This is one of the things I love about cities like New York. We don’t have this happening in a more sleepy town like St. Louis. Chelsea and West Village residents (British and American alike), Tea & Sympathy (a restaurant) and Virgin Atlantic (of the one and same Virign Records–think Spice Girls) have mounted a petition to Mayor Bloomberg, “Bloomy” as his affectionately referred to on the site, Campaign for Little Britain, to officially sanction a “Little Britain” in Manhattan If There’s a Harlem, Spanish Harlem, Little Italy, Chinatown, etc., why can’t there be a Little Britain?
The website justifies just so:
Officially recognizing cultural communities throughout the boroughs has been a constant in New York City for decades, with Manhattan now boasting such neighborhoods as Little Italy, Chinatown, Spanish Harlem, Little Brazil, and Koreatown. But despite the number of British residents in New York City, and the large number of travelers between here and the United Kingdom, there is no Little Britain.
Tea & Sympathy, located on Greenwich Avenue between 12th and 13th Streets, is located at the heart of Little Britain. The owners, Nicky Perry and Sean Kavanagh-Dowsett, have dedicated the past fifteen years to creating a British community on Greenwich Avenue. Thirty million cups of tea, several thousand tons of chips served at A Salt & Battery next door, and seventeen Tea & Sympathy staff marriages later, we think it’s time to put Little Britain on the map of New York.
The couple is joined by Virgin Atlantic Airways, which flies over half a million people between New York City and the UK each year. New York is important to the history of the airline, which launched its inaugural flight in 1984 from London to New York, and has carried over 13 million travelers between the two cities since.
And it’s not just for the fun of it!
By making the neighborhood more attractive to the British and Anglophiles alike, they have a led a recent surge in financial development by British residents who have invested millions of dollars in to the area. By officially declaring the neighborhood “Little Britain,” the city will reap the benefits of a continuing trend.
Additionally a landmark name like Little Britain will lessen the confusion between Greenwich Street and Greenwich Avenue; the 6th Street Precinct can verify that all too often they have to redirect people, including the emergency services who find themselves on the wrong ‘Greenwich’.
I think I’ll be signing this petition. A trip to NYC in the future will definitely include a Little Britain on the itenary.
Do look at the humourous video with Ray Gardner making the case for “Little Britain.”