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Houston Street the Mason-Dixon in Downtown War of Words!

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Noho has a problem: It's not Soho. Sure, the blocks north of Houston Street have dining, shopping and pricey real estate comparable to their neighbors, but Noho is lacking in one key category: international brand recognition. So, the Wall Street Journal reports, neighborhood big shots recently gathered in the office of advertising firm Iris Worldwide to kick around some ideas on how Noho can attract visitors and businesses that would normally only open up their wallets in Soho. This is war:

One idea, said Zeyd Rahman, a new-business director for Iris, is to aim straight at SoHo and sell NoHo as "what SoHo used to be." The notion would be to push NoHo as "the last bastion of the real downtown N.Y.C.," Mr. Rahman said. "We're sort of calling them [SoHo] out for the fakes that they are." Strong words! For a Soho rebuttal, the WSJ turned to neighborhood activist and man of a million fiery press releases, Sean Sweeney. Said Sweeney of Noho's actions, "It's like the ugly stepsister of SoHo thinking that advertising is going to make it more attractive to Prince Charming." It's game on, people, and no trendy boutique is safe.
· No SoHo for NoHo In Image Makeover [WSJ; subscription req'd]