A Daily Dose of Zen Sarcasm!

“J” is for J Street

I wrote a complete post for the letter today. 

I wrote, proofed as much as possible, linked, etc.  I previewed my entry.

I even published it.

And then I realized that what comes after "I" is not "K" but, in fact, "J".



It’s not that I dislike the letter J at all, so please don’t think I have a bias.  I guess I just got so excited with my K theme that it slipped my mind that it did not fit the right day.  But that brings me to something funny about DC streets: there is no J street on purpose.

Some people think that because Pierre L’Enfant (who was quite an enfant, apparently, and prone to being a bit tantrummy) didn’t like some guy by the name of John Jay –or perhaps he wished to snub  some secret love or harbored hatred of another man whose name bore a prominent letter J–, he omitted a J street in his design for the Federal City out of spite. 

Snopes says that is not the truth, especially considering that L’Enfant didn’t even get to finish his design: the explanation is far more pedestrian, but still fascinating.

Back in the late 1700s, the letters I and J were nearly interchangeable, and therefore having both an I and a J street would have been redundant.  Hence, no J street can be found here.

So there you have it: J gets snubbed once again– though definitely not on purpose. 

Cheers to Pete L’Enfant!

This entry was published on April 10, 2008 at 9:04 pm and is filed under NaBloPoMo. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

4 thoughts on ““J” is for J Street

  1. Well, it sounds to me like you worked that all out perfectly! And I’m quite curious to see what you’ve got for “K”! 🙂

  2. Someone told me “J” street was near Dupont Circle. I think maybe they were referring to something else.

  3. anOCgirl on said:

    when I read the first few lines of this post, i was thinking, ‘she forgot J just like that L’Enfant guy.’
    i always wondered why we don’t have a j street. i had heard about the john jay story but didn’t believe it, not like i had an alternative to believe in. thank goodness you and snopes were on the case!

  4. Fascinating! I’ve always wondered why there was no J Street. Interesting possibilities to explain!

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