Defy British Imperialism: A Belated Call for a New York Tea Party

So did you notice in yesterday’s City section that little article about the proposal to rename a stretch of Greenwich Avenue in the West Village as “Little Britain”? Yeah, we almost missed it, too — but it reminded us about this insipid idea, first announced a few months ago, about just much how we object to it, and that we ought to explain why. See, here’s the thing: It’s all a marketing gimmick. For a private business. The couple behind the plan own Tea & Sympathy and A Salt and Battery, respectively a tea shop and a fish-and-chippery, on that stretch of Greenwich. And they want the name of the street changed simply to boost their own business. (Hey, great idea: Let’s rename Madison Avenue between 49th and 50th “Magazine Avenue!”)

Worse, the propaganda placed the idea in the tradition of neighborhood names like Little Italy and Chinatown, which is not only inaccurate but also somewhat offensive, as, to the best of our knowledge, the masses of immigrants who lived in those areas and gave them their names did not have a PR firm behind their efforts, a slick Website, or corporate sponsorship from Virgin Atlantic. The transportation committee of Community Board 2 wisely reject the proposal last Tuesday, but, as the presence of this article suggests, these West Village Brits have not yet let the sun set on their imperial idea; they’re still holding out hope for a positive vote by the full board. All Daily Intel can say is this: USA! USA! Oh, and we’re quite sure we’d say that even if our apartment didn’t happen to overlook that stretch of Greenwich Avenue.

Seeking a Beachhead for a Little Bit of England [NYT]
The Campaign for Little Britain in the Big Apple [Official Site]