Calling All 'All Banians'

Andy Rooney Ponders The Names Of Towns And Places Across America

The following is a weekly 60 Minutes commentary by CBS News correspondent Andy Rooney.

Most of us have a special affection for the city we grew up in. Even if we don't stay there, we end up liking it better than where we moved to.

I grew up in Albany, New York. We call ourselves "All banians". Not "Al-banians" like in the Country, Albania.

There's another city named "Albany" in Georgia. There are a lot of repetitions in city names in the United States. It must be confusing for the post office: Columbia South Carolina, Columbia, Missouri, Columbus, Georgia, Columbus, Ohio. There's a Lafayette Indiana and another in Louisiana. Portland, Maine, Portland Oregon. Rochester, New York, Rochester, Minnesota. Charleston, West Virginia, Charleston, South Carolina.

I was looking in my Atlas - a lot of our street names are repetitious and dull, you know - Main Street, Second Avenue, Park, Maple, Broadway. We have some great city names though. Cincinnati, Pocatello, Albuquerque, Oshkosh, Keokuk, Hoboken, Tallahassee, Chattanooga.

A lot of our cities are associated with just one thing. You know, Reno, divorce; Las Vegas, gambling; Detroit, cars; Washington, government; Green Bay, football.

One of the biggest surprises to me is Pittsburgh. I didn't know it's on an island, like New York City.

I like New York best too. It's a hard city to visit but a good city to live in. Something you probably don't know if you don't live in New York: you shop at a small grocery store around the corner from where you live. You don't get in a car and drive to a supermarket in the mall.

Downtown has gone out of style in a lot of American cities. It's moved to the outskirts of town.

I've been to Des Moines, Iowa several times. I don't know why they put "Des" in front of "Moines". They call it "DE MOINES". "Moines" means "monks" in French.

A lot of interesting city names begin with T. Tacoma, Tucson, Tulsa, Tuscaloosa, Terre Haute, Toledo, Topeka.

I only like to go to cities I've been to before so I'll probably never get to Fargo, North Dakota.
By Andy Rooney