Main Street - American Cultural Usage

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American Cultural Usage

In the general sense, the term "Main Street" refers to a place of traditional values.

In the North American media, "Main Street," or the interests of everyday people and small business owners, in contrasted with "Wall Street" (in the United States) or "Bay Street" (in Canada), symbolizing the interests of large national corporations.

Main Street was a popular term during the economic crises in 2008 and 2009: the proposed bailout of U.S. financial system, the 2008 presidential campaign, and debates. One widely reviewed book was Bailout: An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street While Rescuing Wall Street (2012) by Neil Barofsky.

"Main Street" is part of the iconography of American life. For example, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, the outfit that operates the PX and BX stores on military bases, chose the name "Main Street USA" for its food courts.

In small towns across the United States, Main Street is not only the major road running through town but the site of all street life, a place where townspeople hang out and watch the annual parades go by. A slang term popularized in the early 20th century, "main drag", is also used to refer to a town's main street.

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