The city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene released its hotly anticipated annual list of the most popular baby names last week, and on the girls’ side — take a seat for this one — Isabella, Sophia, and Olivia continue to bask in top-ten glory. Which, to be honest, we found a little upsetting. These oh-so-refined sorts of names, popular in recent years, are, we thought, growing tiresome. We were ready for some Kellys, some Jennifers. Fashion, we know, is cyclical, and we assumed it’s time for those seventies and eighties favorites — the names it seemed like all the popular girls in junior high shared — to be coming back, taking their rightful place alongside back-in-style leggings and skinny black pants.
But it was not to be. In fact, the numbers show that the Amys and Dianas of New York are in serious danger of extinction. Jennifer plummeted seven spots, from 21 in 2004 to 28 last year. Kelly lost ten, from No. 65 to 75. Amy dropped eleven (47 to 58), Diana eight (46 to 54), and Linda — poor Linda! — a vertigo-inducing fifteen, from 114 to 129. Also on the endangered list are Melissa, Angela, Tiffany, Brenda, and Julie. (Not that we’re complaining about Tiffany.) But don’t get too worried that, with the damned Emily and Ashleys (the Nos. 1 and 2 names) running around, we’re becoming a city of — yikes! — classy little girls. There’s a bit of good news: With a jump of ten places in just one year, Audrey is making a strong comeback. Maybe things are looking up.
— Hope Reeves