What’s in a Neighborhood Name? Marketing, Mostly

Q: I’ve lived on 24th Street and Second Avenue for 50 years, and the neighborhood’s name seems to be changing. It has generally been called Gramercy Park, and at one point there was talk about naming the area Rose Hill. But recently I’ve seen it referred to as Kips Bay, which I thought started in the high 20s. I’d love to know if there is an official name.

A: Some New York City blocks can feel like orphans. Alan Krevis, the president of Gramercy Neighborhood Associates, said he does not consider East 24th Street part of Gramercy Park. But he’s not so sure it’s Kips Bay, either.

Likewise for Victoria Vinokur, an associate broker with Brown Harris Stevens. “I don’t want to say it’s no man’s land, but it is what it is,” she said of your block.

Of course, you do live somewhere. The New York Times real estate map places East 24th Street in Kips Bay, which runs from East 23rd Street — the northern boundary of the Gramercy Park neighborhood — to East 34th Street, between the East River and Lexington Avenue.


Yours is not the only swath of the city to feel nameless; indeed, as Julie Lasky noted in an article about Kips Bay, that neighborhood’s northern border with Murray Hill is also a source of much confusion. You’ve managed to live there for half a century despite this predicament, so you know as well as anyone that life goes on. But since we’re going down this rabbit hole anyway, why not entertain the idea of Rose Hill?

It certainly has a ring to it. And what’s more New York than slapping a name on a collection of streets? Branding gave us Hudson Square, NoLIta, NoMad and even the East Village, which was once part of the Lower East Side.

Why can’t it give us Rose Hill, too? This might be its moment. An effort about 20 years ago to brand the area Rose Hill didn’t stick. But now, there’s a condo opening on East 29th called Rose Hill, with a website that goes so far as to explain the history of the Rose Hill neighborhood in language that would convince a suggestible reader that it’s a place we’ve all known and loved for decades. According to Sydney Blumstein, an associate broker for Corcoran, finding the back story is half the battle. “You have to have a historical story, true or false,” she said. “And you have to get a broker to go along with it.”

Ms. Blumstein, who has a listing in the neighborhood and is looking for ways to make it stand out in a slow market, might just be that broker. “I’m going to crush 24th and Second with stickers of roses and signs that say Rose Hill,” she said. “And the next day, a rose store opens or a rose cafe.” And soon after, you’ll have a neighborhood to call your own.

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