Great Moments in Greenpoint Real Estate Rhetoric

January 8, 2008 by
Filed under: Area 51, Greenpoint Magic 

Some of you may not be know it, but a brave new concept in real estate is being explored at 231 Norman Avenue. The development in question is called the Greenpoint Lofts and their shtick is selling condominiums for commercial use. I have walked by this complex a number of times and aside from the annex in the back looking like a Motel 6 it struck me as decent quality work.

Perhaps their attention to construction will explain the lack of advertising savvy for this facility? I say this because I found the below advert for their “business ready condos” on Manhattan Avenue today and something immediately struck me as being amiss.

Greenpoint lofts

Now I do not know much about the German language, but then again I do not really need to. My issue with this ad is very simple: why is a(n incorrect) piece German punctuation being utilized in an advertisement for a development in “Little Poland”? While scarcely an old timer, I have lived in this neighborhood long enough to learn a few things about the local Polish population. They are as follows:

  1. They are very proud to be Polish. Rightfully so.
  2. Many of the older residents are not too keen on Germans (or Russians for that matter). Although I have never bothered to ask why, I suspect World War II informs this distaste.

I am certain the team of wizards who came up with this logo thought nothing about the linguistic ramifications of this jaunty piece of punctuation and quite frankly I wouldn’t expect them to. If such folk were interested in the vagaries of history, pogroms and poverty, they would have majored in them. This also explains why using the slogan “Make It Yours” did not strike them as being the least bit ironic: Adolf Hitler once made Poland his.

Miss Heather


6 Comments on Great Moments in Greenpoint Real Estate Rhetoric

  1. rheingold on Tue, 8th Jan 2008 4:57 pm
  2. Or maybe the developers are Motley Crue fans.

  3. missheather on Tue, 8th Jan 2008 5:00 pm
  4. Don’t forget Motorhead. Lemmy would kick Vince Neil’s ass. And then some.

  5. 718forsale on Tue, 8th Jan 2008 6:30 pm
  6. It’s just like Hageendazs – a made up word made to sound more original and perhaps more authentic, while it’s anything but authentic. I probably would take an offense to it, as nothing amuses me anyone in this city, and don’t see much of a link with Nazism. Greenpoint has had in a past Germans, and Dutch residents – supposedly before Polish immigrants made it their home. But you’re right about the Poles – we’re proud and we’ll make sure that ad is prompty removed – just kidding…


  7. missheather on Tue, 8th Jan 2008 7:00 pm
  8. Greenpoint was initially settled under the Dutch by one “Dirck the Norman” (the namesake of Norman Avenue). His fellow setters were walloons.

    You have given me several excellent ideas, “718forsale”:

    1. A post about “Dirck the Norman”
    2. More immigration stories. Most people don’t realize that there was once a very large German Jewish population here. The C-Town on Manhattan Avenue sits atop the site of one of their Synagogues.
    3. An exploration into the namesakes of the Pulaski and Kosciusko bridges.

    Polish, Lithuanian, French, Welsh (and God only knows what else) ‘n Proud.

  9. rheingold on Tue, 8th Jan 2008 10:53 pm
  10. Come to think of it, the wino who used to hang around the Greenpoint Avenue subway station was a dead ringer for Lemmy. His jibber-jabber, however, was even more indecipherable than the esteemed Mr. Kilmister.

    When researching Kosciusko and his bridge, you might investigate the curious back-in-the-day custom of non-Greenpointers pronouncing the name of the Polish hero “koz-ee-AHZ-ko.” It was only upon moving to Western Massachusetts, dripping in Polish pride, that I learned this mispronunciation is a hangin’ offense.

    We also called it the “Smelly Bridge”-believe it or not the Newtown Creek was even more unctuous back then (our ’64 Chevy was, of course, sans air-conditioning.)

    Also, I just returned from a New Year visit to Greenpoint’s doppleganger, the Detroit neighrborhood of Hamtramck. They have a four-story high (I kid you not-I have photos) statue of Pope John Paul II. Beat that!

  11. naraelle on Wed, 9th Jan 2008 9:18 am
  12. As a first-time poster, I want to first say that I am a huge fan of your blog, Miss Heather! I am a relative newcomer to Greenpoint, and you have introduced me to so many wonderful (and poopy) aspects of the neighborhood that I otherwise would have missed …

    Secondly, I wanted to say that the “umlaut” you speak of is actually a “trema” or diacritic mark. The “e” in German can’t take an umlaut. According to this wikipedia article, Dutch, Spanish, French and even English use the trema … what this says about the ridiculous condo developers, I do not know. Are they trying to look European?

    Thirdly, I am very jealous of the four-story Pope statue in Detroit. I think Greenpoint needs to step up to the plate here.

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