How It Begins: Renaming a Neighborhood


I don’t get it. Why do newcomers feel a need to come up with new names for their neighborhoods? Is this one of those customs of the middle-class species? Or is it just someone trying to make a buck?

Check out this paper I recently picked up over in the Fairfax District and their attempts to rename the area as SOHO aka South Hollywood. First, that name is pretty fucking stupid: it continues this needless fascination with New York for cultural guidance. (WWMAD?) Plus it’s the tired moniker of choice for every fake ass “creative” neighborhood, and yes, that includes you NOHO.

Lucky for us, this paper actually has a long-winded “story” about how they came up with this new uninspired name for the Fairfax area. The website they link doesn’t have that info, but click ahead to see why they feel at ease taking an eraser to some of the common names for this area.

So what’s the reason the author gives for this name change?

Sure some people called it Miracle Mile, Mid City, Mid Wilshire, Fairfax Village or Beverly this or that. I mean this area has tons of history and yet all these nicknames are as old as some of the buildings still standing. No matter what anyone says, this area is more modern and different now and is surely not a ‘village’ as some would lead you to believe.

As my friends took interest in my new house and business, they tried to tell me that I am actually in West Hollywood. I realized that no West Hollywood is nice, clean and pretty much graffiti free, and even with the flair of the surrounding areas and cache of shops and restaurants, this area was different and reminded me more of the energy and nightlife of Soho in New York. And I then realized this was really the beginnings of South Hollywood, SoHo Los Angeles.

To sum it up, the area was different. He goes on to mention his Real Estate license (figures), his business of selling SoHo t-shirts, and the need for a “newspaper” that “concentrated on the ‘good news’ of our area rather than the typical doom & gloom of what is now considered ‘news’.” Sure enough, the author that “relocated to L.A. after leaving my home of San Francisco when the bubble burst” has registered a trademark for that Soho name. I guess it is about making a buck. Keep that in mind next time you start repeating some new name for an area.

We get lots of comments here at LA Eastside telling us that we should get over this whole schooling of fools on the location of the Eastside, that we should move on to more important things because these issues of place and history and names and identity are just sooo trivial. Too bad they are wrong. I don’t have any particular attachments to the area they are trying to rename soho and this is probably the last time I will think about it, but someone should care. What kind of a city are we if we let some random visitor act like nothing here matters? Will nobody speak up for the Fairfax District?

This is exactly how the term Eastside got drafted into some false “debate”, with some clueless newcomers and some locals that didn’t give it much thought. It’s been a long battle to reclaim our name, and even though we are winning, this should never have been allowed to get out so of hand.

Consider this a Public Service Warning.


The audacity: the newbies are cartographers y todo!

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