Monday, April 02, 2007

Where's the Sperm??

Connecticut has a Whaling City, a city that saw its fortunes rise by the barrel as whale oil (For the uninitiated: spermacetti is the best grade.) poured into the best deepwater port on the Eastern seaboard. More than a century after the trade has become an illegal pastime pursued only by Norwegians, Icelanders and the Japanese, New London is still affectionately, known as the Whaling City.

You won't find any whale products, not even scrimshaw or rubber whales that squeek when you squeeze them in New London. You will see paintings of whales and pictures of whales, and even whale cartoons drawn in chalk on downtown sidewalks, but you will not find a trace of a part of a real whale. One would imagine that a new, more relevent nickname would have appeared and stuck after the whaling trade's demise. You also won't find any one industry that replaced whaling as the city's defining attribute. So why is New London still the Whaling City?

Many names have been proposed. Few of them were flattering enough to be promoted by the Chamber of Commerce. In fact, there is so little industry left in New London, the city no longer has its own. The field is wide open for someone to come up with a name that will stick, a name that will promote and define the New London of today.

Of course, Whaling City isn't so bad. It still fits.

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