Tuesday, June 9, 2009

What's In a Name

I was reading this interesting article on SF Gate titled “Familiar S.F. neighborhoods gain new names” and the crux of the article is the San Francisco Board of Realtors is pushing to rename some neighborhoods through a new map they are publishing to make them more attractive to a buyer.

The attempt is to take established names like the Western Addition - to NoPa (North of the Panhandle), Financial District - Barbary Coast and the gritty Hells Angels enclave known as Dogpatch. Dogpatch is 10-block of industrial neighborhood from Third and 22nd streets the Realtors now Central Waterfront.

What is in a name, especially when it comes to neighborhoods, is difficult to say: since neighborhood by any another name, may not be the same neighborhood.

Changing the boundaries changes perceptions and for San Francisco that is serious business in terms of asking prices. The real estate map was last updated in 2005 and is directly tied to the City’s Multiple Listing Service. Listings automatically assigned to districts on the map, a factor buyers and real estate appraisers use to help size up a home.

In Alameda we have our own neighborhoods, thirteen by my count. These are not official and I am sure people would differ, but it brings me to the topic of Alameda Point.

I hate the name Alameda Point. It dismiss the history of the West End, it sound blah and most of all do I would not want to say I live in the Alameda Point neighborhood, in Alameda, CA in Alameda County, California.

In the beginning we had "Old Alameda" referred to the village at Encinal and High,
Hibbardsville at the North Shore ferry and shipping terminal, and Woodstock was on the west near the ferry piers.

Then came other neighborhoods like: Gold Coast, Fernside, South Shore, Bay Farm, Harbor Bay Isle, Park Street, Northern Waterfront, FISC, North Housing, Ballena Bay, West End, Marina Village and Bayport.

When I lived and grew-up in North Housing it was just the West End. Inside the fence was “The Base,” which I think is a better name than “The Point.” At some point the Point became Alameda Point, and I’m not even sure how that happened.

So what to name the NAS Alameda?

We can look at the areas old industries to come up with a hip name. The Central Pacific's ferry, the
Alameda Mole, the First Transcontinental Railroad, the China Clipper, Benton Field, and Alaska Packers Association can provide inspiration. Just like the Dogpatch which grab its name for the stray dogs that roamed the area for scraps along district that was lined with meatpacking factories.

How about:
“The Landing or The Dock” for NAS Alameda


“WOW” for West of Webster; WOMA for West of Main


“Winward District” since it will get the wind first


“The Hangers”

This is not a very good start, but I would love to start a movement to rename the area. I have mapped the neighborhood, that I think exist, let me know what neighborhood you live, with the boundaries and I will try to add it to the map.


  1. Neat! Wouldn't you need to divvy up Park Street though into North of Lincoln and South of Lincoln given the new effort to give the North of Lincoln area a new identity?

    Also, isn't there a swath that self-identifies as some sort of triangle near the old Island High site?

    And the section you have designated as North Housing, shouldn't a portion be "Coast Guard Housing" and then the remainder North Housing?

  2. Lauren good points. Would it be NOLI and SOLI? Not sure that I am ready to divy up Park STreet. The Triangle is new, but I have now problem adding it, if those in the neighborhood identify with it.

    I grew up in North Housing and the homes that are Coast Guard Island were official North Housing, but it was Marina Village at North Housing. Having two Marina Villages would be confusing, so I stuck with North Housing

  3. So that triangle area, I found the name but not the boundaries, it's called Wedgewood (triangle, wedge, it's similarish).

  4. Your Fernside is about 2x the size of the actual Fernside. Best to divide into Fernside & East End.

  5. Chnage "South Shore" to "SoCal."

    North of Lincoln btw Grand & Park is "Oklahoma."

  6. Sam,

    Just curious where would you break up the Fernside? At High Street? I understand that was the border at one time, but those who live West of High between Broadway from Tilden to Central also call their neighborhood the Fernside.

    Oklahoma??? In 30+ years nevery heard that name for that neighborhood

  7. The Fernside is demarcated by the black gas lights. Rough, though not exact, boundaries are Versailles, Fernside, Lincoln & High. But no gaslights, no Fernside.

    And Oklahoma was a joke.

  8. Funny I thought about adding East End, but where does that start? Growing up in Alameda's West End everything past Grand Street was considered the East End. Would the boundary be Park Street, Broadway, or High Street or somewhere further West.

    Not sure where to draw the East End, I guess I could make it up and let people correct it