Is it to remove the offensive word "lower"?
"ALLAN RICHMAN on New York's Lower East Side" announces the September 2004 Bon Appetit, the "Where to Eat Now" issue. From page 97, col. 3:
"Don't call it the Lower East Side," she chided.
"It's L-E-S," she said, spelling out the letters.
I stood corrected.
"So when are we going to Les?" I asked, pronouncing it like a man's given name.
"It's not Les!" she said, exasperated. "That sounds like Lester. I do not live in a place called Lester."