ASTORIA, Queens — The concept of rebranding neighborhoods is nothing new, but typically it is done by real estate developers and agents to re-introduce certain parts of the city.
In this case, it's New Yorkers who want a slice of Astoria to get some new attention, so how does "Westoria" sound to you?
"It all started from an Instagram hashtag mistake. I was promoting West Astoria, Astoria and by accident I typed Westoria," explained Natassa Contini, owner of Chateau Le Woof in Astoria.
Contini said she stuck with the hashtag error and it took off. Eventually, customers and other local business owners began using #Westoria.
"We're not petitioning to change the name," explained Brian Martinez, owner of Fresco's Cantina. "[We're] not calling it the piano district like they're trying to rezone in a part of the Bronx where I'm originally from."
So where is Westoria exactly? Locals say it runs west of 21st street between Astoria Park and Broadway.
Contini, originally from the East Village, and Martinez, born and raised in the boogie down Bronx, said they understand the mixed reviews and even understand the desire many New Yorkers have to keep neighborhoods authentic. But they believe the Westoria name is a simple way to bring attention to an otherwise ignored part of Queens.
"All I want people to know [is] that it's something that we built," said Contini. "People who live here, work here, have small businesses here - it's something for us in the community and nothing else."