It’s official. The stretch of Lincoln Blvd between Rose and Washington has a new nickname.
It’s a trendy nickname, and we’re warning you: you might not like it at first. Ready?
Yes, it ends in a “c.” And, yep, as pointed out by so many of you, the two-syllabled “The Linc” is not any shorter than “Lincoln.”
Still, it's starting to stick. The LA Times has referred to our stretch of Lincoln, previously known for Staples, used furniture, and a variety of auto mechanics, as an “up-and-coming retail area in Venice known as ‘The Linc.’” Real estate agents are glomming on to the hip new moniker too, using it as a hot selling point for buyers interested in the family-friendly, East-of-Lincoln neighborhood and abbreviations that don’t actually shorten the word they’re abbreviating.
The cool new abbrev has been credited to artist/entrepreneur, Hayley Starr, who opened up her Quest dress shop in 2013, one of the first to claim Lincoln as a hot retail spot along with a new wave of indie shops and restaurants including The General Store, Tradesmen, The SHOP by h. bleu, The Love Shack, The Mart Collective, Deus Ex Machina and Superba Food & Bread. This is The Linc's birthday story according to Starr:
"About a year and a half ago I had initiated a few gatherings with a handful of stores that were starting to pop up on Lincoln Boulevard. We decided to brand this new area, from Rose to Washington Blvd with its very own name. There were some pretty funny suggestions, but no one could agree on anything. We decided to let it marinade and meet about it again after a few days.
Later that week I was at party and asked my friends to help me come up with something catchy. They too gave it some thought and the next day, one of my oldest friends Brett Simon, a long time Venice local and incredibly talented director, called me up with the obvious yet brilliant idea of: The Linc! I sent out an email, we put it to a vote, and The Linc won the majority."
At first we were skeptical. “The Linc” seemed forced, and we remember from high school that the best nicknames are earned, not requested. It never worked when someone decided they wanted a nickname, like that guy Pete who tried to get everyone to call him Pete-O. And we doubt Maverick just showed up in the locker room one day and said, “Guys, I think you should all start calling me Maverick. Ya know. Cuz I’m a maverick.” If Lincoln were to earn its nickname, maybe we’d call it “The Bottleneck” or “The Jam,” or “The street where you can buy exotic fish and beef jerky and then go to that one coffee shop that sells motorcycles.” Unfortunately, those names don’t sound slick or cool, and the idea is to breathe new life into a place not necessarily known for the good stuff it now offers. But to support all the hard work our friends on "The Linc" are doing to nurture such great, original, locally-owned businesses, we wanted to give it an honest try, so we started using it in passing to test reactions. At first, it wasn’t well received.
“I prefer to call it ‘Avoid Lincoln,'" said one Venice resident.
We took a poll on the corner of Lincoln and Rose, right where The Linc gets popping. Here you'll find one of the busiest Whole Foods in America (or maybe that's just the parking lot), Deuce Gym, RA MA Yoga and everyone's new favorite vegan ice cream shop Kippy's, and realized that it's still a major adjustment for locals to see Lincoln as much more than "the ugliest street in America," as another skeptic referred to it. Even for those of you who get why LA Magazine just featured Lincoln in one of its trendy LA Neighborhood Guides, it's still soon to get behind a hip nickname.
After all, Lincoln is where we go to buy things for real life, like multi-packs of toilet paper, printer ink, and oil changes. Sure, you could probably get an organic hand soap made of bee urine and toddler dreams on Abbot Kinney, but we all know that Lincoln is our go-to for life’s necessities. And the Whole Foods salad bar. Yes, Lincoln is sometimes a parking lot and isn’t as polished as some of our other tree-lined shiny streets, but isn’t that the beauty of Venice? We live here because it’s a mix of style and grunge and because everyone’s welcome. We like the grime. We need it and the authenticity it brings. Otherwise we’d be Manhattan Beach.
So maybe “The Linc” is just what Lincoln needs, a reinvention of sorts, a re-branding, a reputation change? If Lincoln were an actor, this would be a time when its publicist would make it have a fake relationship with someone cute and more famous – not to make Lincoln the second coolest block in America (Abbot Kinney is the first per GQ) – but to simply get our own friends and neighbors to come visit more often, to get people to include Lincoln in their strolls or switch up their coffee spots once in a while. There are some great NEW things about Lincoln: vintage shops like American Replay and Centre-Piece, a bakery run by world renowned pastry chef Lincoln Carson, Locali's healthy deli, and one of the best wine selections on the Westside hidden in plain sight at Lincoln Fine Wines. And if a new nickname (or a debate about a new nickname) is what brings Venice residents in for the goods, or rids them of their grime-covered preconceived notions, then we're all for it. Try it with us: The Linc
Before you mock it, remember that Venice residents are notorious for being curmudgeony about change. Abbot Kinney was a hard sell at first too. Previously West Washington Blvd, 88% of the Venice residents were not into changing its name to Abbot Kinney in 1990, according to the LA Times.
"Adding to the confusion, the segment to be renamed is known as West Washington Boulevard to local businesses and residents, who use that name on their stationery even though the city street signs read either 'Washington South' or just plain 'Washington,'" according to the report.
The change was even held up for six months by opponents who insisted on scrutinizing every signature on the AK petition! Now Venice wouldn’t be the same without an homage to our canal originator. If that logic applies to Lincoln, in twenty years we might all be hitting up The Linc without even a roll of the eyes. Try it out for a while. See what you think. Or hang out on The Linc and report back. But please, whatever you do, don’t call us Linc & Ro.