Naming New York: Manhattan Places and How They Got Their Namesby Sanna Feirstein, Eliza F. Mayo
Pub. Date: 04/01/2001
Publisher: New York University Press
New York is the oldest continually occupied city in America, yet its rich history is largely obscured by development. New Yorkers are surrounded by hundreds of place names, from those that survive from Manhattan's earliest days as a Dutch trading post to those that reflect the city's rich colonial, African and immigrant heritage. They provide a veritable encyclopedia of the city's history. Buildings may come and go, but place names are surprisingly durable.
Naming New York is a comprehensive compilation and explanation of the names of Manhattan's streets, alleys, avenues, plazas, parks and corners. It surveys names currently in use and includes the oldest and the newest honorific "add-on" names, from Astor Place to Yitzak Rabin Way.
Whether you're a history or trivia buff, tourist, or just fascinated by place names, learning about the origins of these mostly unexamined sources enriches one's experience of the city, and transforms a simple neighborhood errand into a trip through time.
Bowery: In the 17th century, Dutch farms known as "bowerij" were laid out in this section of Manhattan along the path of an old Indian trail. Known since that time as the Bowery, the thoroughfare became the first section of the Post Road from New York City to Boston.
Houston Street: For William Houstoun, 1757-1812, of a prominent Georgia family, who married a daughter of Manhattan landowner Nicholas Bayard III. The Georgia provenance of the name accounts for its pronunciation and spelling both of which distinguish it from the Texas city.
Wall Street: Follows the line of the city wall that the Dutch erected in 1653 across the northern perimeter of New Amsterdam to protect against attack from the British in New England.
Author Biography: Sanna Feirstein is a docent at the New-York Historical Society.
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Awesome....!Beautiful....!Wonderful....!I really enjoy it.....!
This is a wonderful book for New Yorkers and tourists alike.It is a fun way to appreciate the historical development of the island of Manhattan.I used it to explore Manhattan neighborhood by neighborhood. What's in a name? Everything, as this this book makes clear.
I have lived in my great hometown, New York City, for over 30 years. Regardless of this fact, I never actually knew half of the history that surrounds each and every street. Feirstein has an eloquent way of putting historical facts that could once seem daunting, into an accessible, fun, and original style. Much better than other tourist books on the city, 'Naming New York' encompasses a eloquence and a personal feel. It can be appreciated not only by people new to the city but by long time residents like myself. Do buy this book. You won't regret it.
I've read many history-related books in my day, but not one has been as accessible and easy to read as Naming New York. Feirstein does an incredible job of taking information and presenting it in an interesting and informative way. After reading each entry, I came away with a new fact or detail about New York. Naming New York makes one aware that history constantly surrounds us, and before reading this book, I never quite appreciated this fact.