February 25, 2024

A Name for a Contractor, a Meatball Distributor, Perchance a Mall

No longer will the white whale of a mall be known as Xanadu Meadowlands, which presumably took its first name from Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan,” or the ancient city in Inner Mongolia, or the 1980 belly-flop of a film starring Olivia Newton-John. Now it is to be American Dream@Meadowlands, a name that arguably manages to be at once patriotic and nondescript.

With its rechristening, the complex not only sheds what has become the Ishtar of mall names, but it also joins at least 107 New Jersey businesses named “American Dream,” or some variation of that, according to state corporate records. Indeed, the Garden State is teeming with American Dream companies of all stripes and may rightly claim some proprietorship of the term, which appears in the first line of the state’s unofficial anthem, “Born to Run.” (The first line of the song “Xanadu” is “A place where nobody dared to go.”)

New Jersey is home to American Dream custom cycle, limousine and food shops; several American Dream homebuilders and real estate outfits; and, coming full circle, at least one American Dream foreclosure specialist. There are American Dream travel agents, green card services and houseware shops, and a limited liability corporation called American Dreamz, which may or may not be named after the Hugh Grant movie from 2006.

Few of the state’s American Dream proprietors said they felt threatened by sharing a name with the behemoth mall.

“I chose the name American Dream because I came to the U.S. from Portugal with one dream — to get a better life,” said Ivan Diogo, 28, a subcontractor who started his business, American Dream Mechanical Contractors, one year ago. The anemic economy forced Mr. Diogo to shutter a small storefront and send his two employees home, so his realization of the American dream, he said, is “halfway true.”

Several American Dream proprietors said their choice of the name was defiantly optimistic.

Mark A. Faccone and a business partner used the name for their wealth management firm in affluent Brick after being told it was folly to strike out on their own. “We both worked for another firm, and it seemed like we were both drones,” Mr. Faccone said.

Vincent Brian Savarese, 53, joined other partners to open American Dream Realty in Carneys Point two months ago, after the real estate office he worked at with his father, Enzo, an Italian immigrant, closed because of a drop in business. “Now more than any time that I can think of, home ownership is a tricky thing,” Mr. Savarese said, “but it’s still the American dream.”

Not that the name American Dream guarantees success or necessarily brings with it joy. “Oh great,” deadpanned Paul Frank, 67, a home inspector from Clinton, after learning about the new name of the mall.

Mr. Frank, who owns the American Dream home inspection company, said he had at one time been barraged with phone calls because of a program for first-time home buyers called American Dream, and so he had to get rid of his 800 number.

While his business has suffered of late, with his home inspections going to 18 a year from 250, he has no plans to change its name. “That’s how people know me,” Mr. Frank said.

One businessman who brightened at Xanadu’s new name is John Wollerman, owner of the New American Dream Corporation in Lodi. It sells Tuscan olive oil, ravioli and meatballs made by Johnny DeCarlo, his son, to restaurants and supermarkets.

Mr. DeCarlo, the professed “meatball king of New Jersey,” also runs meatball carts and is hoping to open a meatball kiosk at the mall. Maybe a case of mistaken identity, Mr. Wollerman said, would help his son’s venture along.

“If people are calling me thinking I’m the mall, great,” Mr. Wollerman said. “Everything opens up a door.”

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=b936b3c5026bd485aaa66f916c4fb6b5