The land of the crooked creek

Many of the place names in this area trace their origins to the languages of the Native Americans who lived here. Over at the Times Union, Emily Masters has put together an interesting collection of the etymologies of many of these names, such as Cohoes and Kayaderosseras and Schoharie. [TU]


Ah, but what about the indigenous anomalies of Zuni and Hopi Streets in Albany near the golf course? An elderly neighbor explained to me that the one time owner of the land (a man named Cary, thus the name of nearby Cary St.) visited the Southwest in the 1930s, I think, and became fascinated by the Native American tribes of the Southwest. When he developed some of his farm land, he named a couple of the streets Zuni and Hopi. When I moved to Zuni 11 years ago, the local pronunciations grated on my ears and I refused to say them -- Zoon-eye and Hop-eye. It's been my mission to model proper pronunciation as one by one the old time locals die or move and new people move in. And slowly we're getting there when more people pronounce those street names in a way that doesn't kill me.

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