Here Comes the Neighborhood
What comes first, the urban renewal or the catchy name? Once upon a time in Manhattan, TriBeCa was just the triangle below Canal Street and NoLita was just part of Little Italy. Now both are high-rent enclaves of yupsters and families, neighborhoods where shopping and restaurants have invaded to create new communities while keeping the best of the old heritage.
Other neighborhoods have looked to the magic of the moniker —SoBro instead of South Bronx, SpaHa for Spanish Harlem—and now a Houston 'hood, the area east of 59 and downtown, is giving itself a new name to match its new spirit and identity. Forget calling it the old Chinatown or the Third Ward. The new name? EaDo, short for East of Downtown.
As the Houston Chronicle reports, the area was once the city's thriving Chinatown, before cheaper rents on the drew the Asian community in large part to the west side of town. While remnants of this former identity remain, particularly in the form of Chinese restaurants and architecture, the area has drawn live music venues, cutting-edge galleries, and performing arts companies (like Suchu Dance) looking for cheap rents and short commutes. And now developers have started to mix townhomes (1,600 of them since 2002) in amongst the traditional shotgun homes, as happened in Rice Military along Washington Avenue the past few years and Fifth Ward/Midtown before that.