Asymmetrical Information - Megan McArdle
11.27.12 5:02 PM ET
Where the Streets Have No Name?
I sort of understand the realtor urge to rename a neighborhood like "Hells' Kitchen", which doesn't sound all that great on the ads. I even went along when realtors carved the neighborhood due south of mine out of "Near Northeast" and named it "NoMA" (NOrth of MAssachusetts Avenue).
But I fiercely resist when realtors attempt to fold my neighborhood into NoMa; we have our own name, thankyouverymuch, and we're not giving it up just because you think it will widen your advertising reach. And this just floors me: realtors changing the names of neighborhoods that already have a name. It's not even like "Mount Vernon Triangle" is an ugly name. To my ear, it sounds distinctly superior to the proposed replacement. Nor do I think that everyone in Washington DC should have their residence designated by whether it is north or south of a major artery. That's the sort of thing that communists do, to make it easier for the Secret Police to find and arrest you.
I find it hard to believe that renaming Mount Vernon to SoNYA is going to improve sales, given that no one except this realtor has ever heard the term before. So what gives? Is this some sort of religious ritual? Or is it the urge to put your stamp, however stupid, on the face of your beloved city?