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What are the Name Origins of Brooklyn Landmarks and Neighborhoods

by Rich Monetti 3 days ago in america

Park Slope, Williamsburg, Bensonhurst, Bushwick, etc

Photo by soomness

All the Brooklyn names we take for granted and more to come.


The name comes the Dutch city of Breukelen. It means marshy.

Park Slope

The name comes from the adjacent Prospect Park. The neighborhood streets slope up towards the park - hence the name.


Colonel Jonathan Williams was West Point’s first superintendent and Benjamin Franklin’s grandnephew.  He was also assigned as the area’s first surveyor by Richard Woodhull, who was the landowner. Woodhull went onto name the tract Williamsburgh in honor of a job well done.  The ‘h’ was dropped when Brooklyn became part of New York City in 1855.


The area that is now called Bensonhurst once housed 16,000 British and Hessian soldiers who were preparing to engage prior to the Battle of Long Island. Prior to the 1830s, the Polhemus family owned the land, and they sold to the Bensons.  Potato and cabbage farmers, they agreed to sell the land to a developer named James Lynch under the condition that the name Benson designate the area.  Thus, Bensonhurst-by-the-Sea was eventually shortened to the name we know now.


The Dutch West India company purchased the area from the Lenape’s and Peter Stuyvesant surveyed the land.  He dubbed the plushness, Boswijck or Little town in the woods.


Once part of Bushwick, the area eventually got its own reckoning. Passing sailors in the 17th century often noted the grassy point that stuck out past the shore. Thus, the green point sufficed for the name to come.

Coney Island

Coney Island is today a peninsula that lost its Island status when an early 20th Century landfill connected the landmass to the mainland. Legend says that when Dutch settlers arrived, the locale was home to numerous rabbits. So they named it Conyne Eylandt, which means Rabbit Island.

Fort Greene

In order to reduce casualties, George Washington retreated from the existing fort after the failed Battle of Long Island. The fort was later named after Nathanael Greene. He was a Major in the Continental Army, and the area took his name.


The original Dutch settlers called the Lenape Native Americans the Canarsie Indians. From the Algonquin language, the word means “palisade” or “fenced land.” The area is bounded by Fresh Creek Basin, Paerdegat Basin and Jamaica Bay and an enclosed feeling probably came across.


Gouwane was the chief of the Lenape Native Americans, and after the canal took his name, the neighborhood followed.


Another Dutch derivation, V’lacke Bos means a plain with woods, which refers to the excess of timber that encompassed the area.

Brighton Beach

England’s East Sussex was a Brighton resort by the sea that dates to the 14th century, and when a resort developer named William Engeman purchased the land in 1878, his group referenced the old country’s name for their own.

Sheepshead Bay

A sheepshead fish has a bloated body and has more the buck toothed mouth of a donkey than a sheep. But despite typically liking warmer climates, the sheepshead was abundant in the bay in the 1800s and part of the waterway took the name. The adjoining land picked up the moniker too. On the other hand, the chances of pulling one of the bay today is pretty rare.

Red Hook

The area was of key strategic importance to the defense of New York Harbor during the American Revolution. The name comes from the red soil found at the bottom point of South Brooklyn. So that’s Red “hoek” or point in Dutch and today stands an IKEA at the point in question.

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Rich Monetti
Rich Monetti
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