Vogel: Who doesn't love RAMBO? Ask Jimbo?
When RAMBO recently appeared on Google maps, real estate developers jumped for joy. The name was now "official," and residents were literally on the map! So why were so many locals unhappy?
I asked my friend Jim (Jimbo), who moved from DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) to RAMBO (Right Across the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) a few years ago.
When artists seeking inexpensive loft space began moving into the barren factories under the Brooklyn Bridge in the late 1970s, they coined the non-glamorous name DUMBO to keep away developers. Ha! The opposite soon occurred -- just as it did when struggling artists similarly began moving into abandoned downtown Manhattan sweatshops half a century earlier, in what was then known as Hell's Hundred Acres.
Never heard of it? How about by its current name, SoHo? That trendy name caught on in the late 1960s, and it wasn't long before struggling artists were priced out as yuppies flooded the neighborhood.
This ongoing pattern has Jimbo and some other RAMBO residents up in arms as they try to avoid the same fate.
With finite New York City running out of "new" neighborhoods and unable to expand outward, we simply rename nabes to make them sound cooler.
Manhattanites have long gotten used to the acronyms SoHo, NoHo, Nolita and SoLita (North and South of Little Italy). But what if you turn left? Will you discover an underdeveloped LoLiTa? Or just run into overdeveloped TriBeCa?
And now it's Brooklyn's turn, as I ride the F train through the exotic-sounding lands of BoCoCa (Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens).
With these trendy names helping to boost real estate values, it's only a matter of time until virtually all city neighborhoods get a makeover. But what to do with decidedly unglamourous nabes like Flushing? FLOMO? Or Gravesend . . . NOMO?
If you're thinking of trying to escape, don't bother. The real estate people have their eye on your neighborhood already. Even the South Bronx is getting a makeover. Pardon me, I meant SoBRO.
Meanwhile, my friend wants to go all Rambo on the developers. Sorry, Jimbo. That's a no-no.