Hudson on Hudson

May 30, 2013
Posted by Jay Livingston

Maybe geographical names are like t-shirts.  The farther away the place, the more attractive the shirt.  Local references, not so much.  You don’t see many New Yorkers wearing I NY t-shirts, certainly not here on the banks of the Hudson.

A week ago, I got an e-mail birth announcement from a local West Side politician, Ken Biberaj (politicians have extensive contact lists).  He and his wife (a handsome young couple if ever there was) named their son Hudson.

To my ear,  Hudson doesn’t really fit with their obviously Albanian surname. Maybe the Biberajs were in a New York state of mind. We do have a city and a river by that name.  Oh well, it’s different. Or so I thought.

A few day later, I was at a street fair on upper Broadway, and near a rather desultory clown who was making balloon figures, I heard a man call, “Hudson, don’t go too far away.”  And sure enough, there was a little blond Hudson, three or four years old.  A trend?   

It turns out that we New Yorkers are way behind the Hudson curve.  The name has been on the rise for the last 15 years. 

I just hadn’t noticed because the flood of Hudsons has been taking place far from the waters of the Hudson river.  In New York, New Jersey, and other Northeastern states, Hudson hasn’t yet broken into the top 100.  But in the South, in the Plains states, and the Mountain states, Hudson is doing quite well.  He’s not up there with Ethan, Mason, and Jacob, of course.  But in Utah, for example, Hudson was slightly more popular than Jayden and Lucas.  In Kansas, he placed well ahead of Brayden and Jayden (though not Aiden).  And in most other states, he ranks in the top 100, usually  between 25 and 75.  (The exceptions, besides the Northeast, are large states – California, Illinois, Florida.)

Five years ago, I wrote about the same pattern with Brooklyn (that blog post is here). This name for girls had been on the rise, but mostly in places far from the geographical Brooklyn. That pattern continues.

Until 1990, Brooklyn was not in the top 1000.  Since then she has risen dramatically, and is now in the top 30.  But not in New York and New Jersey, where she still can’t break into the top 100.  As I said in that post, if you’re trying to find girls named Brooklyn in Brooklyn, fuhgedaboudit. Go to Utah.  But Hudson may be different.


Arnie said...

I am old enough to remember when "Hudson" was a car manuafacturer:

Jay Livingston said...

I think if they'd had a girl, it would have been Kaiser Frazer.

Faye Allard said...

This is what I think of when I hear the name Hudson: