While writing our Wikipedia story last week, PLOG encountered a debate which he had avoided in the past, fearing to be pulled into some local version of the Hatfields vs. McCoys.

Prospect-Lefferts Gardens? Or Prospect Lefferts Gardens? To hyphenate? Or not to hyphenate?

There are those who believe in the hyphen; those who steadfastly refuse to hyphenate; and of course those who seek to distance themselves from people who care to argue such things (the latter group may wish to skip this story). But trying to settle the debate only leads to further questions. The New York Times refers to it with and without. The Brooklyn Paper? No hyphen. Daily News? Hyphen. And no hyphen. New York Post? No hyphen. The list goes on and on. But having entered the melee, PLOG felt it was time to settle the issue once and for all. The hyphen is awkward. Few people in the community use it. According to Wikipedia itself, the hyphen as a punctuation mark is fading, its use in connecting words falling out of practice.

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PLGNA, the organization that created the neighborhood’s moniker in 1968, has seemingly never referred to the area as anything but Prospect Lefferts Gardens. A read of their website clearly shows old announcements and their former storefront with the name sans hyphen. But in our Wikipedia writeup, a commenter pointed out that in its incorporation documents, the organization did in fact refer to itself as “Prospect-Lefferts Gardens.” And then spelled the next part of its name as “Nieghborhood.” Was the word connector merely a typo?

It seemed to us that if the community was ever going to have a consistent namesake, we were going to have to start with Wikipedia. We added a section on the name confusion and requested to remove the hyphen. A Wikipedia editor soon appeared and quashed any hopes of a quick resolution. Too many contradictory sources, he wrote. Not enough evidence of a trend, he wrote. Removal of the hyphen: Denied. Or at least stalled indefinitely.

Don’t we have the right to name our own community? You might say PLOG has no more right than anyone else. Or no less. For now, it appears you can call Prospect Lefferts Gardens whatever… you… like.

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