A look at Brooklyn’s unusual neighborhood names

And why East New York was almost its own city

New York /
Dec.December 28, 2014 10:41 AM

Many of the names of Brooklyn’s neighborhoods are steeped in history. Others are more modern appellations meant to speed gentrification. Here’s a look at a few fascinating Brooklyn neighborhood origin stories via Metafloss.

Bay Ridge

When Dutch settlers landed in this area, they called it “Yellow Hook” for its yellow clay soil along the water. But in 1853 a yellow fever epidemic broke out and the name took on a whole new meaning. Citizens then changed the name to Bay Ridge because of its views of the New York Bay.

Boerum Hill

For most of the 20th Century, the area was simply called “South Brooklyn.” But when gentrification swept through the neighborhood in the 1990s, locals dubbed their tony digs Boerum Hill after the Boerums — Dutch settlers who arrived in Brooklyn in 1649.

Carroll Gardens

Like Boerum Hill, Carroll Gardens was just “South Brooklyn” for most of its history. In the mid-20th century, a neighborhood association popularized the name Carroll Gardens in an attempt to revitalize the area. But the name “Carroll Gardens” comes from Charles Carroll, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Coney Island

The Dutch named this bit of beach “Conyne Eylandt,” meaning “Rabbit Island.”

Cypress Hill

The massive Cypress Hills Cemetery was incorporated on November 21, 1848 by New York state, and the surrounding neighborhood took its name.

East New York

East New York was supposed to become its own city – one that rivaled Manhattan. But the plan by John R. Pitkin, a rich merchant from Connecticut who began developing the area in 1835, never took off thanks to a depression. East New York eventually was incorporated into New York in 1897 but kept its name.

Fort Greene

It’s no surprise that Fort Green was once a fort. It was named after Nathanael Greene, a Major General in the Continental Army and one of George Washington’s officers. [Metafloss]Christopher Cameron


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
176 North 6th Street and 16 South Portland Avenue in Brooklyn (StreetEasy; Google Maps)

Brooklyn luxury market surges with nearly $73M in contracts

Brooklyn luxury market surges with nearly $73M in contracts
A rendering of Gowanus Green and HPD commissioner Louise Carroll (Rendering via Jonathan Rose Companies)

Massive Gowanus development will be 100% affordable

Massive Gowanus development will be 100% affordable
17 Polhemus Place and 7A 2nd Place in Brooklyn (Photos via StreetEasy; Google Maps)

Park Slope townhouse sells after just 36 days on the market

Park Slope townhouse sells after just 36 days on the market
Silvercup Studios (Getty)

Outer-borough loan activity fired up in October

Outer-borough loan activity fired up in October
554 Fort Washington Avenue (top) and 235 Gardner Avenue (Google Maps)

East Williamsburg warehouse fetches $28M

East Williamsburg warehouse fetches $28M
(iStock)

Townhouses continue to dominate Brooklyn’s luxury market

Townhouses continue to dominate Brooklyn’s luxury market
Eliot Spitzer and 420 Kent Avenue (Getty)

Spitzer snags $388M loan for Williamsburg complex

Spitzer snags $388M loan for Williamsburg complex
(Getty, iStock)

NYC rents and inventory dipped in October

NYC rents and inventory dipped in October
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...