The NYT appears to have introduced a bizarre style change in its Real Estate section: it now uses the British expression "flat" to describe apartments.
Is this a jolly good idea, or some numpty's idea of a joke?
Or maybe it's all part of the NYT's fevered competition with a certain wrinkly Australian bloke who owns a British media outlet or two.
From a photo caption on page 4:
Rodrigo Garcia, a hospital administrator, rents a flat in a town house on a block acclaimed for its architecture.
From a caption on page 8:
Jordan Cooper is a founder of JumpPost, a new Web site that gives subscribers a heads-up about flats that will soon be available.
From a caption on page 9:
A flat on East 74th was smaller than the old one, but just as pricey.
Dictionaries -- American ones, that is -- refer to the real-estate usage of "flat" as "chiefly British," if they refer to it at all.
It appears that the usage of "flat" in the real-estate section began just last month -- during the last fortnight, to be exact.
It popped up a couple of times in Joyce Cohen's column, "The Hunt," in reference to a "ground-floor flat" and a "railroad flat." A May 23 headline reported that "Jessica Hecht Buys Flat In Landmark Building."
Yesterday appears to mark the first time the word "flat" (for apartment) crept into standard usage at the NYT, which tends to avoid British slang in print. But you know how it is with pretentious wankers, sometimes they can't help themselves!