“Duke City” Vs. “BURQUE”

During the summer, Mayor Keller and first lady Elizabeth Kistin Keller sponsored their “One ABQ Challenge”.

By all accounts, it was a success emphasizing that we are all in it together to solving our problems.

The “One ABQ”challenge was a very commendable call for volunteers at city hall and resulted in 109 organizations, businesses and individuals working together to host 74 service projects across the city.

The challenge resulted in more than 1,000 volunteers who contributed more than 5,000 hours of service, a success by any standard.

Mayor Tim Keller has also launched “One ABQ Volunteers,” a comprehensive initiative designed to encourage Albuquerque residents to address the challenges the city faces and to assist with providing city services of a clerical nature.

One ABQ Volunteers will connect those interested in getting involved with the city to an opportunity that aligns with their skill set and their interests.



Mayor Keller has implemented a public relations and marketing campaign to rebrand the city image with his “One ABQ” initiatives with a new logo and nickname.

Keller has come up with a strained logo that rearranges the letters in the city’s name to reflect the slang name “BURQUE”, used by locals referring to the city, in red letters with t-shirts and created a web page promoting the city.

The city web page can be viewed here:


Slick videos to present the city in a positive image have been produced and can be viewed on the web page.

Keller has the city using his 2017 Mayoral campaign logos with the outline of the city backdrop in a circle with his “rust brown” color scheme backdrops on city literature and promotions.


Nicknames for major US Cities are extremely common.

City nicknames are intended to convey a message about a city and are used in tourism and economic development promotions for a community.

City nicknames convey a message of self esteem and how a city and its people view their city.

Usually, a nickname for a city is a source of pride and brings to mind an exact city without even mentioning the city’s name at all.

Prime examples of big city nicknames in the United States include:

“The Big Apple” for New York City, New York.
“City of Angels” for Los Angeles, California.
“The Windy City” for Chicago, Illinois.
“City of Brotherly Love” or “Philly” for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
“Sin City” for Las Vegas, Nevada.
“The Big Easy” for New Orleans, Louisiana.
“Beantown” for Boston, Massachusetts.
“Emerald City” for Seattle, Washington.
“The Mile-High City” for Denver, Colorado.
“Magic City” for Miami, Florida.
“Space City” for Houston, Texas.
“Motor City” for Detroit, Michigan.
“The Big D” for Dallas, Texas.


“The City Different” for Santa Fe, New Mexico.
“The City of Crosses” for Las Cruces, New Mexico.
“City of Vision” for Rio Rancho, New Mexico.
“Atomic City”, for Los Alamos, New Mexico.
“Cavern City”, for Carlsbad, New Mexico.
“Native American Capital of the World” for Gallup, New Mexico.
“Chile Pepper Capital of the World” for Hatche, New Mexico.


Albuquerque was founded in 1706 as a small Spanish settlement on the banks of the Rio Grande.

Albuquerque was named for the Duke of Alburquerque hence Albuquerque’s nickname, “The Duke City”. (Yes, there is another “r” in the name.)

For decades, Albuquerque’s nickname has been “The Duke City”.

The City’s mascot symbol is a cartoon figure head with a mustache and bearded man wearing a Spanish armor helmet.

At one time, Albuquerque’s professional baseball team was “The Dukes” and the baseball field was named the “Duke’s Stadium”.

Long term residents probably remember the “Duke City” drive in theater that was located on Carlisle north of Menaul in the approximate area where the American Furniture Store now sits as well as a Smith’s Store.


The attempt to rebrand and change the promotional name of “Duke City” with the name “BURQUE” is no doubt considered a smart promotional advertising move for the city by Mayor Tim Keller.

What Keller does not realize is that it is also cringe worthy to many who do not use it in their everyday conversations and view it as a slang name for Albuquerque.

The city has a round, silver logo or great seal with a coat of arms image, flags and the year 1706 emblazoned on it to reflect the year the city was founded.

The attempts by Mayor Keller to rebrand the city image with his own campaign logo and colors scheme is nothing more than self-promotion of his own tenure as Mayor and should sound very familiar in that it has happened before with one of his predecessors.

The same type of City rebranding was done by 3 term Mayor Martin Chavez who used his mayoral campaign city photos as backdrops with purple color hues for city projects.

Mayor Chavez came up with a new city logo that looked like a swimmer whose arms were breaking the water’s surface and the trite slogan “Good for You, Albuquerque!”, with both resulting in public ridicule.

Mayor Chavez attempted to rebrand the city “The Q” with the use of bold and distinct stylized font for “Q” in a light blue.

With Keller’s’ emphasis on “volunteerism”, you would have thought he would have explored people’s opinions on what the city should be referred to in promotional materials and logos.

If Keller really wants to change the city’s promotional name and branding for the good of promoting all of Albuquerque, that’s his right.

However, Keller should set aside his self-promoting ways, campaign colors and logo and place a far greater emphasis on historical Route 66 or the city’s historical roots and colors, which the name “Duke City” does represent, and avoid using slang nicknames like BURQUE that only locals understand and that makes others cringe.

This entry was posted in Opinions by . Bookmark the permalink.


Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.