Earlier this afternoon we noted our disgust with the PR-driven plan to rename a block of Greenwich Avenue as "Little Britain," a ploy by the proprietors of two British-ish businesses on that block to get themselves onto the city's official street map. We objected to many things, among them the attempt to liken this designation to Chinatown or Little Italy, which, we argued, organically developed because of the immigrant populations who clustered in the area, not because a tea shop got a few bucks from Richard Branson to hire a PR firm. The Campaign for Little Britain responded, refuting some of our claim and charmingly using the words "recognised" and "cheers":
Sent: Monday, July 16, 2007 2:20:24 PM
Got to take issue with your article, it is in the tradition of already recognised neighborhoods, check out Little Brazil, Koreatown, or Little India — they were started by businesses, too.
Secondly, like many small, local businesses, we are a little mom-and-pop operation being pushed out by bigger global brands who are forcing the rents up, so we came up with the idea to compete with them and then got some backing, which is no different from how any lobbying campaign works, except we were completely transparent about it.
As for historical relevance see attached NYT article from 1902.
Got no problem with people not liking the idea (over 6,000 do, the majority of whom are NY residents), but some of what you have written is inaccurate and [we] think you should correct it.
We remain skeptical. Is Koreatown an official designation for which local businesses lobbied the city? Or is it merely a descriptive term for an area that has a lot of Korean businesses? We suspect the latter. (Anyone know officially, for any of those neighborhoods?) But here's the point: Even if Koreatown is an official designation, it's also clearly a descriptive term. Has anyone ever colloquially thought of that slice of the West Village as "Little Britain"? CFLB says yes — once, in the Times, in 1902. We doubt anyone has since.
Odd Corners of New York [NYT via CFLB press release]
Earlier: Defy British Imperialism: A Belated Call for a New York Tea Party