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April 22 , 2004

Slang of the Week: Space City (noun phrase)
Houston, Texas

Jane wanted to go to Space City for the Super Bowl, but her team didn't make it to the playoffs.

Celebrity quote:
The Alamo, to me, is just as big as The Right Stuff—I mean, I grew up in Houston, Space City, and as a kid, my favorite astronaut was Gordo Cooper, so when I got that part it was like my childhood fantasy.
-Actor Dennis Quaid

While Space City might seem the obvious nickname for Houston, home of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Texas has competition for the title. Seattle is also sometimes called Space City, presumably because of their famous landmark, the Space Needle.

Both Da Brat and Earth Wind and Fire have written songs about Chi-town (Chicago). Atlanta, Georgia is known as Hotlanta to hometown rappers Outkast, though the name was popularized long ago when The Allman Brothers Band recorded Hot’lanta back in 1971.

Most interesting, however, are the nicknames of smaller places. Iraq, for example is the slang term for LeFrak City, a huge housing complex in Queens, New York. Ill Town is East Orange, New Jersey, hometown of hip hop artists Queen Latifah and Naughty By Nature.

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