That’s a fascinating and difficult question to answer (for staff, I imagine).
The problem with using the “formal name” or “common name” is that many official place names in no way resemble the actual purpose for a visit. In the case of a cemetery, famous buried bodies often take precedence over the name of the cemetery. For example:
There are so many gray areas when it comes to “places” that it’s almost impossible to find a hard and fast rule. Atlas Obscura is about the weird and unusual but the internet is about clicking what interests you and it seems easy to be caught between the two when an official name provides no real descriptive value.
Even if the Editor’s had agreed to focus on “Polo Grounds” since it was/is an actual place, wouldn’t it better follow naming conventions by using: “Polo Grounds Staircase”, “Polo Grounds John T. Brush Stairway” or “Polo Grounds Staircase to old Ticket Office” or something that put the name first? Starting the page title with “The Last Remnants of” definitely seems editorialized which I believe the naming rules are probably meant to avoid.
I’ve come across some inconsistencies in my own travels as well. Take for example the Washington Monument in Washington DC- one of the most famous landmarks in the United States. It doesn’t seem to meet AO’s criteria for listing but it appears (at least) twice:
Neither of these are Places. They are things about a Place. They seem more suitable for the content of a page/article about the Washington Monument rather than their own Places but then you’re on a slippery slope to listing all the most popular tourist attractions.
Then you’ve also got Places within Places. Done wonderfully with this “list” of Central Park in NYC:
But the logic deteriorates when main attraction isn’t quite as noteworthy and the “Places” within them are more like “Things to see along the way”.
I think the summarizing answer we’ll probably get will hit 3 notes:
(1) Rules are made to be broken- they serve as guidelines
(2) Editors are humans and must make tough decisions on gray areas
(3) You’re probably right. These cases could be adjusted to better meet the AO rules
Will be interested to see the response from an official team member, though, as I’m just an interested onlooker with similar questions providing my best guest!