Harlem residents fight neighborhood rebranding

May 27, 2017 03:35PM

Marketing materials on Keller Williams facebook page

Marketing materials on Keller Williams facebook page

Harlem is one of the most famous neighborhoods in New York City. But some think the neighborhood’s name could do with a bit of rebranding.

Some business owners are involved in a push to change the name of the area from 110th to 125th Streets to SoHa. Now, residents and community leaders are pushing back.

“No real estate company, no coffee shop, no business should be using the term SoHa to refer to Harlem,” said Danni Tyson, a Community Board 10 member, according to NY1.

Community leaders said that the new name “bulldozes Harlem’s history as the capital of black America” at a news conference Wednesday.

“How dare someone try to rob our culture, and try to act as if we were not here, and create a new name, a new reality as if the clock started when other people showed up?” State Senator-Elect Brian Benjamin said.

But this isn’t the first time investors have sought a Soho-style rebranding of Harlem. The name SoHa was first printed in a New York Times story 18 years ago. But the name has always been met with resistance. Locals are particularly upset with the real estate agency Keller Williams, which has a SoHa team on 115th Street, according to NY1.

[NY1] Christopher Cameron