Funny Neighborhood Names


Do you have a funny name for your hood? It’s compulsive for me, wordplay, that is. So Kathy (a writer here) has the funniest, and I’ll cop it for a moment:

Lauridio: the neighborhood between- you guessed it- Laurel Heights and the Presidio. I am between Fisherman’s Wharf (fishy wharf) and North Beach (nobe – pronounced “no, B!”). When I first moved to Nobe, I tried to be even more location-specific, and nickname it “Fisherman’s Bharf” a juvenile play on how the tourists from Fishy Wharf end up losing their lunch nearby. But to be honest, absolutely nobody likes that name. Instead I’ve slowly started to call it “North Fishy”. “The Village” – another attempt at the cutesy part of North Beach, that was embraced by nobody so I’ve slowly adopted what other folks call it… Nobe.
Tel-Hi: Didn’t know Telegraph Hill had a name until I saw the banners on the street.
Russian Hill: Can’t… figure… one… out.
Nopa: North Panhandle. Kind of reminds me of Soma, which has been thoroughly embraced by everyone, even the Chron style guide.
Chi-town: Chinatown.
Oak-town: Oakland.
Berkeley Flats: the 4th street area. (from AmyB)
Intermission: Inner mission district, near haight/hayes/mint hill (copped from CliffS)
Minty Hill: That part between hayes and haight, near the New (vs. old) mint (copped from Aaron)
Pot Hill: Potrero. Not embraced by anyone but me. Prove me otherwise! (copped from PSB)
Random anecdote:
Walking around with south bay (soba) brother-in-law, and he keeps asking, “What’s this neighborhood?” my reply: “Pac Heights.” He’s like, no no no, it’s something else. A week later he calls me. “It’s PACIFIC Heights, Anna.”
TenderNob (or NobLoin): that also just got into the Chron last weekend.
Clayket: Upper Castro and Market, “where the magic bus turns” (thanks NancyP)
Underneath the Bay Bridge: “in a box?” haha – thanks tharpo.
What are your funny names for local neighborhoods? You’re not that juvenile?

13 Comments so far

  1. redd (unregistered) on August 25th, 2006 @ 1:50 pm

    My friends and I call the area from Dolores to Sanchez & around the park, the Mastro…. not quite Mission-not quite Castro….

  2. anna (unregistered) on August 25th, 2006 @ 1:55 pm

    That’s is briliant, as it’s a reknown (sp?) BDSM place, right? and you can call me master…

  3. cd (unregistered) on August 25th, 2006 @ 3:49 pm

    I think shortening North Beach is pointless – it’s already just 2 syllables anyway. Takes no longer to say NoBe than North Beach.

    Plus, screw New York. Let them have their SoHo and stick to that. LA and SF don’t need to cute up their neighborhoods.

  4. anna (unregistered) on August 25th, 2006 @ 4:14 pm

    I don’t think of it as “trying to be like NY” but more as an affectionate nickname.

  5. Nancy (unregistered) on August 25th, 2006 @ 4:28 pm

    Guess that puts me in the JapPac.
    Kawaii, des nei? (cute, isn’t it?)

  6. Liz Henry (unregistered) on August 25th, 2006 @ 8:20 pm

    I hate to say it but we sometimes call Redwood City “Deadwood Sh**ty”. Meant to be affectionate! Really!

    Palo Alto (snobby and rich) is simply “Polo Alto”.

  7. psb (unregistered) on August 26th, 2006 @ 1:39 am

    First, I use Intermission for the area “between”
    me and the Mission … so the “Mission Flats”,
    from say Van Ness to Potrero ave.

    Second, Pot Hill is just a written shorthand for
    Potrero Hill. It’s not meant to be a name with a
    distinct flavor. It would be like writing “DPark”.

    I do prefer Upper/Lower Mission to Inner/Outer.
    I think Inner/Outer works for The Sunset and
    The ‘Mond … because we think of them as farther/
    less far from downtown perhaps, but I think the
    Mission is thought of more locally: above/below
    Cesar Chavez/Army.

    Most of those names you mention are pretty well
    known. Tandooriloin is also pretty common now
    and seems more embraced than the controversial
    “Tender Nob”.

    Another one I’ve heard is “The Wine Country”
    for the Mission and 6th area I think … due to
    the brown bag toting locals.

    ok tnx.

  8. Peter Reynolds (unregistered) on August 26th, 2006 @ 3:13 am

    I’ve heard people call the Inner/Outer Sunset Inset/Outset.

  9. anna (unregistered) on August 26th, 2006 @ 11:35 pm

    shallow alto
    mountain spew (or baby spew)
    Some of us called redwood city “rock city”- because it’s so un-rock and roll.
    SJ: the joser, (hose-er) or San Jo. (san ho’). One who lives there is a “joserbilly” (thanks Tom A) aka, hillbilly but from San Jose.
    Sacramento has a great name, and apologies to those who live there… Excramento
    Speaking of scatalogical Bart Simpson humor, housemates and I, when living nearby, called Sanchez street “snatchez” as it was predominantly female-gay neighborhood (this was 90s)

    Did Media Gulch *ever* catch on?

  10. Write Procrastinator (unregistered) on August 27th, 2006 @ 4:58 am

    This always struck me as a case of real estate agents trying to deceive or convince potential clients to buy into a neighborhood that they never would consider in the first place. Or overselling a neighborhood that had flat-lined, price-wise, before the dot-com boom.

    I remember my best friend back in ’87 lamenting about yuppies bragging that they were now living in “lower Pacific Heights,” and my friend would point out to them that anything south of Geary, was “either the Fillmore, or part of the Western Addition.”

    So you want to convince your clients that their house will have a higher resale than the people down the street? Explain to them that their lot is five feet higher than the other neighbors, thus they can add “Terrace” or “Heights” to their street name. Push it long enough and you’ve got yourself a new neighborhood, Bucky.

  11. anna (unregistered) on August 27th, 2006 @ 10:33 pm

    I’m not a realtor. Nor do I play one on TV. I think many times the names we make up are FAR from complimentary too. Nobloin, etc. But I see your point in general. Have you seen the district map that realtors use to store things? I used to be in Castro/Mission/Church street area, and it spanned about four different sections, all with different positive/negative price points. It was impossible to find on any realtor db specifically. They’d call lower potrero the mission, i.e. I think that what you’re pointing out here works on new people to the city- but not us seasoned old dwellers. That’s the price cut we get!

  12. cd (unregistered) on August 28th, 2006 @ 11:21 am

    Even when I lived in the Loin, I never heard “NobLoin” which is far less musical than TenderNob.

    My roommate once heard someone try to call the 9th and Irving area “Irvington” based on a realtor’s spin on a property there. I think that sounds far less attractive than Inner Sunset which is very SF-yoga-love-yourself-rah-rah.

  13. Colin (unregistered) on August 28th, 2006 @ 11:42 am

    Polk St between Polk Gultch and Russian Hill is my “NeitherHood”.,…

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