Real estate brokers and developers love manufacturing "trendy" new neighborhood names like SoBro (the South Bronx), SoHa (South Harlem) and BrownEa (Brownsville/East New York). Okay, we made that last one up, but in a town were brokers are pushing apartments in the hot new neighborhood of ProCro (Prospect Heights/Crown Heights), it's not that far-fetched. And one brave lawmaker is so fed up with the fanciful names he's introducing legislation that would punish real estate agents who advertise a property in a neighborhood with a contrived name.
“It’s the Wild West in New York City right now,” State Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries tells City Room. “Brokers are allowed to essentially pull names out of thin air in order to rebrand a neighborhood and have the effect of raising rents or home prices." He's introducing a bill next week that would require local community boards, the City Council and the mayor to sign off on new neighborhood names. The bill would also fine brokers and even revoke their licenses if they use the ProScribed names.
But where do you draw the line? Until the '70s, SoHo was often called "Hell's Hundred Acres"? TriBeCa was at one time a fabricated neighborhood name; now there's a major film festival named after it. And part of DUMBO used to be known as Fulton Landing. Actually, we'd be fine with going back to that, or maybe FuLa? Below, ProCro residents react to changes in the neighborhood: