Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Naming Names in NYC

One of the quirks of New York real estate is the proliferation of neighborhood names and acronyms. From the fully "stuck" SoHo, TriBeCa and Dumbo to the still questionable NoLIta and the far-fetched BoCoCa, people have come up with lots of cute abbreviations for neighborhoods. Then there are all the neighborhoods that have been newly named and created out of larger areas. Toss some of these names out to a bunch of New Yorkers, especially Brooklynites, and you'll suddenly have a dogpack argument with people claiming that Carroll Gardens used to be considered part of Red Hook, or that Park Slope ends at 9th St., not 15th.
But one thing is certain-- if a neighborhood gets a name that sticks, prices are going to go up.
When I first moved to NY, I lived in Manhattan in an area that wasn't quite Gramercy Park, wasn't Stuyvesant Town, wasn't the East Village, wasn't Murray Hill. In fact, in the stickers that they have in taxis that show different neighborhoods in different colors, my neighborhood was part of an odd grey area that wasn't labeled with a name. My rent went up and I decided it was time to move to Brooklyn and buy an apartment, and sure enough, right around the time I moved, there was a "If You're Thinking of Living in ___" article in the NY Times Real Estate section that declared that my neighborhood was called "Stuyvesant Square," so I felt like I'd gotten out just in time.
When I moved to my first home in Brooklyn, there was no doubt about it-- I was in Park Slope. But when I moved again several years ago, I was in that area below 9th St. that used to be considered borderline, but is now pretty universally known as a sub-neighborhood of Park Slope called the "South Slope." But I am now considering a move further south to a hotly debated area known variously as "Greenwood Heights," "South Brooklyn," "Park Slope South," or "South Park Slope," and considered by some to actually be part of Sunset Park. There are a lot of new condos going in, and some rezoning controversy that could change that, but the area reminds me of how parts of 4th and 5th Avenue closer to Flatbush used to be 10 years ago. Do I want to get in now and wait for the amenities to follow in a few years? Or do I wait to see how it pans out and hope I can still afford it? If the housing market cools, will it totally stall the development of this area? And most importantly, what will they call it?
PaSloSo? SoBro? GroHo? Because of its proximity to the Gowanus Expressway, I think I'm going to call it SloGo. But that kind of has bad karma.


Caitlin said...

GroHo was my fave...but then...it would be.

I was just reading an article that mentioned Philly's South of South street area - I kid you not - SoSo. *snort*

And here I thought Boston's North of Washington St (NoWa) was bad.

Anonymous said...

SloGo, I love it!

Anonymous said...

Sopalope? (Rhymes with Soap on a Rope.)