From BK to BKLYN: An Incomplete History of Vowel-less Iterations of “Brooklyn”

From BK to BKLYN: A Brief History of Vowel-less Iterations of "Brooklyn"
“BKLYN,” just one out of the vast rainbow of  ways to spell “Brooklyn.”

This morning, we heard that the swanky 40-story residential building in Downtown Brooklyn formerly known as Oro 2 has re-branded itself. It is now the BKLYN Air. Tagline: “Rent in the air. Play in the sky.” From this, we have learned two things. First, we would not like to “rent in the air,” thank you, although “playing in the sky” sounds fun. Second, if you take out the “r” and the vowels (but leave the sometimes-vowels), “Brooklyn” goes from “pretty cool” to “rly cl.” That’s “really cool” for you Uncools.

The vowel-less form of “Brooklyn” is nothing new. For years, businesses have realized that nobody needs those two “o’s,” or even the “r” really, in order to understand that Brooklyn is the place being referred to. What’s more, they’ve learned that using this abbreviation will make people feel very in-the-know about this curious, vowel-less borough; at least, that’s what we assume they learned, because it really does seem to be happening a lot lately. (Though the spelling may be different, it is also understood that, when spoken, “BKLYN” or in certain cases “BRKLYN,” “BKLN,” “B’klyn,” or “bklyn” is pronounced the same way as “Brooklyn,” and that users should not attempt to gargle “buh-kook-lin,” because it is impossible.)

So, to prove our point, we tried to round up all the businesses, creative pursuits, boutiques and 40-story luxury buildings—seriously, no industry is safe—that made an abstraction out of our borough’s doomed nomenclature. Because you can’t just put “Brooklyn” in front of a business anymore. It’s got to look just as cool as the place itself.

First, let’s start with the most classic and minimal of all abbreviations, the simple “BK”:

BK Live: A new weekday program from Brooklyn Independent Media, operated out of the BRIC House. You can watch it online here.

BK Mag: The magazine you are currently reading. You can also hold us in your hand!

B.K.: Abbr. of Burger King. Unrelated to “Brooklyn.” Unworthy owner of the domain name.

And your all-capped “BKLYNs,” which must be shouted:

BKLYNR: Subscription-based bimonthly digital publication covering Manhattan. Just kidding. They cover Brooklyn.

BKLYN Larder: Park Slope sellers of “cheese and provisions” since 2009. Provisions = “an amount or thing supplied or provided.” So, sellers of cheese and some other stuff.

BKLYN DESIGNS: Annual conference where local furniture designers conglomerate and discuss furniture design. You missed this year’s; it was in May. 🙁

BKLYN1834: Some kind of nebulous advertising agency that uses a lot of words like “creative” and “digital reach” in their mission statement.

BarrelHouse BKLYN: Ditto.

BKLYN Dry Goods: Dry goods = socks, etc.

BKLYN Army Terminal: Commercial building near the Sunset Park waterfront. If you lease a space there, you can be in the same building as Jacques Torres!

Green in BKLYN: Uber-cute Fort Greene boutique where you can by eco-friendly cleaning/children’s/beauty/food products.

BKLYN Green Drinks: Monthly meet-up where people in a whole bunch of different industries get together for drinks and discuss sustainability and the environment.

BKLYN Gold: Garden variety luxury development company in Downtown Brooklyn and DUMBO with supremely annoying music that plays when you enter their website. Why are we still doing this?

These “Bklyns” may be spoken in a normal volume:

B’klyn Burro: Company that sells San Francisco–style burritos, which are apparently a thing? Whatevs. Burritos.

Join Bklyn: Arts and culture blog.

Stinky Bklyn: Not-stinky-at-all Cobble Hill cheese shop.

Bklyn Beast: Until recently, a parkour/capoeira studio in Bed-Stuy, but the website claims they’re currently looking for a new space.

Salvatore Bklyn: Small batch ricotta cheese sourced from upstate oh my god we would like some right now please. They can be found at the Brooklyn Flea.

And these ones are so delicate that they must be whispered:

THEY bklyn: Lady duo, both of whom are video artists, graphic designers and photographers.

bklyn boihood: Art collective focusing on queer/brown politics and masculinity in Brooklyn.

These ones forgot that “y” is only a sometimes-vowel, and should be used when referring to Brooklyn:

DKLB BKLN: Double points for the abbreviation of both “Dekalb” and “Brooklyn.” Also a 36-story luxury residential building that we cannot afford.

BKLN: Stock symbol for the PowerShares Senior Loan ETF. A Google search of this company retrieved zero comprehensible information to this blogger.

And these ones forgot that nobody really needs the “r”:

BRKLYN: Some kind of electronic musical artist from Los Angeles.

The Brklyn Store: Online retail shop run by an actual Brooklynite. No one told her about the “r” rule.

Brklyn View Photography: Same with this wedding photographer. Her work is really nice, though.

Brklyn Bakery: A cafe in Helsinki that, if Yelp reviews are to be believed, looks delightful.

Follow Rebecca Jennings on Twitter @rebexxxxa.



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