NOTE: This post has been updated from an earlier version to clarify how the Newbold name came about.
Call it an identity crisis, maybe.
We told you a couple weeks back that the Dickinson Narrows civic was now going by Dickinson Square West. Now, Newbold Neighbors Association is exploring changing its name too.
The name Newbold only began about 10 years ago, when developer and South Philly Tap Room owner John Longacre bequeathed it onto the area from Tasker to Wolf, 18th to Broad. He cooperated with community leaders in Point Breeze to create the Newbold Civic Association. Then newcomers north of that adopted the name when they created the Newbold Neighbors Association, and a battle over the name has been brewing ever since. Now, the NNA is trying to distance itself from it.
At their next general meeting Feb. 26, the NNA will be considering two fresh titles (although there is always the chance that the name may remain the same): East Point Breeze Neighborhood Association and Point Breeze East Neighborhood Association.
NNA president Andrew Marx said the change was prompted partly by feedback from community members. If the group was leading a clean-up in an area, for instance, they would encounter some resistance, and suspected the N-word had something to do with it. “We’re not trying to call it Newbold,” he said. Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, who has been openly vocal in his opposition to the Newbold name, had also asked the community organization to make amends.
Marx said the update is also a way for the NNA to distinguish itself from its neighbor to south the Newbold Civic Association. Making it more confusing, though, is that the boundaries for both groups partially overlap and both are Registered Community Organizations. NCA runs from Tasker to Wolf, Broad to 18th and NNA from Washington to Passyunk, Broad to 18th.
Despite attempts to erase traces of Newbold from that corner of South Philly, the name will be hard to unstick. Google Maps shows it as a neighborhood and plenty of newcomers toss it around.
So, what’s in a name? Does the name really matter?