Malcolm X Boulevard

Say what?

If the r.e. moguls have their way, Lutie Johnson would be living in SoHa. It’s outrageous. Calling the place “South Harlem” would have priced her out of the market, as I’m sure it’s doing to any number of long-time residents. 116th Street should secede from SoHa.

This blatant marketing ploy reminds me of the transformation of my West Philadelphia neighborhood into “University City,” same neighborhood, same mix of small and medium row houses, medium to largiish apartment buildings, and a couple of elderly stately mansions. The real estate prices escalated, and the area gentrified. The new arrivals learned to avoid the area a few blocks to the south and west, home to boarded up buildings and streets full of potholes and broken glass.

Ginia Bellafante’s excellent critique in this NYTimes article makes a cogent argument against “rebranding.” Her newspaper used the term SoHa as far back as 1999, so this recent push must mean that sales in the neighborhood were flagging. Good for the pols for responding to neighborhood residents to fight the moguls.

And I was hoping to learn that the restaurant Max Soha had an owner with that name, but it doesn’t. How about Max in the Heart of Harlem?

There is one area that should continue to use its “brand.” It should be applied to all other incursions into NYC neighborhoods by real estate people: Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, a/k/a DUMBO.

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