- CRITTER TALK
- NEWS I FIND INTERESTING
For at least a hundred years, the real estate business has defined Florida to what may be a unique degree and that “industry” if I can call it that has had a history of misrepresentation that some might call fraud although some of what might have been swampland proved to be quite profitable to those who hung on to their underwater and snake-infested plots of land now called Delray Beach or Boca Raton. Still, most of the buyers in the 1920s and later were eager to fall for the poetic nomenclature and fake stories about Spanish pirates and treasure and old maps and faux Spanish architecture.
Realtors, as they’re now called have long led the pack in dressing up the merchandise with creative English. They still do it and we still seem to fall for it. I live on the coast, like most Floridians, but I notice that the farther inland you go, the more you’ll find place names including nautical terms: cove, point, bay, etc. There’s a huge retirement living project being built near me called “Canopy Cove” Several miles inland, there are no nearby coves and having been clear-cut, hardly any canopy. Across the highway, there’s “Lost Lake” which is Realtor-speak for “Drained Swamp.”
But these things aren’t my complaint du jour. In today’s mail, I got a flyer for a boat storage and marina business now titled Jupiter Pointe. It is actually on the water, but on a lagoon, not a point, much less a pointe, but realtors and developers are so fond of adding final Es to names in the misguided and delusional attempt to add perceived value and the kind of snobbish panache of middle-class Bentley driving arrivistes from the North lust after.
Cedar Pointe is a shopping mall with no shops but only shoppes. No cedars either of course. Developments like Windsor Parke cater to the newly wealthy flaunters ten miles inland on what used to be the Everglades. It’s quite close to where my parents, who moved there from Windsor in Berkshire and a short walk from the real Windsor Park used to live. I can confirm that while Castle ends in an E, the park adjoining Windsor Castle does not. Only in Boca Raton, the name of which is traced to a manufactured story about old Spanish maps. The Spanish were never there of course, not that you can tell from the styrofoam and stucco architecture that has supplanted most other indigenous styles.
What is it about misguided and non-historical references to Georgian spellings that make people feel good about themselves while buying and selling wetlands and pine forests in the tropics? Are realtors effective in hiding reality when they talk about mobile homes as “mobile Estates” or trailer Parkes? Perhaps they are since it persists decade after decade and the flood of recently retired rubes never lets up. We continue to clear-cut a hundred acres of Slash Pine (one of the last stands anywhere) and call the development “The Oaks” We continue to title the vast acres of new tile-roofed stucco boxes with paint still wet with names including “tradition” or “Legend” as we move further into a stage-set in the wilderness where nothing is what it’s called and very little is what it is.
Florida once had a beauty all its own, with vast areas of wilderness, huge forests of pine, wild and beautiful rivers and even rolling hills and countless lakes, but it’s been subject to the whims of realtors who would rather be selling the South Pacific or the Kentucky Blue Grass country or whatever. Palm trees, acres of grass and concrete and strip malls and pollution. We’ve buried a beautiful and unique environment under sentimental simulacra of somewhere else.