Downtown is referred to a city center, a central business district, often in a commercial sense. A geographical location where the heart of the city usually is. Downtown is widely used by American and Canadian English speakers.
The term Downtown is thought to have been coined in New York city in the early 1830’s. Back then, the only possible area of the city’s expansion was up north,the yet to develop region towards the north was called as uptown & the original town, developed, commercial heart of New York at the southern tip of Manhattan in the south was famously known as Downtown.
A friend of mine visiting Charlotte in North Carolina told me she went to the city center – Uptown & I said “Wait a minute, isn’t it Downtown for a city center?” And then she patiently explained to me how Charlotte’s heart of the city was famously termed as Uptown.
While at Charlotte “Uptown” & “Downtown” do not refer to different areas, it refers to the city center, the commercial heart of Charlotte. During the 1980’s a massive campaign was launched to revamp and bring about a positive upbeat image and hence the term Uptown came into use. My friend who just got back from Charlotte told me that it’s also because the terrain to the city’s center is inclined, and Uptown denotes the heart of Charlotte.
These small tidbits do make a nice topic of conversation, if not for my friend I would have incorrectly assumed that all the city centers across the United States were Downtowns. Now I know what to tell the cabbie when I visit Charlotte in North Carolina 😉
Personal Note of thanks to ‘Moi Eti Jajabor’ for the insight to this beautiful city in North Carolina, for the new dimension of thought process, for imparting this valuable yet profound tidbit about the famous Uptown!