Bad building names in NYC

Curbed has put together a list of some of the worst building names in New York City. Here are some of the contestants:

Weird Spellings of Addresses

260N9 leads us into our first category: buildings that are almost just going by their addresses, but have decided to randomly spell out numbers, or abbreviate and/or combine words to create some monstrosity that no one will ever say out loud. 2ND7TH is a recent offender in this category, as is Five FortyOne, and, less recently, Twenty9th Park Madison. These types of buildings also sometimes like to combine a random word with the number from the address, such as Colony 1209, which sounds like it’s on the moon.

Human Names

Another very common approach often taken by building namers is to name them as one would a human child, with a “the” in front. This can result in condos that sound like your grandfather (The Seymour, The Leonard) or a pop star (The Adele, The Robyn) or…just some guy…that you live inside of. (That one, The Nathaniel, gets an additional dishonorable mention for being named after the protagonist in an Ayn Rand novel.)…

Anything With the Word “Mews”

A mews is a row of stables and carriage houses constructed around a paved courtyard. The few that still exist in New York City have, for the most part, seen the stables torn down and replaced by houses which essentially now exist on a private and secluded dead-end street—a rarity, obviously, in Manhattan. This makes them quite coveted. It has also led a number of condo developers to call their buildings, erroneously, Soho Mews, Chelsea Mews, Carlton Mews, etc.

Names That Sound Like Things They’re Not Supposed To

Had no one involved in the creation of Jade8 ever heard of J-Date? Did no one on the development team behind Mantena think to Google that word? Other honorable mentions in this category include BKLYN Air, which sounds like an off-brand sneaker, and MiMa, which sounds like something you call your grandmother. And then there’s the Isis Condominium on the Upper East Side (h/t to commenter newkyz). Though that one isn’t exactly the developers’ fault (it was developed in 2008), it has declined to change its name, unlike the Isis in Miami.

This list suggests buildings suffer from the same name problems that face subdivisions or suburban streets. Builders are looking to brand their construction so the names often deliberately invoke other liked objects, such as a well-regarded address (it’s the location to be in!) or the past (we’re invoking the grandeur of history!). Does the branding itself reveal much about the architecture or design of the building and its units? Probably not. Do the mews buildings have more garden/leisure space? Do the address buildings make a unique contribution to the neighborhood? Of course, more functional or accurate names would have to be longer and wouldn’t be able to quickly invoke such images.

The next step here in this analysis might be to look at the relative values of these different properties by name. Take two buildings in similar settings: does having mews in the title add value or would the owners be better offer with an address name?

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