25 August 2008

[Address_Nerd] Another Address Obsessive ... In A New York State Of Mind


(via The New York Times Effect On Man) I knew I wasn't the only person in the world who obsesses on addresses and their meaning and how they lay the way they do. Christopher Gray of the NYT:

EVERYBODY knows the best addresses: Park Avenue and foremost, Fifth Avenue. That's why the developer Jack Heller secured special permission to renumber the old hotel he is converting to condominiums at 2 East 86th Street, 100 feet east of Fifth Avenue, as 1049 Fifth Avenue.

Who would ever consider the sidestreet address more prestigious?

Lots of people, that's who, back to the early 19th century when the idea first arose that cachet was to be found where most people wouldn't look.

"Cachet" ... that certain something that can separate the wheat from the chaff, is inherent in street addresses. Cachet is defined as one finds it ... and though today, a Fifth Avenue address in Manhattan is one so desirable that developers will, as demonstrated above, attempt to bend spacetime in order to make sure they get one.

It's as true here in Portland as anywhere else. Simply say your home address is in Southwest and people tend to assume you live in a cosy, solid, expensive-ish house on a curving, tree-lined street. Northwest tends to connote the yupscale, the artsy. Northeast is kind of a mixed bag, but upper middle-class predominates. Southeast? Blue collar. North? Still a lot of negative baggage with that one.

Your mileage may vary with your own experience there of course.

But Gray's article does demonstrate that tastes and perceptions change but the idea remains the same: addresses can say a lot about the resident thereon.

Anyway, give the article a read. It's a good 'un.

(illustration hotlinked from here)

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