There's a whole bunch of them that look as if they would require one, but actually don't:

Times Square, Trafalgar Square, Union Square, Carnegie Hall, Central Park, Hyde Park, Westminster Abbey, London Bridge, Oxford University, etc.

As opposed to:

The Albert Bridge, the George Washington Bridge, the Eiffel Tower, etc.

Is there a rule, or some sort of historical reason?

Why this is not a duplicate question: This is not about the general rules about articles; nor am I asking for instructions on how to use them; I already know how.

  • Proper names don't take the article. We say "The White House" because we are referring to its colour/color, not to someone's surname. We don't say "The Madame Tussaud's" which is a famous wax museum in London. Likewise we don't say "The Carnegie Hall". The names of cities, districts, towns, areas are proper nouns, and therefore capitalized. – Mari-Lou A Nov 4 '15 at 9:01
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    @Mari-LouA I think it boils down to what's idiomatic and what isn't. We certainly say The Houses of Parliament, or The Palace of Westminster - or The Tower of London, The London Eye, the Emirates Stadium, or The Post Office Tower. But I agree that for the most part proper nouns do not take an article. – WS2 Nov 4 '15 at 9:05
  • oops, I meant proper nouns. I don't know why Central Park doesn't have the definite article, but I would say that it is the park's full name. – Mari-Lou A Nov 4 '15 at 9:07
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    @Mari-LouA : "Thunder and lightning" is an archaic expression which in my case indicates a high degree of annoyance that would be obvious to everyone if it weren't compensated by my well-known good humor and friendly disposition. – Ricky Nov 4 '15 at 10:50
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    Arguably the answer to your dilemma lies in this question: Use of definite article before phrases like Heathrow Airport, Hyde Park, Waterloo Station, Edgware Road and Parliament Square Also related: Also related: Why does English use definite articles before certain proper nouns, such as the names of ships? See Choster's answer for a long list of questions also related to this one. – Mari-Lou A Nov 4 '15 at 19:44