Friday, March 13, 2009

GeoPet: Now On The Green Line (Or The Sharper Image)

City Desk made me laugh out loud this morning with a new proposed neighborhood/metro station/dog park/open air drug market nickname: GeoPet.

This joins the ever-increasing list of acronyms that apparently apply only to gentrifying neighborhoods. There is no question "snappy neighborhood nicknames" will be appearing in an upcoming edition of Stuff White People Like. In fact, the adoption of an abbreviated, cute, clever nickname for a neighborhood has been consistenly proven to be the first sure sign of gentrification taking hold.

This all began many years ago in the once-sketchy Mount Pleasant neighborhood. What could be DC's first official nickname adoption was stunningly capitalized upon with the ubiquitous "MtP" sticker that now adorns hundreds if not thousands of Subaru Outbacks and Volvos in the greater metropolitan area. To early adopters, the "MtP" badge proudly proclaimed, "I am white, and not afraid to live in a neighborhood that has been secured by the advance team of hippies and homosexuals."

Many blissful years went by in which MtP was really the only well-known acronym for a DC neighborhood, and Mount Pleasant homeowners became fabulously wealthy as their prestige at having a three-letter, recognizable shorthand caused thousands of yuppies to clamor for admittance to the enclave. Meanwhile, no new businesses opened on Mt. Pleasant Street.

Enter CoHi. In record time following the phoenix-like rise of DCUSA, Columbia Heights established its cachet as a cool place for hipster and young urban professional alike to make their home with the adoption of this nickname. It spread like wildfire, it's popularity driven primarily by the approximately 4.2 seconds saved each time it was used in a text message instead of the laborious "Columbia Heights." The savings in time as thousands of hipsters tell each other where to meet for drinks equates to approximately 7.4 man-years per day.

Though exact details of the first usage are sketchy, NoMa came into popular usage at roughtly the same time. But not to be outdone by CoHi, NoMa came with the official sanction of the NoMa Business Improvement District, created in March 2007 for the purpose of ensuring that every gentrifying neighborhood had a nickname and a logo. NoMa also served the very useful pupose of making people forget that their neighborhood is, actually, the minefield formerly known as Eckington.

Other sketchy neighborhoods, not wanting to be left behind, quickly followed suit. Again, details are unclear on the first usage of many of these acronyms, and in some cases, competing nicknames continue to vie for universal recognition:

AdMo: Adams Morgan, though some prefer the older, more fitting nickname "The Morgue." Probably predates most other neighborhood nicknames, but is so completely gay that nobody really used it until the need to keep up with the Joneses arose with MtP and CoHi.

DuPont: Few know that DuPont is, in fact, a nickname adopted so long ago that few remember the true, full name of the neighborhood. But few people enjoyed saying they lived in "Dubious Pontifications" subdivision, a name established by the early artist/stoner community that settled and gentrified the area in the 1960's.

NoHo: My own invention, the ironic name for the area of Shaw between U Street and Howard University. You heard it here first.

Tivoli North: Unfortunate name that busisesses on 14th Street north of DCUSA are trying to adopt to make people less afraid to go there.

NoCo, SoCo, SoPet: Occasionally used, but generally reviled, names for Northern Columbia Heights (e.g, Tivoli North), Southern Columbia Heights (e.g., the area between U Street and the 13th and Columbia shooting gallery), and South Petworth (e.g., the place where the Red Derby is that actually isn't in Petworth).

But the best nickname yet to be conceived - and one which is sure to result in the immediate skyrocketing of crack-house property values, is BloMi, coined just last month by aaronsinger on DCist. This, of course, refers to the Bloomingdale neighborhood.

And so GeoPet has been coined, and I think it's a good one. Buy property in Petworth now -- if this nickname catches on, it won't be long before crackheads and car fires are replaced with baby carriages and bake sales.


Shannon said...

GeoPet? Totally makes me think of a Chia Pet made entirely of dirt.


A WaFro-ster.

lacochran said...

Wouldn't Tivoli North actually be MoHo?

Least that's what I always heard. No offense to the fine ladies in the area, of course.

Unknown said...

MtP isn't an acronym. NASA is.

Jamie said...

@IceCreamMan I think that is debatable. If your point is that it's not formed of just the initial letters of each word, it doesn't need to be (e.g. loran). See

But either way, if that's the worst mistake I've ever made here, I would be very surprised. Aside from frequent grammatical and editing errors, which I blame on the overpriced, hippie, alternative education I received from the fifth grade on,
this blog is rife with outright lies.

IMGoph said...

jamie: thanks for putting this list together, but i have a small quibble with one of your assertions. noma hasn't replaced eckington. eckington is still there, north of florida avenue. noma got rid of swampoodle (which, admittedly, no one uses anymore, except for those of us staunch objectionists on dcist).

Jamie said...

@Imgoph - My bad - and I had completely forgotten about Swampoodle!

I can't understand why anyone who lived in a neighborhood with such an awesome name would want to call it anything else.

Anonymous said...

Hahahaha...NoHo! Well I'm about to move from NoHo to CoHi in a few weeks, so thanks for the lingo update!

Jamie said...

You're moving to columbia heights?? Will you be finding a new nickname, then?

Welcome to the hood!! We shall have to have a beer.