UPPER MANHATTAN, NY – Harlem’s Community Board 9 will host a public discussion Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. on whether the Hamilton Heights, Washington Heights and Inwood neighborhoods should be renamed Quisqueya Heights.
The Registration Form for virtual discussion has a yes or no question as to whether you support the name change.
The name change resolution was presented to Congress by Representative Adriano Espaillat earlier in 2021 alongside two representatives from Texas.
As of October 2021, the resolution has only been presented to the House and has no timeline for its approval and subsequent actions.
“What motivated us to have this public discussion is that we have received an unprecedented number of inquiries and expressions of concern at the community council,” Barry Weinberg, chair of Community Council 9, told Patch.
Wednesday night’s discussion won’t be the first time the Harlem Community Board has discussed neighborhood name changes.
“People have very strong feelings about the names of the neighborhood where they live,” Weinberg said. “I think a lot of people were surprised to hear this because it wasn’t like they had signed a petition calling for it, or attended meetings, it kind of popped up.”
Previously, in response to real estate branding that attempted to start using the acronym SoHa for a section of Harlem, Community Board 9 passed a 2017 resolution supporting the Neighborhood Integrity Act.
The law prohibits renaming of neighborhoods without due process on the part of the city which includes, among many other elements, the contribution of the community.
While the Espaillat resolution mentions the Hamilton Heights of Harlem among the possible name changes, the majority of the renamed area would be above West 155th Street.
After Patch published the first name change story in July, the Washington Heights and Inwood Facebook community groups discussed the issue in threads that spanned much longer than general back-and-forths.
Quisqueya is one of the Taino language names for the island which is now Haiti and the Dominican Republic. It is also the name of a municipality in the Dominican Republic.
The resolution says the name change will make the region a “cultural center for American Dominicans across the country.”