New York lawmaker threatens Realtors with death
Apr 2011 26

A New York City lawmaker is threatening the very livelihood of real estate agents across the country by proposing legislation that would ban the invention of neighborhood names that have given us SoHo, TriBeCa, and DUMBO.

According to the New York Times, state assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries is writing legislation that “would punish real estate agents for inventing neighborhood names and for falsely stretching their boundaries. It would also require that name changes get city approval.”

That sound you just heard was a collective gasp from hundreds of thousands of real estate agents across the country who live and die by coming up with creative names for otherwise moribund and boring neighborhoods.

But, seriously, the obvious silliness of this should be obvious. No nickname has ever been forced on anyone, anywhere. No one has to call the area South of Houston Street “SoHo”.

Here in Boston, of course, we have our own nicknames. In the South End is “SoWa”, the work of Mario Nicosia of GTI Properties who thought it made sense to brand an area where he owned a lot of property. It only stuck because people thought it made sense. It narrows an existing neighborhood into an even smaller one.

You have to be a real pessimist to think that real estate agents spend their days just dreaming up new neighborhood names. It doesn’t work like that. And, when they do offer up suggestions, it’s mostly tongue-in-cheek, like when I wanted to call the area between the South End and South Boston “SoSo”, because the neighborhood is, eh, just kind of so-so.

I’m not sure how the assemblyman thinks he can punish the agents and developers. Put them in the stocks? Fine them? Send them to Long Island?

ProCro, SoBro, FiDi, BoCoCa: A Lawmaker Says, ‘Enough’ – Cara Buckley, The New York Times

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