He was looking forward to an explanation of why one of the nicknames of Binghamton, New York, a small city upstate where I work, is "Bingo".
Another of my regular readers (a woman of high intelligence and impeccable taste...) expressed surprise about our Bingo nickname.
So, my response to my dear readers is: No, I don't know why Bingo is our name-o. But I know it could be worse, given all the New York City residents who spell our name with a "p", thinking we are part of The Hamptons.
I fondly remember the children's song Bingo Was His Name-O. It was a great song to sing on long trips, along with "99 Bottles of Beer". (OK, I grew up in a different era) But, if you listen to the song: nothing about Binghamton.
Also, our nickname doesn't have anything to do with the game of Bingo. In fact, our nickname came before the game became popular, according to the small amount of research available online. I don't think the game was named after us, either. Rather, Bingo is a game originating in Italy. When it came to the United States, it was originally called Beano.
The story goes that the name was changed to Beano after someone yelled out "Bingo" when he or she won, rather than "Beano". I wonder if that Bingo yeller was from Binghamton.
One blogger said the Bingo nickname came from an early 20th century marketing campaign. But I knew there was a minor league baseball team in Binghamton called the Bingos, and they were playing as early as 1885. This online article describes their 1887 season.
|Building Mural, Chenango Street, downtown Binghamton, NY|
One parting note: A more common nickname for Binghamton (no "P") in the late 19th and early 20th century was "The Parlor City". That is worth a blog post for another time.
Does your city have a nickname?