Friday, March 09, 2007

"East Bethesda"

I noticed that all the checkout aisles at the Whole Foods in Silver Spring now stock Bethesda Magazine, because obviously everyone who lives in Silver Spring (or at least those who shop at WF) must have Bethesda envy.

The magazine describes itself as “a magazine written for and about people who live in the southern Montgomery County towns of Bethesda, Cabin John, Chevy Chase, Glenn Echo (sic), Kensington, Potomac, Rockville and Silver Spring.” So what if Bethesda is much smaller than Silver Spring? Bethesda is clearly what all other SoMoCo areas aspire to be, so they get the title treatment…

Well, at least parts of Silver Spring haven't stooped to the level of Rockville, where developers claim their condos are in "Bethesda", when no reasonable person with any familiarity with county geography would consider this to be the case. In general, I feel like there is some sort of stigma associated with Rockville addresses. Most of what I consider Rockville is now referred to as some directional variation of Potomac or Bethesda (and even Kensington).

Of course, if you enter Midtown Bethesda North's "Bethesda" mailing address into Google Maps, the city reverts back to Rockville. Who do they think they're fooling? Recent transplants who don't know the area but heard that Bethesda is "nice"?

Like I've said before, we could get our property values increased if we just started calling Silver Spring "East Chevy Chase" or "East Bethesda". Then Wheaton could follow suit and call itself "Northeast Bethesda". We might even get a good bagel place out of it.

At the current rate, in 20 years the entire state of Maryland will be comprised of cities with "Bethesda" or "Potomac" somewhere in their name.


jen said...

great idea! it's funny that you mention this now -- the other day when my friend (who lives in hyattsville) and i were going to an address in "north potomac" (i.e. gaithersburg) we were joking how much her property values would go up if they started calling hyattsville "east takoma park."

Anonymous said...

Pretending that everywhere is Bethesda or Potomac is just another extension of our designer label-obsessed culture.

I remember seeing an ad for condos off Rockville Pike near Congressional said "Experience the best of Bethesda, Downtown D.C. and Rockville!" (in that order).

I also saw a condo ad with a cartoon couple clinking martini glasses with an urban skyscaper background....if you read the fine print, the condos were in Germantown.

Also, if youre looking for a condo in PG County, good luck finding the location in the ad. It's always just "Convenient to Downtown!"

Anonymous said...

A more truthful re-naming of Wheaton would be New Salvador.

media concepts said...

Even though I'm the "Tour de Montgomery" guy and we have disagreed before, I have to agree with you on this one. When I told my real estate agents to look for homes for me in "Bethesda," I found out that, in the real estate world, "Bethesda" extends practically all the way to the PA border! Nice post.

Anonymous said...

If you've ever noticed, in the real estate ads there IS no Wheaton. There are always like two listings for "Wheaton" and zillions for Silver Spring or Kensington (or conceivably northeast Bethesda). Thanks for the comments on Bethesda magazine. I'm always quite annoyed to see it displayed so prominently in Silver Spring stores. If they want us as an audience they could come up with a different name and focus.

Twoste said...

Screw them.
The same thing happens in London all the time -- neighborhood rebranding.
Let's form an angry mob and go burn down Bethesda, which coincidentally has more PhDs per square foot than any other city in America.
Also, the Bageler at 36 Vital Way is amazing. No more Einstein for me!

Pat said...

"In general, I feel like there is some sort of stigma associated with Rockville addresses."

Obviously because of that REM song :)

But then... ever since Tower Records closed, I really don't go back to Rockville.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't just happen in London or Bethesda...and it isn't a product of our current culture. This has been going on in the real estate business since the Vikings came up with "Greenland".

My favorite housing advertising BS is the expression "nestled in the heart of". Sorry, but Pooks Hill Road is not nestled in the heart of Bethesda, but in a boring 60's era neighborhood of Brady Bunch houses.

Remembers Travilah said...

The earliest obvious example I can remember of this was the "Travilah" area around south Gaithersburg and west Rockville renaming itself "North Potomac".
The Travilah name was associated with a landfill, much like Lorton (I'm surprised that hasn't been renamed) in Fairfax is associated with the former prison.

I think the Travilah change was in the late 1980s? But I'd bet "rebranding" of MoCo areas has been going on for longer than that.

Bu said...

I love this post! You've articulated what i've felt for the past few years. Seeing Bethesda Magazine on the Whole Food (on Ellsworth) check-out shelves makes me cringe. SS is not Bethesda, and we aren't trying to be Bethesda 2. As another commented, Bethesda is very homogenous in its race demographics. SS is unique in that it's a mixing bowl of people with different backgrounds, education, income, and nationalities -- you can't find this in Bethesda.

Net0maN said...

this is funny. i live in college park and i'll call it far east bethesda.

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