the harlem of the north? you wish.

I happened to notice this local headline this morning: "Don't call it 'Scarlem' - Scarborough councillors to debate today if area gets fair shake from city".

Scarborough is the east end of Toronto, once a separate town, now incorporated into the city. It has a bad reputation, although there are certainly nice areas in it. Trontonians like to call it "Scarberia," pronounced in withering tones of disdain.

Now, as a New Yorker, I'm all for withering disdain. But is this headline supposed to be a reference to Harlem? The article says: ". . . an invitation to Toronto Life magazine representatives to discuss an article portraying the former city as a bleak, gang-infested "Scarlem.""

Bleak, gang-infested? Harlem??

Scarborough wishes it was as vibrant, happening and desirable a place to live as Harlem! People all over the GTA would be flocking there to buy expensive homes on historic, tree-lined streets, eat at hip restaurants, go to jazz clubs and shop at boutiques.

If Trontonians are ragging on a place by comparing it to Harlem, they need to have their cool meters checked stat. They need to get on a plane to New York and go uptown. There are some bleak, gang-infested areas in New York City, but Harlem hasn't been one of them in, what, 40 years?

Am I reading this wrong? Because I'm ready to explode over here. Time to write a letter.

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