Let's hope that we can't call it this for very long, but for the moment, the neighborhood-name coinage that appears to be Sandy's legacy to New Yorkers is "SoPo." That's South of Power, mapped in the image at right, via I Love Charts; they picked it up from a Facebook post from Keerthik Sasidharan (
the map's creator remains unknown architect and artist Jake Levine has been credited as the creator of the sketch!). This nickname "SoPo," of course, is ironic. No one really wants to live in SoPo, not while it's SoPo, at least—even as we flocked to not only live in but also eat, drink, and be merry in it just ... six days ago. This has been a lengthy week.
SoPo's charm is in its mocking, its ability to turn the tables on the New York City fake-neighborhood name game, usually run by real estate folks and, maybe, city planners. As Levine told us, "In a city with no shortage of head-scratching acronyms, the opportunity seemed ironically appropriate. Thought it might brighten the day of those in the dark." New York City has a history with this sort of name, particularly as different areas of town become gentrified or popularized and therefore need more appealing names to entice more people to move in, and, usually, for property values to increase as well. TriBeCa (Triangle Below Canal) is now taken as an established entity, as legit as SoHo (South of Houston)—the apparent first of the initialized neighborhood names, going back to the mid-60s. Then there's NoLiTa (North of Little Italy), DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), FiDi (the Financial District), and SoBro (South of the Bronx), used in varying amounts, with varying capitalizations. But RAMBO (Right Around the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), NoMad (North of Madison), SoHa (South of Harlem), and SoCo (South of Columbia) have been harder sells, to say the least. Or what about ProCro (Prospect Heights/Crown Heights), BoCoCa (Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens), or GoCaGa (Gowanus/Carroll Gardens). Ugh-Co-Co.
The simplifying principles of SoPo could catch on, though, what with current talk of the Downtown-Uptown divide and the strange zeitgeist of this post-Sandy moment.
Funny.I just saw a sign that I apparently live in Manhattan's newest neighborhood: #SoPo (south of power).Can't wait to go home tonight— Elisa Roupenian (@Elisa_CNN) November 2, 2012
If it is tweeted, is it real? Property valuations remain TBD. Let's hope the power comes back before we get much further with this. Post-power update (for many): Levine has hooked up with a charity T-shirt company to bring SoPo to the torsos of us all, with money to go to the hurricane relief effort, of course.