Bronx & Brooklyn Names: From the street signs of New York

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.  At that time I was completely unaware of how the mostly pretentious –sounding names of those streets might have referred back to past heroic figures (Popham?  Burnside? Bathgate?).  In my mind what they were identified with was the kids I knew who lived on them—Nelson Avenue was associated with the Mazur sisters, Jessup with my classmate Nancy, Loring with my bf Margery’s grandmother, and Shakespeare with my elementary school.

(One name that fascinated me and couldn’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.  It was only later that I discovered the probable origins of the name—that during the Revolutionary War, locals covered the street with feather beds so that the soldiers fighting the British could move quietly through the area—though there were other explanations as well.)

Here are some of the mostly surname names from my neighborhood and beyond:

ANDREWS

ANTHONY

BRANDT

CEDAR

CLIFFORD

CRESTON

DAVIDSON

(Mt) EDEN

FORDHAM

GERARD

HARRISON

HENNESSEY

JEROME

JESSUP

LORING

MONTGOMERY

MORRIS

MORTON

NELSON

OSBORNE

PELHAM

PHELAN

SELWYN

SHAKESPEARE

VALENTINE

WALTON

WEBSTER

During my childhood, if you were from the Bronx, it was practically in your DNA to hate all things Brooklyn.  But now that I’ve matured into a more rational and objective name observer, I do have to admit that that other borough does have  a better selection of street names—less stuffy and a lot more that are actually suited  to a baby.  In fact there are so many Courts and Places with standard first names that you have to wonder if the streets weren’t named after the builders’ own babies.

Here’s a selection—there are lots more:

AINSLIE

ALABAMA

ALBANY

ALICE

ALLEN

AMBER

AMITY

ANNA

ANTHONY

APOLLO

ARION

ASH

ASTER

AUBURN

AURELIA

AUTUMN

BARBEY

BARLOW

BAYARD

BERRY

BIJOU

BLAKE

BLISS

BOGART

BRISTOL

BRYANT

CALDER

CASS

CATHERINE

CEDAR

CELESTE

CHARLES

CHASE

CHEEVER

CHESTER

CLARA

CLARK

CLAY

CLIFFORD

COLBY

COLIN

COOPER

CROSBY

DAKOTA

DESMOND

DEWEY

DOONE

DREW

ELIZABETH

ELLERY

ELLIOTT

EMERSON

EVERETT

FAY

FERRIS

FORREST

FOSTER

FROST

GEORGE

GEORGIA

GRACE

GUERNSEY

GUNTHER

HARRISON

HAZEL

HENDRIX

HOPE

HORACE

HUDSON

INDIA

IVAN

JACKSON

JAY

JEFFERSON

JULIANA

KERMIT

LAUREL

LEONARD

LEONORA

LEWIS

LLOYD

LOGAN

LOUISA

MACON

MADELINE

MARGARET

McCLANCY

MYRTLE

NOEL

NOVA

OLIVE

OLIVER

OPAL

PEARL

PERRY

QUENTIN

QUINCY

REED

REEVE

RUSSELL

RYDER

SAPPHIRE

SIGOURNEY

SPENCER

SULLIVAN

SUTTON

VERONA

VERONICA

VIRGINIA

WARREN

WILL

WILLOW

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9 Responses to “Bronx & Brooklyn Names: From the street signs of New York”

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gingerkid Says:

July 22nd, 2010 at 10:05 am

I used to live on S. Elliott in Brooklyn! I also used to pass by some other streets in Ft. Greene that had nice names: (St.) Felix and Willoughby spring to mind. Fun post!

pippa Says:

July 22nd, 2010 at 11:10 am

Brooklyn represent! I currently live on Carlton, but have also lived on Clermont and Myrtle. Not sure I would use those on a child, but I LOVE living in Brooklyn! Great post…

Bella Says:

July 22nd, 2010 at 3:57 pm

I love Creston and Kermit!

L Says:

July 22nd, 2010 at 10:14 pm

I like a lot of these names! You know, Bronx is actually a cool name (though I wouldn’t use it)! It’d be a great way to honor my love of the Yankees, seeing as they play in the Bronx! Maybe if The Wentz’s named him Bronx William instead of Bronx Mowgli it would be a little more mainstream. 🙂

jet Says:

November 30th, 2010 at 11:33 am

i named my son Bronx Uriyah…. Bronx because thats where I grew up , and Uriyah, like Urijah Faber the MMA fighter, the California kid… Its funny my neighbors daughters name is Brooklyn, and a guy I work with named his son Madison Square..

Brooke Says:

November 30th, 2010 at 2:07 pm

As a Brooke, from Brooklyn, this was a treat! Madison Square? Interesting…

Annie Says:

January 21st, 2011 at 3:01 pm

My favorite Brooklyn street name is Hawthorne, though I’m not brave enough to use it! I think that’s a cool name though.

JC Says:

February 8th, 2011 at 7:32 am

Two babies born and named in Williamsburg. My son’s name is Jackson and yes, so’s our cross street… But really he’s named for my middle name: Jacqueline 😉
No Graham on the list? And I spent a minute with the nice ring of Kensington…

notcinnamon Says:

January 31st, 2013 at 1:57 am

Fun post! Interestingly, I live in rural South GA and my next child (girl) would be Auburn and (boy) would be Jessup…Both surnames of significance (yet obscurity in naming) here. Perhaps, we’re more alike than we think!

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