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The New York Times calls South Boston 'SoBo'

Posted by Catherine Cloutier  June 12, 2013 11:37 AM

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In its coverage of the Whitey Bulger trial Wednesday, The New York Times made a misstep: it called South Boston "SoBo."

Here's the offending excerpt from the story:

Though Mr. Bulger’s reign in South Boston ended almost two decades ago — and the gritty Southie of his era has morphed into SoBo and is now overrun with yuppies and glassy condos — people here are still gripped by his story.

The Associated Press offered more context for the term on Monday.

This once blue-collar, Irish-Catholic stronghold is now an ethnic melting pot that has been invaded by young urban professionals, pricey condominiums and upscale coffee shops.

"Southie," as it's been called by generations of natives, is now called "Sobo" by newcomers who live there.

The AP went on to quote a South Boston resident who mourned the transformation of his neighborhood.

"It's not my neighborhood anymore. It's New Yorkish," said Scott Clark, a 47-year-old plumber who is a lifelong resident of South Boston. "It's just not what I'm used to."

Southie's not even named what Clark is "used to," according to the AP and The New York Times.

The trend of abbreviating neighborhood names a la New York is not new. In 2005, the Globe reported on real estate developers' aim to redevelop--and rename--Boston's neighborhoods.

The most successful of these re-christenings may be the SoWa, or south of Washington Street, district of the South End. Under a new name, antique dealers and farmers markets moved into once blighted factories. New name, new outlook.

But developers also set their sights on rebranding East Boston (EaBo) and, god forbid, South Boston (SoBo,) a plan that garnered this choice response on an East Boston blog in 2005.

''What the hell are you smoking?" fumed a reader of Munroe's EaBo site. ''It's called Eastie."

The response to the national media's renaming South Boston elicited similar response on Twitter Wednesday.


Have you ever heard the term "SoBo?" What do you think of the Grey Lady's use of the nickname? Share your responses in the comments.

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