“But today, “Main Street” has also become a metonym, used to symbolize much more than a literal street or commercial district. We hear politicians and political pundits proclaim that “we don’t want policies that help Wall Street but hurt Main Street,” opposing the two phrases to represent big business, and ordinary people, respectively. The Collins English Dictionary agrees. Its second definition for Main Street is “ordinary people in general.” The association with small towns is also well established. Sinclair Lewis begins his classic 1920s novel Main Street with this sentence: “This is America – a town of a few thousand, in a region of wheat and corn and dairies and little groves.”
Read the whole story on Kaid Benfield’s blog: Are Main Streets a thing of the past? Is that OK? | Kaid Benfield’s Blog | Switchboard, from NRDC.