Another weird fact about my childhood

So a little while back, the building I grew up in, good old 250 West 94th Street--changed its name to The Stanton, in honor of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who had lived at the house which was torn down to build the current apartment building. My parents had moved out by then, so my family bears no responsibility for this piece of aspirational theater. But I hadn't realized it was such a controversy--such a very funny controversy:


“To me, in my bones, ‘The Stanton’ sounds wrong,” Immy Humes said. “It’s invisible! She was bad, she was radical, she was ornery—no compromise. So when they want to make everything nice and tidy, it seems against her spirit.”

Leina Schiffrin, who lives on the sixteenth floor, sides with Humes. “I think ‘Cady Stanton’ would be all right, but ‘The Stanton’ is ridiculous and pretentious,” Schiffrin said. Plus, she said, “one neighbor discovered that there’s a halfway house called The Stanton.” (The Stanton House, at Stanton and Attorney Streets, which is run by the Educational Alliance, is for “mentally ill chemical abusers.” There is no awning.)

The ballot offered only two choices—“Stanton” or “250”—but, Marty Katz said, “we had lots of write-ins.” Someone suggested “The Mailer,” in honor of Norman Mailer, who lived in the building and, in 1960, stabbed his wife there. Someone else suggested “The Oppenheimer,” as in J. Robert Oppenheimer, “the father of the atomic bomb,” who was born in a house on the site in 1903. A third tenant suggested “The Land,” after the former resident Edwin H. Land, the inventor of the Polaroid camera.