rifle. So let me end by saying that I think Carly Simon’s Song, You’re So Vain, would have been technically correct but poorer music if she had inserted Springs or County or Race Track or anything else after the word Saratoga in her hit song. We know what she means and she doesn’t mean that he went up to Saratoga County.

"Well I hear you went up to Saratoga and your horse naturally won
Then you flew your lear jet up to nova scotia
To see the total eclipse of the sun"


  • ::Chuckle:: I'm a copy editor, which means I nitpick word usage for a living, and even I think that poster is being ridiculous. I'll bet s/he is one of those who hates nicknames on principle: "It's NOT Liz. It's ELIZABETH!"

    I wonder if the guy Carly was singing about left Nova Scotia and went to Vegas. Or maybe Cabo.

    And should we start calling Albany and Schenectady Albany City and Schenectady City? You know, to differentiate between them and Albany and Schenectady counties?

    BTW, I live in Schuylerville, which is in the TOWN of Saratoga, and nobody here calls it that. There was a movement afoot a few years back to change Schuylerville's name back to Old Saratoga, but it was shot down. Thank goodness; it would have been very confusing. Besides, I like the sound of Schuylerville better.

    Thanks for an entertaining post. Love the subject line, too.

    By Blogger niicelaady, at 8:39 PM  

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