I suspect that many of us have been told by a relative, there’s only one of you.

Peter Coy, a sharp writer for Businessweek who covers the economy and the housing market and contributes regularly to their Hot Property blog posted Peter Coy, Reporter, Interviews Pete Coy, Real Estate Agent about his namesakes and how he keeps in touch with them. He says:

sharing a name with someone is an odd but very real bond.

One of Peter’s namesakes happens to be in a related field which makes it even more interesting.

I have had a similar experience with a few of my namesakes in New York and have thrown in a few more that have come up in conversation. I know my last name is very common but I was quite sure I was one of the few “Jonathan Millers”, until I moved to Manhattan in the mid-1980’s.

  • I would get compliments about the annual presentation of my market report “Emerging Trends” for a commercial real estate company at the Waldorf-Astoria. One day, on a whim, I guessed my namesake’s email address and sent him a note. He replied and said he gets periodic requests for copies of my market reports (So that makes me his namesake, I guess). We ended up meeting for breakfast and had a lot in common. He has since moved to a different firm but still does a well-regarded national commercial report.

  • I would periodically get mail meant for an active commercial and investment real estate broker named, you guessed it: “Jonathan Miller.” While we have never met, we have spoken on the phone.

  • I was standing in Columbus Circle many years ago and a cameraman from a local tv news station came up to me and asked if I was John Miller, the reporter (well, I know John is not Jonathan but its close). He went on to ABC and then the counter terrorism bureau of LAPD.

  • I frequently get comments from clients that are older than me that refer to me as the Renaissance Man, or the “other” Jonathan Miller [wikipedia]. I have never met him and don’t claim to have his energy.

  • There is an active beat reporter for the New York Times named, you guessed it: “Jonathan Miller.” I have never met or spoken to him but I like the way he writes.

  • One of my favorite stories was when I was sitting at home watching tv with my kids about 4 years ago and got a late night phone call from a CNN reporter, asking how I felt about being the new head of America Online and did I have any comments. I recalled saying that I had plenty of comments about AOL but they had the wrong Jonathan Miller (must have scanned a lot of phone books to find me.)

There are actually several more, but whats the point? I am not really sure, but for such a large metropolitan city where individuals can live anonymously if they choose, I sure keep bumping into my namesakes. I guess thats what so cool about New York, however, I’d still like to think there is only one of me. 😉

Ok, back to business.

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