For a moment there, it seemed like the economic downturn was going to bring a much-needed reality check to the world of real estate. But no. The Daily News reports today on the efforts of real estate brokers to re-brand supposedly undesirable neighborhoods by giving them more marketable monikers — like "GoCaGa" for the area between Gowanus and Carroll Gardens, "BoHo" for the Bowery south of Houston, "SunSlope" for the streets between Sunset Park and Park Slope, and "iTri" for the Iron Triangle in Willets Point. "These names are great selling points for agents trying to bring clients into a neighborhood that wasn't so hip before but sounds a lot hipper now," said Jean Charles, a senior agent at Bond New York, a major sales and rental firm.
This, of course, isn't the first push by the real estate industry to rename wide swaths of the city. Some new names like SoHo, NoHo, Nolita and DUMBO have become well established, while disputes continue over names like Clinton for Hell's Kitchen, and BoCoCa for Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, and Carroll Gardens. Thankfully, the folks charged with cementing neighborhood names into the historical record don't jump in front of every advertising bandwagon. "We look at what the local residents and denizens call it, whether the city recognizes it and what the historical record says," said Marc Jennings, president of the map-making company Hagstrom. "There's something very fluid and generally cool about neighborhood names in New York, so we try and keep up with the changes."