Downtown (NYC origin?)

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Sun Oct 23 16:31:45 UTC 2005

I'm about to add "downtown" to my "Big Apple" web site. Is this a NYC term,  
and can anyone beat OED with Early American Newspapers or another source? Try  
"down town" (two words) as well.
Barry Popik
downtown, down-town, _adv., a., and n._
orig. U.S. and chiefly N. Amer.  
A.  adv. Into the town (from a more elevated suburb); down in the town. Cf.  
)   adv.  
1835  _GRAY_ (   Lett. 
(1893) 55 To-day when I go down town I shall subscribe for the ‘New York  
Observer’ for you. 1883  Century Mag. XXVI. 917/1 She was  down-town alone. c1909  
 Collier's Friday Night (1934) iii. 60 Well, my duck, I looked for you 
downtown. 1952  S. KAUFFMANN Philanderer (1957) vi. 91 The  man who had seemed a 
dignified young wonder on 135th Street..looked like a  pompous and overweening 
young ass downtown. 1968  Globe & Mail (Toronto) 17 Feb. 24 (Advt.), Tickets 
available downtown at box office prices exclusively at  Moody's in the Colonnade.
B.  adj. Of, pertaining to, or situated in the lower, or more central, part  
of a town or city. Cf. _UP-TOWN_ 
refword=up-town&ps=a.)   a.  
1836  P. HONE  Diary (1889) I. 200 The value of  down-town property. 1852  
Harper's Mag. V. 413/2 The  down-town men..slip uneasily through the brick and 
mortar labyrinths of  Maiden-lane. 1870  _J. K. MEDBERY_ 
(  Men & Myst. Wall Street 67  On these 
securities therefore the down-town banks make call  loans. 1883  _H. H. KANE_ 
(  in Harper's Mag. 
Nov. 944/2 In the  lobby of a down-town hotel. 1891  Congress. Rec. 28 Jan. 
1906/1  The second ward of the city of New what is called a  down-town 
ward, a business ward. 1902  Westm. Gaz. 12 May 2/1 Men do  not doff their hats 
in the down-town elevators which brought her up to the big  office..near the 
top of one of the high down-town buildings. 1911  Daily Colonist (Victoria, 
B.C.) 13 Apr. 7/5 Pedestrians in the down-town district on Friday were interested 
 in the sight of a veritable procession of lorries loaded with high grade 
Pianos. 1939  C. MORLEY  Kitty Foyle 175 His necktie was  sort of downtown and 
Bourse-looking. 1952  _B. ULANOV_ 
(  Hist. Jazz (1958) iv. 33 Squalid  little clubs in downtown New 
York. 1958  Times Lit. Suppl. 10 Jan. 21/2  The account of the wild sermon in 
down-town Kingston, vividly  conjuring up the crucifixion. 1966  New Scientist 
14 July 103/2 Mr.  Crosland writes about downtown schools, meaning schools in 
the centres of  cities. Pure American, of course, and a very useful term too. 
1968  Globe & Mail (Toronto) 17 Feb. 1/8 A downtown Ottawa office building. 
1969  Australian 24 May 24/2 (Advt.),  Your home in downtown Sydney.
C.  n. The lower or business part of a town or city.  
1851  _H. MELVILLE_ 
(  Moby Dick i, Its extreme  down-town is the Battery. 1905  N.Y. Even. Post 
4 Mar. 5 One of  the diversions of downtown yesterday was watching the sure 
movements of a  steeplejack. 1955  _R. BLESH_ 
(  Shining Trumpets (ed. 3) vii. 160 New Orleans' 
downtown is the old quarter north of Canal Street. 1968  Globe & Mail (Toronto) 13 
Jan. 45/1  (Advt.), At the subway stop..19 minutes from downtown.
Hence down-towner, one who  lives in or frequents the down-town part of a 
1830  _J. F. WATSON_ 
(  Ann. Philadelphia 244 They were  the Achilles and the Patrocles of the ‘
downtowners’. 1887  Courier-Journal (Louisville, Ky.) 8 May 12/5 Jay Gould has 
set down-towners to eating  snails.

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