April 02, 2003

Last month I noted my discomfort with Tony Goldman's proposed -- hyped? -- new name for my neighborhood, "B3," which the real estate developer says is short for "Blocks Below Broad."

I'm pleased to learn others are equally mystified by this designation, the latest expression of dissatisfaction coming from Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Tanya Barrientos in "Name a Neighborhood B3? Developer Has to Bkidding" (March 29). Barrientos writes:

Goldman paid a lot of money to a slick marketing firm to dream up the nickname. And he loves it.

"It's how the street numbers go," Goldman explained when I said I didn't get it. "They're lower below Broad Street."


Broad Street runs north and south. Most neighborhoods are either east or west of Broad. And in Philadelphians' minds, the only thing below Broad is the subway.

"People think in terms of going uptown or downtown," Goldman told me. "When they're going toward Rittenhouse Square they're going uptown. On the other side of Broad they're going downtown."

He must have us confused with some other city.

I agree: "Huh?" Someone needs to turn Goldman's map of Philadelphia by about 90 degrees counter-clockwise. (Why do I have the feeling the "slick marketing firm" Goldman hired is in New York?)

Barrientos continues:

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm all for Goldman's project. I'm behind anybody willing to breathe new life into the mangy patches of Center City that still exist. [Ed.: Hey! I resemble that remark!]

But take it from me, Tony, that name isn't going to catch on here.

Although I share her skepticism about Goldman's mindset, Barrientos may be overstating things here. "B3" could catch on, but not if Philadelphians are supposed to accept the premise that the designation stands for "Blocks Below Broad." Given the North-South axis along which Broad St. runs, people might accept "Blocks Beyond Broad" or "Blocks Beside Broad," but "Below"? No way.

Turn your map, Tony!


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