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Bob estates


The people who name residential and retail developments always pick names that sound classy – or at least that they think will sound classy to the rest of us. For instance, if there’s a stream of any kind flowing near the property, they include the term “brook” in the title. And if they really want to be fancy, they spell it “brooke.” They seem to think that the linguistic extravagance of having a useless, silent vowel at the ends of words screams opulence:

“Hey – we know there’s an extraneous ‘e’ there, but dammit, we can afford it.”

If there’s a bridge across the “brooke,” then the namer has two choices. The first is to coin a “bridge” word by pairing it with any descriptive, or other cool-sounding term (e.g., Woodbridge, Westbridge, Longbridge, Cambridge, Bumbridge, etc.). The beauty of “bridge” is that it comes with its own silent, trailing “e,” so it pairs well with the other pretentious words in the name.

Then couple your newly-minted, “bridge” word with another term that purports to describe the nature of the homes being offered for sale, such as “Estates,” “Manor,” or the highfalutin, “Mews.” I can see “Estates” and “Manor” evoking luxury, since both terms refer to pieces of real estate owned by feudal lords – although I doubt any self-respecting lord, feudal or otherwise, would stoop to live in a McMansion on a quarter-acre lot in New Jersey.

But “mews?” In British usage, the word means stables built around a small street, or a street having small apartments converted from such stables, neither of which seem like particularly enviable places to live, unless you’re a horse. On the other hand, it could make for a pleasant-sounding, vaguely evocative name:”Neighbridge Mews.”

The other option for naming a development, including any kind of bridge, is to pick an upscale term for “bridge,” and feature that up front: “The Crossings at _____.” You could even double down on the bridge theme, and construct a name like, “The Crossings at Neighbridge Mews.” Or throw in another extra “e” word for good measure: “The Crossings at Neighbridge Mews Pointe.” Fun, isn’t it?

The same basic rules apply to naming retail areas: “old” becomes “olde,” “center” is “centre,” and “town” becomes “towne.” They’re all pronounced the same as the lower-class versions, but because of the trailing “e,” they’re classier, and just plain better. And of course, if there are any stores in the center of this old town, they’re not “shops,” but “shoppes.”

Here’s the lineup the developers want you to expect, depending on the spelling:

Olde Brooke Towne Centre Shoppes: Tiffany jewelry store, yogalates studio, organic vegan wrap and smoothie bar, a full-menu Starbucks, and hand-crafted, boutique clothing by Zoe, tastefully presented in an exclusive, village-like cluster of gleaming mahogany and glass storefronts. All on the banks of a pristine stream filled with darting minnows, dotted with stepping stones, and spanned by a carved teak footbridge.

Old Brook Town Center Shops: a 1970s vintage strip mall featuring, Pawn It – We Buy Gold, a mani/pedi joint called Nail Me, deli/newsstand, 24-hour laundromat, and a concrete bunker with welded steel cages on the windows and the words, “Check Cashing / Payday Loans,” in five-foot-high letters dominating the entire side wall of the building.

The bail bondsman’s office is just around the corner, downstairs from the Happy Lucky Massage Parlor, and next door to the Amble Inn Bar. All bordered by a weedy trench, filled with sludgy goop sprouting a rusting refrigerator door, old sneakers, and puddles of fluorescent fluid, that in some alternate universe passes for water.

Where would you rather shoppe? Pointe taken.