As I understand Harry Potter lore, Muggles in London can’t find Diagon Alley because its entrance is invisible, except to wizardly types.
Likewise, Muggles of Curtis Park may by told by Google Maps that Diagon Alley runs through the neighborhood but so far the signs are invisible here.
The map indicates Diagon is the alley between and parallel to Third and Fourth avenues, starting at 21st Street.
However, the only place there is a sign is in Oak Park, where Matt and Jamie Leonardo were building on the back of their lot, facing the alley.
Since the entrance to the new house was on the alley, the city required an address. An address required an alley name.
The Leonardos offered 18 possibilities, including Leonardo. The city said their second choice, Diagon, was fine. Rejected alley names included Vegan, Barack Obama, Pizza, Sutter Brown, Surveillance and Pee-Wee Herman.
As Harry Potter fans, the Leonardos were happy with Diagon. So far, no flood of international tourists looking for magic.
Curtis Park has another alley name with appeal. Or maybe that’s with a peel.
Banana Alley is between Markham Way and Third Avenue, starting at 21st Street. Like Diagon, it’s the product of planned construction on the back of a lot.
Property owner Alison Wolf didn’t ask to name the alley, but the city told her she had to, and pay for the signs.
Unlike the Leonardos, Wolf didn’t submit names. The city showed her some pre-approved names and let her pick. Apparently, Banana was best of the bunch. Wolf said Vodka Alley was another option.
By the way, there’s another fruit street in Curtis Park: Sakura Lane, which almost bumps into Banana, coming from 24th Street. The name refers to blooming cherry trees in Japanese.
By Carlos Alcala
Photo/Caroline Dunivant (Jamie Leonardo and her daughter, London Leonardo, 2, with Indie Leonardo, a Pitbull mix, at alley sign.)