Chronicle Graphic: New Neighborhood Names
From the Chronicle with regard to San Francisco’s neighborhood naming:

Stepping into the fray, the San Francisco Association of Realtors is coming out with a new neighborhood map this summer – replacing stale names with hip ones, adding enclaves and changing boundaries to try to answer one of San Francisco’s most complicated questions: So, where do you live?

No word on who granted the Realtors exclusive naming rights.
Familiar S.F. neighborhoods gain new names [SFGate]

64 thoughts on “A Rose By Any Other Name (But Not Necessarily A Neighborhood)”
  1. Two neighborhood names I’d like to see:
    PoBeCa: polk below california. Much better than the upper loin or whatever real estate geniuses have called it.
    For the area around dolores/market/valencia to 16th: “Safeway Terraces”.
    Are these realtors out of their minds? No one ever bought the nonsense “Yerba Buena arts district”, do they think that issuing a press release will help?

  2. And the area that borders the Tenderloin and Nob Hill should become known as “The Tender Nob”.

  3. Why would anything south of the freeway be in what use to be the financial district. 2nd and South Park should not be part of the Barbary Coast, it is 2 blocks from the Stadium and is part of South Beach!

  4. why do realtors get to chose the names of our neighborhoods?
    seems like an attempt to polish up some turds with name changes.

  5. Little Hollywood? Are you kidding me? I’ll never understand why there are both West Portal and Portola districts, nevermind the fact there is the actual city of Portola just a little ways to the south. Also Bayview Heights is the ultimate in name-washing. You can go as high as you want, but it’s still Bayview.

  6. Little Hollywood has been called Little Hollywood longer then you or I have been alive…its not a new name.

  7. Indeed, why appointed realtors the namers of neighborhoods? In the case of Haight-Ashbury they’ve gotten it all wrong. Haight-Ashbury proper stretches between Masonic and Stanyan. Everyone in the area East of Masonic and North of Buena Vista Park knows the area is really SoPa, complementing NoPa on the North side of the Panhandle.
    If you want the full name it’s Sopa NoBVPa (South of Panhandle North of Buena Vista Park).
    All those dirty street kids and burned out hippies can keep their Haight-Ashbury.

  8. Wasn’t there a Rincon neighborhood at one time? If so, it looks like no more. Subsumed into South Beach and Yerba Buena…

  9. I would still consider Rincon Hill separate from South Beach. I’ve often considered it the area between South Beach and the Financial District.

  10. I’m wondering if anon at 9:21 is new to the city or something…because yes, Little Hollywood has been Little Hollywood forever, Portola is named after a spanish explorer, and West Portal is because it is, in fact, the west portal of the Muni tunnel (east portal is (or was) at Castro and Market).
    Temptest in a teapot, otherwise. Of course districts need names, of course they change (gradually). I don’t begrudge the Realtors (TM) for coming out with a new map from time to time. For the most part this one seems sensible, although you always have to take realtor maps with a fairly large grain of salt.
    Examples: The ever shrinking “Western Addition” with each new area of gentrification (lower pacific heights, alamo square, nopa); the historical reluctance for realtors to embrace “The Castro” (which has been the dominant name for the neighborhood since the 70’s); the addition of “heights” to a name whenever you are 10 feet above sea level.

  11. This is stupid. In my local area, South Park is now part of “Financial District South”, though the nearest office tower is more than two blocks north on the other side of I80. Oh, and there’s no “Financial District”. Rincon Hill has been disappeared (sorry, Jamie). Mission Bay has sent its marshes four blocks northwest, eating up a third of SOMA.
    At least they didn’t slap “East SOMA” on anything.
    link to semi-interactive map:

  12. I like “Safeway Heights” or the “Intermission” for the Church and Market area.
    But yes, neighborhoods change. The names evolve and come in and out of fashion. It is a little unseemly to have it be so based on RealtorTM marketing, but I can live with it.

  13. Indeed, who does own the definition of “neighborhood”?
    A mathematician who pioneered a fractal-based urban-mapping technique is embroiled in a copyright battle that raises legal questions about whether a company can claim ownership of the definition of neighborhoods: their specific locations and boundaries… Wahl [the mathematician] believes neighborhood boundaries are in the public domain. “I don’t know how anyone can say they own it,” Wahl muses.

  14. I wonder if some of the neighborhoods that have expanded in the last decade will shrink back down in the next one. As in buyers implicitly telling sellers “that’s not Noe Valley, that’s the Mission (or Glen Park, etc. etc.)….price it accordingly….”.

  15. curmudgeon, I’m not new, but never knew what the reasoning behind Portola was. I’m aware West Portal is from Muni, that makes sense. It’s just that having two similar names in totally separate parts of the city is a bit confusing.
    Hell, I live in Showplace Square and nobody knows where that is so I just say SOMA. According to the map you linked it’s now Mission Bay anyway.
    As for Little Hollywood, I’ve never heard anyone use that term.

  16. West portal and portola are two completely different neighborhoods. Go visit each and you will see this very clearly.

  17. if one is going to name neighborhoods, shouldn’t the borders be in more distinct block shapes? what’s the reasoning for using odd jagged shapes, as if they are trying hard to include and exclude certain sections.

  18. The Rincon Hill neighborhood is the area east of 2nd Street and between Bryant and Market. If the Realtors Association would ask people who live there before annexing the area into half Yerba Buena and half South Beach, they wouldn’t look like a bunch of [Removed by Editor].

  19. Realtors are commission-based salespeople whose income depends on getting people to spend more on houses than they otherwise would. They also want to make their job of selling houses easier. So if enough people tell them “Financial District? Why would I want to live in a place deserted at night?”, then they will change the name of that area so that their prospects will not dismiss it out of hand.
    So now a realtor can tell their client they are getting a “deal” in Little Hollywood, rather than stupidly buying in the crime-infested Bayview/Hunters Point district.
    And when the news starts reporting “14 gang members were shot and killed in Little Hollywood Today, the 147th such incident in that crime-infested area this month”, they’ll call it something else.
    This is just the Realtors reacting to people telling them they don’t want to even *look* in a particular area because of negative connotations about the name, developed through the years. What is surprising is how bad the reputation of Rincon Hill must be for the Realtors to consider it an “upgrade” to call it SoMa!
    The realtors will chime in and say “No, little hollywood is its own island of tranquility, with only law abiding citizens”, but who cares, this is only so they can sucker the out of towners anyway. I say, let ’em make more money. Business is bad enough as it is!

  20. Tipster, your enthusiasm for your hobby is a sight to behold. We can learn from such single minded dedication.

  21. Winners so far:
    + Polkerloin
    + Upper Safeway
    + Safeway Heights
    I am still promoting PoBeCa and Safeway Terraces as more Realtor style alternatives to these names, but I can live with these other names.
    But in light of the RE downturn, we might also consider rebranding Nob Hill as “Tenderloin heights” or “Upper Polk”, as an appeal to the affordability of their newly, multiply but perhaps insufficiently reduced pricing in this area.

  22. i nominate a new name for pacific heights:
    north of Bush, south of Chest (nut)

    Somehow, I suspect PacAbs would actually catch on.

  23. I think it’s brilliant to name a neighborhood Yerba Buena. Cuz we don’t already have any part of the City named that, do we…

  24. I’m with tipster and Jamie on this–the detail map (not the one at the top of this socketsite article, which BTW grossly overstates the south beach “new” turf) shows that boundaries were selected without any local knowledge or respect.
    It rather looks like each real estate office got its own interests in place, and then lines were drawn halving the remainders. Design by committee. “Yerba Buena”? WTF? Maybe some Yerba Buena Lofts sellers want that, but it’s a nonstarter. Call it the Museum District, or Mosconeville. Or maybe, “SOMA”? Killing off the FiDi and declaring a new one with a big slice of residential and light industrial SOMA attached from the other side of a major highway is idiotic.
    Grafting a third of SOMA onto Mission Bay (perhaps to dilute Mission Bay’s Aeon Flux-inspired office park feel) is just gerrymandering. Redefining SOMA to its least desirable subsection (“the crotch”) is obnoxious. This is just the crap I see near me.
    Oh yeah, and renaming the downtown “Barbary Coast” is ironic genius, though doubtless unintended. The Crimson Permanent Assurance, anyone?
    This map is DOA.

  25. Nice to see realtors come up with ways to spend their spare time these days. Perhaps playing cartographer makes them feel like their helping their own cause.

  26. What is confusing to me about the Portola district being essentially (or adjacent to) Visitacion Valley isn’t that it sounds like “West Portal”; it’s that it’s on the other side of town from Portola Street (which is, of course — coincidentally — fairly close to West Portal). You’d expect, e.g., Forest Hills to be called the Portola District.

  27. I particularly like how a block right on the park, one with, arguably, the second most impressive collection of Victorians besides the Painted Ladies, doesn’t qualify as “Alamo Square”.

  28. Realtors,
    Better jump on the name I just checked and it’s available on register.
    The Brannan, Watermark, Infinity, One Rincon are all in the same district! Throw in Oriental Warehouse, 200 Brannan, 301 Bryant and the Met!!!
    Doesn’t the SFRA have better things to do than switch around names?

  29. “They’re helping their own cause”
    I didn’t realize that appearing shameless and idiotic was a “cause”.
    Do buyers really believe this nonsense? What happens when someone asks for directions for (or tells a taxi driver to take them to) “Yerba Buena”?

  30. I can accept some minor neighborhood boundary changes, but…’Barbary Coast’?! C’mon. No one could possibly use that designator with a straight face, especially when referring to a downtown financial district.

  31. For those willing to open their eyes and minds, check out the City Guides walking tour of Visitacion Valley (one on San Francisco’s oldest neighborhood names) this weekend…and yes, the tour goes through Little Hollywood…
    Tipster, you might learn why it’s called Little Hollywood and see for yourself why Little Hollywood is not in The Bayview..

  32. Barbary Coast is more retro than stupid, but why should it continue to be called the Financial District? Montgomery? Gone. Robberston Stephens? Gone. Bear Stearns? Gone. Lehman? Gone.
    … and the Pacific Stock Exchange? Well, that would be my gym, of course.
    Yep. One hell of a Financial District.

  33. @amused:
    off the top of my head: Schwab, Wells Fargo, Dodge & Cox, BofA (granted, no longer HQ), Transamerica

  34. Speaking of Financial District, why not just sell the naming rights of the neighborhoods? We’ve got a deficit — let’s do something about it!
    Oracle Heights. Petco District. Lower It’s It.

  35. Somebody is jumping on this. was bought today. Wondering what broker bought this???

  36. It’s actually real estate developers who make up neighborhood names (and neighborhoods) when they lay out tracts.
    For a few years, the official Realtor designation for NorthPanhandle was Park North. The neighborhood association complained and it was changed.
    Neighborhoods are fluid, a great example of this has been the re-birth of Hayes Valley after the Freeway came down.
    I didn’t notice a “Lower Haight” neighborhood designation, which surprised me as Vanguard’s home office is there.

  37. “Doesn’t the SFRA have better things to do than switch around names?”
    Well, clearly they’re not selling real estate, and maybe they’ve not yet qualified for federal funds to retrain as barbacks or casino attendants.
    Given the goings on down on Broadway and Columbus, I’d like to propose that we rename telegraph hill “Tittie Terraces”, and the Barbary Coast could then become “Lower titsview”. I’m imagining that this is preferable to names that mention the shootings, unimaginative food or sclerotic neighborhood association members.
    Just sayin’.
    This whole thing of remapping, and renaming San Francisco is delightfully quixotic, and has really made my morning.

  38. I’d guess the new owner of is probably thinking of Miami.
    I’m with curmudgeon:
    “Castro” should be that area’s official name.
    IMO The Castro is by far the most famous neighborhood in San Francisco, even more than Pacific Heights. it was the epicenter of world gay life for eons and is known worldwide. Calling it Eureka valley is silly. Does anybody actually the area around Castro and Market “Eureka valley”? I do rarely hear people further away from Castro/Market call their area Eureka valley, especially if they are straight… but that is very very rare.
    I’m having a hard time reading the interactive map. Is Duboce Triangle officially a neighborhood or not? everybody around there knows where Duboce Triangle is, and I think of it as quite different from its surrounding nabes.

  39. South Beach Towers must have been bought by someone in the city. It was bought today, right after the Chronicle article.
    I wonder did South Beach Real Estate buy it? The broker at SB must be jumping for joy after today’s news. His business model can now reach a bigger segment in the city. Having Rincon Hill lumped in with South Beach is huge.
    I personally like keeping the name Fidi instead of Barbary Coast and want to keep SOMA the same.

  40. so stupid.
    One Rincon is not in Rincon Hill District but in Yerba Buena District.
    Jamie, are you going to rename your blog?

  41. Whoops, looked at the map. Rincon Hill is now part of South Beach. Move the area one block over and the Millennium can be part of South Beach also.
    What’s up with Mission Bay? Hall of Justice on Bryant is now Mission Bay?

  42. Rather than “Safeway Heights,” I’ve heard of what used to be “Upper and Lower Market” referred to as “Upper and Lower Safeway.”

  43. Curmudgeon: Actually, “East Portal” is the tunnel entrance to the Sunset Tunnel in Duboce Park, where the N-line goes underground. The words “East Portal” are even cast into the tunnel entrance, going back to when it was built, I’m sure.
    Yes, it’s a little ironic that “East Portal” and “West Portal” are not portals of the same tunnel. And yes, you could call the Castro/Market tunnel entrance East Portal too if you wanted to, but I’ve never heard it referred to that way (and to my knowledge, it isn’t officially so designated.)

  44. ex-SF-er, just from my travels around the country and world, I would say that the Haight and Nob Hill would be right up there with the Castro as “most famous” neighborhoods in SF, probably the Haight moreso than Nob Hill.
    I wish that Tenderloin Heights would catch on in place of TenderNob. It’s a shame to leave out “loin” from a neighborhood name.

  45. tipster – you just bash realtors even when prior commenters debunked your example? little hollywood is what the residents call it, not the Realtors…. until now.
    pretty funny when those who accuse others of lack of ethics, professionalism, brains, etc. showcase those exact traits
    as for Realtors vs. Realtor Assoc…. I’m a member for access to the MLS only…. we realtors are independent people who hang our licenses with whatever firm will take the least of our commission while providing the best services/support…. and unfortunately, has a brand name because most people think if you’re not at a “professional firm” than you’re not professsional.
    but why bother to enlighten someone who revels in their own bias? one wonders who else you judge without insight

  46. It is good they have broken up SOMA into two neighborhoods. 2nd and Mission is a very different than 6th and Harrison.

  47. I live in the Barbary Coast area and I actually think that thes tuff North of Montgomery/South of Broadway should carry that name but everything else retain the financial district name.
    I just walked around SOMA today. Wow. It is scary. There is drug addicts, homeless people, and everything is very dirty.
    This is not Manhattan, not by a long shot. Carrie Bradshaw will not be sipping wine next door to you, while homeless people throw trash at her.
    She is one place: North of California Street

  48. I just walked around SOMA today. Wow. It is scary. There is drug addicts, homeless people, and everything is very dirty.
    Like I said, 6th Street is very different than 2nd Street. You must have walked down the former.

  49. I just walked around SOMA today. Wow. It is scary. There is drug addicts, homeless people, and everything is very dirty.
    Not to mention the oil slick fouling the shoreline, the sewage backups spilling over the sidewalks, and the rabid rats that come out even in daylight. Awful, awful, awful. Stay away.

  50. It’s about time “Little Hollywood” is recognized. Unlike several of the joke names (Barbary Coast?!), Little Hollywood *is* what people actually call that area.
    Candlestick Point and Bayview Heights are obvious attempts to soften the image of “bad” areas, as is NOPA. (Although “NOPA” doesn’t really offend me all that much.)
    For as ridiculous as that may be, my real beef is with Barbary Coast, South Beach, and Yerba Buena. As soon as I find a sandy beach at the post office, I’ll start calling the area South Beach. Yerba Buena is a park, nothing more. The SOMA name isn’t going away. Sorry Realtors™.

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