Here they go again… Realtors continue to play checkers with our borders.
The practice of fudging the borders between gentrifying neighborhoods first reared its ugly head for Bed-Stuy Patch in April 2011, with a story we ran exposing the habit by realtors of renaming certain neighborhoods as a new blended neighborhood, for example “Bedford Hill” or “Clinton Stuy.”
This was done so that the “least appealing” nabe could be associated with the “more appealing” one, thereby increasing the likelihood the realtor would make the sale to the unsuspecting neighborhood newbie.
However, after Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries introduced a bill to make that practice illegal, realtors backed off (Corcoran even apologized on their website) for what they knew all along was deliberate hedging.
The debate emerged again in March 2012, as new businesses opening one to four blocks within Bed-Stuy’s borders routinely advertised themselves online as a Clinton Hill businesses.
Now, it appears realtors are on an all-out war path to split Crown Heights into three parts: In fact, let the realtors tell it, Crown Heights is 6 meager blocks long and four tiny blocks wide. The rest is Prospect Heights (to the west) and Bedford Stuyvesant (to the northeast).
Maybe you think it’s no biggie. And really, in the whole scheme of things, maybe it’s not…
But there’s a Chinese Proverb, “Three Men Make a Tiger,” which refers to an individual's tendency to accept absurd information as long as it is repeated by enough people, also known as argumentum ad populum-- an idea that is the basis for how new words are added to the dictionary each year.
In the Chinese proverb, a state official traveling away asked the king if we would believe it as truth, if someone told him a tiger was seen roaming the crowded market. The king said “no.”
He asked, what if two people said it? The king said he would begin to wonder. Then the official asked, what if three people said it? And the king said “yes,” he would likely believe it then, although the notion of a tiger roaming a crowded market in the middle of a city was ludicrous.
The official then pointed out that he had at least three enemies and warned the king not to believe rumors while he was away. Of course, by the time the official returned, rumors had flown, and the king refused to further deal with the official.
All that to say, know your borders and dispel un-truths or even half-truths (Bedford Hill) as it regards where you live, before they become full truths.
At the end of the day, it has less to do with me, you, image or even neighborhood pride – because residents come and residents go – and everything to do with history. And truth.
And, oh yeah, be careful: I heard from someone yesterday, a tiger was seen roaming around Franklin and Monroe.