Move over, Soho and Nolita — you’ve got company. A decade ago, the streets below the Brooklyn Bridge were christened DUMBO by hipsters seeking to build a sense of community (and, well, to jack up their property values). Now, it seems, the trend has found its way to Montclair. (No jokes about bridge-and-tunnel folks being a half-step behind the times, please.)
Welcome to the land of SoBlo — or SoMo, depending on your point of view. Both names have been suggested for the area south of Bloomfield Ave. SoBlo t-shirts are on sale at Raymond’s for $15 and Joanne Ricci tells us the proceeds go to PAWS and Toni’s Kitchen. The name is meant to evoke Soho, of course, reminding current and prospective residents that Montclair has evolved into a sort of sixth borough, with the Midtown Direct like a pulsing artery (often a clogged one) connecting us to the heart of Manhattan. “We’ve been compared to Soho down here,” Ricci says, “so why not have our own designation?”
But Ken Colen and his pals have another idea…
“I had to laugh when I saw SoBlo T-shirts for sale at Raymond’s,” he tells us. “A few years ago, a friend and I, both living in ‘Southern Montclair,’ started calling this area ‘SoMo.’ We did consider ‘SoBlo’ back then (being that Bloomfield Ave., like Houston St., is a road and the dividing line between two areas), but felt that it might imply something negative or even sexual in nature. Having seen the ‘SoBlo’ shirts, we’re considering coming out with ‘SoMo’ shirts to compete. The battle between the two names could be spirited. Two related guerilla marketing ideas we’re considering: 1) Have our ‘SoMo’ shirts worn by local celebrities, such as Stephen Colbert and Yogi Berra. 2) Start a website called www.SoBlows.com, on which we would Photoshop images of infamous Montclairians wearing the SoBlo shirt. … The only kink in the plan is that the proceeds from the sale of SoBlo shirts are going to two good causes and we wouldn’t want to jeopardize those charitable efforts.”
Readers, we trust you’ll want to weigh in on this one. Do you prefer SoBlo or SoMo? And should the trend continue? Maybe spawn westward, with the area from the Montclair Art Museum to Pompton Ave. rechristened PompMont? What about Blavwat (the stretch of Bloomfield Ave around the Watsessing Station) or even Valupchung (the Valley Rd/Watchung Ave. area of Upper Montclair)? Should southwestern Glen Ridge be known simply as Swidge?