NY Assemblyman Wants to Introduce Bill That Requires City Approval for Making Up New Neighborhood Names

April 20th, 2011

Apparently, some people in the greatest City on Earth have a problem with developers making up attractive names for neighborhoods to increase real estate prices. They dislike these practices so much that–wait for it–the City wants to regulate that speech! From the Times:

It’s one of the oldest tricks in real estate: pretend that a property is in a more desirable neighborhood and demand more rent or a higher sale price. In other words, advertise that an apartment is in, say, Prospect Heights rather than Crown Heights.

When brokers cannot do that, some make up a whole new name, like ProCro for the area between Prospect Heights and Crown Heights. Or they rename places like the South Bronx “SoBro” and South Harlem “SoHa.”

Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, a Brooklyn Democrat, has little patience for this kind of broker babble. He said he would introduce a bill next week to require a series of approvals for new neighborhood names — from the community board, the City Council and the mayor.

His bill would also punish real estate brokers who promoted property with an unofficial, made-up name. The bill calls for fines and the possible suspension or revocation of brokers’ licenses.

I’m not an expert on commercial speech doctrines, but this sounds suspect.

It’s not like New York City has more important things to worry about, right?