Neighborhoods in New York have always been fungible. Names change or are invented out of thin air, acronyms, and nearby landmarks. Borders shift like tectonic plates—slowly, imperceptibly, then, in a city-shaking tremor, all at once. We all pretend to hate it, but we live with it, quietly profiting off it all. This is a town singularly obsessed with real estate, after all. So who can really blame Rose Associates for pushing the boundaries of the East Village?
An eagle-eyed East Villager spotted this ad in Metro the other day and passed it along to The Observer. “Spacious Apartments in Manhattan’s East Village,” it reads, next to a rendering of one of those repainted, reupholstered, light-filled apartments that are sure spacious by tenement standards. Historically, the area has been known as just good, old Stuyvesant Town, maybe part of greater Gramercy. Kips Bay South? Why not just pull a Clinton and resort to historic precedent—call it the Gaslight District.
Still, you can’t fault Rose Associates for at least trying. Stuy Town has had enough troubles of late that it needs all the help it can get. And it’s not like they’re stealing a neighborhood with any authenticity to it in the first place, the East Village being a nome de terre created in the 1980s to polish the upper reaches of the Lower East Side (it took a while and Rudolf Giuliani).
The only thing is, does the East Village really have any cachet Stuy Town would want to steal?