Neighborhood “revitalization,” or rebranding, means developers often come up with some way to disassociate the neighborhood’s past with its hipper, more gentrified present. That’s where acronyms and nicknames come in. Most of the time the new name is a ridiculous construction that people don’t bother to use because it seems like a silly affectation. Besides, using the neighborhood’s original name provides much more street cred (initially, anyway) even though you’re now able to walk around the corner and get a fancy cupcake to go with your Starbucks.
In an East Coast vs. West Coast battle of sorts, here are six of the last decade’s ludicrous attempts at changing the names of our ‘hoods, some only slightly more successful than the others. Like good rebellious residents, we’ve largely ignored them but the system of naming neighborhoods isn’t for residents, right? Realtors do it for the newcomers so they can make a few extra bucks off of the new rental property in the “new” neighborhood. It’s not a riot-worthy cause but, please stop.
1. SaMo – Santa Monica, Los Angeles
OMA was selected to design the Plaza at Santa Monica in Los Angeles on a sweet spot on Fourth and Arizona. Santa Monica is already pretty great but look out; Rem is going to make SaMo hipper with this new short stack building design. Image via Curbed
2. ProCro – Prospect Heights + Crown Heights junction, Brooklyn
Three years ago, State Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries was really vocal about this one and the writing of a bill “that would punish real estate agents for inventing neighborhood names and for falsely stretching their boundaries.” Nickname rage was all over the place. But really, who uses “ProCro,” anyway? Still, that year The Prospect’s condos were sold out. Image via Brownstoner
3. SoLA – South Los Angeles, just outside of South Central
The designs for this pricey $1-billion development project features two incredibly tall buildings. Generally not a place for super expensive, flashy buildings, the proposal for SoLA Village, just outside of Downtown in Historic South-Central and south of a lot of the newer DTLA development, seems like just the beginning of a massive gentrification overhaul. Images via Curbed
This 48 Canal Street loft was marketed just two years ago in a broker’s listing material on Elliman as being in “LoLo.” At about the same time, Vishaan Chakrabarti came up with a proposal for a connection to Governor’s Island from Lower Manhattan, which was also called LoLo. Chumbo, thankfully, never stuck. Image via Curbed
5. SoBro – South Bronx
Remember when Michael Kimmelman debuted as the new architecture critic for The New York Times and he wrote this piece on Via Verde, a subsidized green housing unit in the South Bronx? And then, all of a sudden it seemed, everyone was talking about SoBro. Except, he never called it that (and most people don’t) even though the nickname has been around since about 2007. With South Bronx waterfront redevelopment actually happening, it won’t be a surprise to see LOTS of SoBro action.
Image via The New York Times
6. NoPa – North of the Panhandle (formerly Western Addition), San Francisco
NoPa (or NOPA) is the official name for this 7-year-old neighborhood. It’s in writing. Even so, selling this San Francisco neighborhood and the pictured properties as “tree lined” and “vibrant” with "lush" gardens and plenty of nearby amenities probably doesn’t hurt. Images via Curbed