Like Jenny-from-the-block (well maybe not quite), I was a roller-skating, rope-jumping, potsy- (hopscotch to you) playing child of the Bronx streets.Â At that time I was completely unaware of how the mostly pretentious â€“sounding names of those streets might have referred back to past heroic figures (Popham?Â Burnside? Bathgate?).Â In my mind what they were identified with was the kids I knew who lived on themâ€”Nelson Avenue was associated with the Mazur sisters, Jessup with my classmate Nancy, Loring with my bf Margeryâ€™s grandmother, and Shakespeare with my elementary school.
(One name that fascinated me and couldnâ€™t be ignored was Featherbed Lane, a street that I passed on the way to school every day and was home to my Aunt Pearl and family.Â It was only later that I discovered the probable origins of the nameâ€”that during the Revolutionary War, locals covered the street with feather beds so that the soldiers fighting the British could move quietly through the areaâ€”though there were other explanations as well.)
Here are some of the mostly surname names from my neighborhood and beyond:
During my childhood,Â if you were from the Bronx, it was practically in your DNA toÂ hate all things Brooklyn.Â But now that Iâ€™ve matured into a more rational and objective name observer, I do have to admit that that other borough does have Â a better selection of street namesâ€”less stuffy and a lot more that are actually suitedÂ to a baby.Â In fact there are so many Courts and Places with standard first names that you have to wonder if the streets werenâ€™t named after the buildersâ€™ own babies.
Hereâ€™s a selectionâ€”there are lots more: