Cafe 227

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Please, No Mo' Contrived Neighborhood Names

This makes me angry. From the Washington Business Journal:

Yes, they're trying to rename the neighborhood just north of Massachusetts Avenue NE "NoMa." This on the heels of the planned "Tribeca" development in PG County (despite the absence of either a Canal Street or a triangle below said street anywhere near the development). These developers aren't doing much to help dispel the perception that DC has a huge inferiority complex to New York.

Even considered apart from this apparent New York City penis envy, however, the name "NoMa" makes me cringe. To me, "NoMa" brings to mind annoying Red Sox fans circa 1999. Or something Jay-Z would say in a rap song.*

The best line of the article (which you probably can't access, since you need a subscription) is this:

"Plans for NoMa, once a crime-infested industrial wasteland, have evolved to the point that the goal now is to create DC's own SoHo or Greenwich Village, with plenty of retail and condominiums as part of the 20 million square feet of development on the drawing board."

Now, I spend a lot of time in New York. And I don't typically associate brand-new condominium developments and 21st-century McRetailers (Container Store, Pottery Barn, Barnes & Noble, etc.) with SoHo or Greenwich Village. But maybe those neighborhoods have changed a lot since I was up there in April.

* The specific Jay-Z lyric I'm thinking of appears in One Minute Man, his collaboration with Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott. It goes like this: "I'm not your man, not Ralph Tresvant, not Ronnie Romance... no ma. I'm tryin to hit you then put you in the middle of the round like I'm Roberto Duran... no mas." I love Jay-Z.


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