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Area IV-get It! Cantabrigians Want Neighborhood Name-Change

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It's not just the Financial District in Boston that's aching for a new name. Area IV in Cambridge wants one, too—at least according to one elected official and what she describes as "a majority of the residents."

"Area IV is one of only two neighborhoods in the city of Cambridge that is known by its police district number, as opposed to a formal name," according to a name-change proposal from Cambridge City Councilor Denise Simmons. "Many residents in this neighborhood have long felt that the 'Area IV' moniker has held negative connotations both within the neighborhood itself and throughout the whole of the city."

The name emerged like most things in the People's Republic: through wishful thinking. The city in the early 19th century wanted to build a deep-water port off Kendall Square, according to the Cambridge Historical Society—and per Marc Levy at Cambridge Day. Planning ahead, the neologists started lumping in what is now Area IV with what was Area III to form what became Cambridgeport (got it?). Then, in the 1940s, the city decided to divvy up its domain into 13 districts to expedite planning. Area III became Cambridgeport. Area IV became... Area IV. (Neighborhood 9 is the other one that's eluded rebranding.)

Ever since, residents and their elected leaders have tried to change the name. To what? The deep-water port effort holds etymological sway: People keep bandying about "The Port," the "Old Port," and the "Lower Port."

It's not just the inelegant name (why should one area of the city be called Riverside or Strawberry Hill or even the Anglophilic Mid-Cambridge and this area settle for something straight out of X-Files?). It's that the police-district designation seems to bespeak a grittiness that may be a turn-off to newcomers and a downer to long-timers. The City Council on Monday said it would look at Simmons' name-change proposal. Stay tuned.
· Area IV Residents Want Formal Process to Change Neighborhood's Name [Day]
· Council O.K.'s Gun Buy-Back, Area IV Name Change Process [Day]
· Where in the World Is Strawberry Hill, Cambridge? [Curbed Boston]
· The Little Financial District That (Maybe) Could... [Curbed Boston]