Monday, February 12, 2007

hobby horse: noma

stories have been posted on many websites about noma, the fictional neighborhood name given to the area that roughly lies in the couple of blocks west of the rail line running north of union station up to eckington. the map of this area that i've posted here can be found at, a website touting the area as a new business destination for dc's growing need for office space.

whenever i get a chance, i rail against this name ad nauseam. it's an obviously focus-grouped attempt to get people unfamiliar with the area to remember the name. which, i will admit, can be a good thing. no one is going to forget that a place called "north of massachusetts" is...well...north of massachusetts.

i've advocated in comments on many of these websites trying to get those writing to acknowledge the history of the area by finding another way to refer to it. the southernmost part of the area was historically known as swampoodle, partially in reference to the fact that it was a low-lying area where tiber creek flowed through, before it was channeled underground. today, i made reference in a dcist comment thread to the fact that local bloggers led the effort to get the public to refer to the juvenile panda at the national zoo as "butterstick", and that we should do the same for noma. apparently, the writer of the article that referenced noma is willing to consider alternate names for the area. i'm all for a reinstituting of swampoodle, so i think the time has come to start pushing harder for that name to be daylighted.

though swampoodle didn't cover the entire area that is now unfortunately referred to as noma, i believe it would be a fine start to get this name a little more prominence. if anyone has more background to share on the historical neighborhood names given to this area, please include them in the comments, and i'll discuss some of them in a future update.

truxton circle is the name for the area at the northwest edge of 'noma'. it's a name that seems to be enjoying a bit of a revitalization lately, with more attention focused on this area's history. the area to the northeast of 'noma' is eckington. my biggest fear is that 'noma' keeps creeping so far afield that the name is starting to lay claim to parts of eckington.

i've rambled on far enough about this. anyone out there have any thoughts?


Anonymous said...

i don't really mind the name NoMa ( aren't all neighborhood names made up?) but yeah.. they best not be calling eckington NoMa.

PalacePool said...

The bottom line is, there are real neighborhoods as you mentioned. There is no way anyone will confuse NOMA for SOHO, or SoBe, no matter how hard they try.