In an article in yesterday’s Daily News, Brooklyn-born Harry Siegel throws mud at several Brooklyn neighborhood names as “realtor’s geography”. Certainly, some monikers – Bedwick? ProCro? – are bullshit contrivances, and some boundaries have shifted, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the names themselves are brokerbabble – or even new. (Looking at these changes is the main reason I started Blurred Lines over at Curbed NY.)
I’ll give you the details, and then let’s have a discussion: at what point is a neighborhood name “acceptable”? TriBeCa and SoHo date from the 1970s, but no one questions their authenticity. Perhaps it’s because they’ve always been rich locations, and thus haven’t experienced the conflicts germane to gentrification, as new pushes out old, white pushes out non-white (generally).
Prospect Lefferts Gardens – 1969, with earlier references thanks to Lefferts Manor.
Flatbush – its own town until 1894, it has kept its name.
Greenwood Heights – dates from 1846, but was only brought back into use in the 1980s. Fair game.
South Slope – newer construction. Fair game.
Prospect Heights – a quick search shows that Park Slope might have been carved from Prospect Heights! (Here’s a house at 380 12th Street (btw 6th/7th Avenues); Prospect Heights Hall was at 19th Street and 5th Avenue.)
Dumbo – around 20 years old. Fair game.
Clinton Hill – references to “The Hill” as a luxury area go back to the mid-1800s; the area went out of style in the 1910s but made a revival later in the century.
Boerum Hill – at least 1966. The article refers to a “group of young homeowners and would-be owners who are trying to reclaim and restore a deteriorated but historic section of downtown Brooklyn.” The neighborhood association dates from the same year.
Cobble Hill – a strategic location in The Battle of Brooklyn located between today’s Atlantic, Pacific, Court, and Clinton.
Carroll Gardens – like Boerum Hill, also dates from around 1966.
BoCoCa – get out of here.