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Brooklyn History Neighborhoods

No sheep in Sheepshead Bay, but lots of fish with human teeth

The sheepshead is a common variety marine fish known for its distinctive black stripes and a very scary looking set of teeth.  If you look too long at it, you will have nightmares tonight.  Some believe the fish’s unusual name comes from the notion that its teeth actually look like those of adult sheep.  I […]

Run DMC and the Revolution: Historic Hollis, Queens

I’m putting together a special edition solo podcast to be released tomorrow morning, featuring a very timely subject. In the meantime, here’s a reprint of an article originally posted April 3, 2009, on one of the places that will be mentioned in the show. It’s like that: Rap pioneers and proud sons of Queens NAME […]

South Bronx and the days of new American aristocracy

What you think about when you think about the South Bronx: the Morrisania estate built by Gouverneur Morris. (NYPL) NAME THAT NEIGHBORHOOD Some New York neighborhoods are simply named for their location on a map (East Village, Midtown). Others are given prefabricated designations (SoHo, DUMBO). But a few retain names that link them intimately with […]

The original Farmville; or putting the ‘green’ in Greenpoint

Frozen farm: The Eagle Street Rooftop Farm waits out the weather for a better day. (Courtesy Scott Nyerges) NAME THAT NEIGHBORHOOD Some New York neighborhoods are simply named for their location on a map (East Village, Midtown). Others are given prefabricated designations (SoHo, DUMBO). But a few retain names that link them intimately with their […]

Polish heroes, unliked dams and peculiar misspellings: Origins of ten New York City bridge names

The newly built High Bridge over the Harlem River, as it looked in 1849. (NYPL) Here’s a handy primer to ten of the most strangely named bridges in the New York City metropolitan area. Most of these names are probably familiar to you, and you probably pass over many of these bridges without giving a […]

City of Cities: Nine neighborhoods with ambitious names

ABOVE Co-op City: the housing development most likely to be seen from space NAME THAT NEIGHBORHOOD Some New York neighborhoods are simply named for their location on a map (East Village, Midtown). Others are given prefabricated designations (SoHo, DUMBO). But a few retain names that link them intimately with their pasts. Other entries in this […]

Greenwich Village, when it was green and a village

Above: Macdougal Alley in 1936. The plantation home of New Amsterdam director-general Wouter van Twiller would have been situated very close to where this picture was taken. (Find the alley here.) NAME THAT NEIGHBORHOOD Some New York neighborhoods are simply named for their location on a map (East Village, Midtown). Others are given prefabricated designations […]

Run DMC and the Revolution: Historic Hollis, Queens

It’s like that: Rap pioneers and proud sons of Queens NAME THAT NEIGHBORHOOD Some New York neighborhoods are simply named for their location on a map (East Village, Midtown). Others are given prefabricated designations (SoHo, DUMBO). But a few retain names that link them intimately with their pasts. Other entries in this series can be […]

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Name that Neighborhood: what exactly is a Throgs Neck?

Some New York neighborhoods are simply named for their location on a map (East Village, Midtown). Others are given prefabricated designations (SoHo, DUMBO). But a few retain names that link them intimately with their pasts. Other entries in this series can be found here. What is a Throgs Neck? And why isn’t it a Throggs […]

Name That Neighborhood: TriBeCa not so triangular

Some New York neighborhoods are simply named for their location on a map (East Village, Midtown). Others are given prefabricated real-estate designations (SoHo, DUMBO). But a few retain names that link them intimately with their pasts. Other entries in this series can be found here. For all the New York City neighborhoods with wonderful old […]

Name That Neighborhood: Wall Street Blues

A simplistic but colorful view of “Man Mados” or “New Amsterdam” in 1664 (click in to inspect the detail) One of the first facts you learn as a student of New York City history is that Wall Street, that canyon of tall buildings and center of the American financial world, is named for an actual […]

Name That Neighborhood: Why is Jamaica in Queens?

Some New York neighborhoods are simply named for their location on a map (East Village, Midtown). Others are given prefabricated designations (SoHo, DUMBO). But a few retain names that link them intimately with their pasts. Other entries in this series can be found here. I have a friend of Jamaican descent that lives in Jamaica, […]

Name That Neighborhood: Who is Jonas Bronck?

Some New York neighborhoods are simply named for their location on a map (East Village, Midtown). Others are given prefabricated designations (SoHo, Dumbo). But a few retain names that link them intimately with their pasts. Other entries in this series can be found here. The Bronx is one of two boroughs with names derived from […]

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Name That Neighborhood: Fort Greene

Some New York neighborhoods are simply named for their location on a map (East Village, Midtown). Others are given prefabricated designations (Soho, Dumbo). But a few retain names that link them intimately with their pasts. Other entries in this series can be found here. The Brooklyn neighborhood of Fort Greene gathers some of the borough’s […]

Name That Neighborhood: Murray Hill

Some New York neighborhoods are simply named for their location on a map (East Village, Midtown). Others are given prefabricated designations (SoHo, DUMBO). But a few retain names that link them intimately with their pasts. Murray Hill is one of Manhattan’s quieter neighborhoods, extending on the east side from 42nd street to 34th street — […]