Where do the John Does of the world live?
July 22, 2010 1:22 PM   Subscribe

What are some equivalents of "123 Main Street" outside Canada and the US? I'm looking for prototypical exemplar addresses, like you might see used on a sample form, but which are still likely to exist in reality -- so, NOT something like "123 Example Street" or "123 Anystreet." I do realize this exact address format does not apply to all areas of the globe.

The samples I've found so far have been too realistic. I'm more interested in the kind of address that everyone recognizes as being fake (but, again, not entirely implausible). No, this is not for some nefarious, international form-registration rampage.
posted by (alice) to Writing & Language (22 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know if it's typically used in examples, but in my experience, many cities in Canada have a King St. instead of a Main St.
posted by cider at 1:27 PM on July 22, 2010

Best answer: And High St. in England.
posted by smackfu at 1:29 PM on July 22, 2010

Every French village I've been to has a "nn, Grand Rue". Most German-language villages will have "Hauptplatz nn". "Szent István út nn" is popular in Hungary, though without connotations of "Main" of course.
posted by themel at 1:29 PM on July 22, 2010

There's the Marge Simpson classic, 123 Fake Street. (And, hey! There's a real life Russian spy just down the road at number 99.)
posted by Sys Rq at 1:32 PM on July 22, 2010

In all of my French textbooks growing up, people lived on "Rue Victor Hugo."
posted by proj at 1:39 PM on July 22, 2010 [4 favorites]

1060 West Addison? 1600 Pennsylvania?
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:45 PM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

As well as High St, there's a London Rd in many a English city.
posted by Simon_ at 1:47 PM on July 22, 2010

Best answer: Yes, but the canonical British cliche is Acacia Avenue.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 2:03 PM on July 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

I don't think we're looking for "common street names" or "street names you would find in many towns." We're looking for: In [some non-U.S.A. country] a picture of an envelope with a generic example address is going to have what text in the address. This is following on the U.S. practice of putting "123 Main Street" as the standard example address. (And sometimes "Anytown, U.S.A." for the city.)
posted by argybarg at 2:06 PM on July 22, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks, argybarg, for explaining better than I did! That's it, exactly.
posted by (alice) at 2:12 PM on July 22, 2010

Best answer: Generic German address: Hans Mustermann, Musterstr. 123, 12345 Musterstadt.
posted by insouciant at 2:19 PM on July 22, 2010

Following argybarg's clarification: that's exactly the context in which "Acacia Avenue" would be used in the UK. It's probably less used these days, but there is no other single street name that comes close. It is, if I might make so bold, the answer to this question in terms of the UK!
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 2:22 PM on July 22, 2010

Storgatan and Drottninggatan (Main resp. Queen st) are often used in Sweden.
posted by Iteki at 2:31 PM on July 22, 2010

Best answer: Are the model/example addresses in the Universal Postal Union’s Postal addressing systems in member countries too realistic?
posted by channaher at 3:10 PM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: game warden's right that Acacia Avenue satisfies the "obviously fictional" part of the question in the UK, though greeked addresses for business-letter templates or sample forms tend towards "High Street". To make the distinction a bit more more clearly: Smith's Widgets Ltd. is at 123 High Street, but John Smith lives at 99 Acacia Avenue.

(There's also the old punchline address, 999 Letsby Avenue.)
posted by holgate at 3:11 PM on July 22, 2010

In Poland, every town of decent size has a street named after John Paul II, Pilsudski, Sikorski, or the Jagiellons.
posted by mdonley at 3:18 PM on July 22, 2010


Slightly off topic, but there really is a police station on Letsby Avenue in Sheffield.
posted by tsh at 3:34 PM on July 22, 2010

Response by poster: @channaher - Most of the ones I checked seemed too realistic, although they did have "1234 Postdam" for the Netherlands, which sounds about right. It's a useful resource, either way, so thanks!
posted by (alice) at 3:42 PM on July 22, 2010

I can't think of any actually-used example, as the tendency is to write XX Rd I think, but in terms of ubiquitous street names countless places in the PRC have a 人民路 rénmín lù 'People's Road'; 解放路 jiěfàng lù 'Liberation Road' is also common. Those wouldn't be obviously fake though - 某某路 mǒumǒu lù 'Something-something Road' would be but then not actually likely as a real place name.
posted by Abiezer at 9:52 PM on July 22, 2010

Just to be clear, the '1234 Postdam' is a postcode and (made up) place name (the equivalent of, say, Beverly Hills 90210). It's like writing "Postville 12345" as a made-up US address. It's not a made-up street name.

(The made-up street name on that page is 'Adrianastraat 34', ie '34 Adriana Street'.)
posted by rubbish bin night at 1:45 AM on July 23, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks -- I was trying to go through them quickly and somehow missed that!
posted by (alice) at 9:23 AM on July 23, 2010

Ah yes, Acacia Avenue. Even Bananaman lived there. The only difference from Main St. is that it has a suburban implication (red brick terraces in Bananaman's case). I don't think High St. is used in quite the same way. People talk about 'the high street', meaning the average British shopping nucleus.

Acacia Avenue is your nearest U.K. equivalent.
posted by Deor at 6:19 PM on July 23, 2010

« Older PAAAAAHMP ME AAAAAHP   |   Getting my kicks in the District Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.