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Brooklyn by Name: How the Neighborhoods, Streets, Parks, Bridges and More Got Their Names Paperback – July 1, 2006


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Brooklyn by Name: How the Neighborhoods, Streets, Parks, Bridges and More Got Their Names + Walking Brooklyn: 30 tours exploring historical legacies, neighborhood culture, side streets and waterways + The Neighborhoods of Brooklyn (Neighborhoods of New York City)
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Information is well presented and well illustrated—both factors making this guide easy on the eye. Hardly a location is left unexplored in this fascinating, indispensable guide to a borough undeservedly in Manhattan's shadow.”
-Booklist



“Witty, occasionally irreverent and always engaging, Brooklyn by Name takes readers from the six independent towns that once comprised Breuckelen to the modern metropolis. Weiss and Benardo have uncovered surprising data and have woven a compulsively readable narrative. Pick it up, rifle through, and find out about—or be reminded of—the underpinnings of our borough’s heritage.”
-The Brooklyn Rail



“Fascinating morsels of Brooklyn history. . . . An entertaining, breezy compilation for the NYU Press, perfect for reading down at Coney, up on tar beach, or out on your shady front stoop this summer. . . . So if you wanna know how Dead Horse Bay, Sheepshead Bay, Floyd Bennett Field, Smith St. Carroll Gardens, Junior’s Restaurant, Green-Wood Cemetery, Gilmore Court or the Riegelmann Boardwalk got their names, grab a copy of Brooklyn by Name.”
-New York Daily News



“This book is an essential companion for anyone teaching about Brooklyn, for anyone writing about the borough, and for tour guide people. Benardo and Weiss have to be pleased with their product, and clearly should be congratulated.”
-Brooklyn Daily Eagle



“Brooklyn streets, parks and sites are dripping with history, and husband-and-wife team Leonard Benardo and Jennifer Weiss have hung them all out to dry in their dictionary of street smarts, Brooklyn By Name.
-Brooklyn Papers

About the Author

Leonard Benardo is a former weekly columnist for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.



Jennifer Weiss has written for New York Newsday and The Washington Post and is co-editor of Eldercare in New York: A Consumer's Guide to Long-Term Health Care. The authors live together in Brooklyn.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 209 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press (July 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814799469
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814799468
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #398,721 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jeddy 3 on July 15, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Brooklynites, did you know Empire Boulevard was originally Malbone Street, but was renamed after a devastating 1918 Brighton Beach Line train accident there that killed more than 90 people? Did you know that parts of DeGraw St. in Park Slope were renamed Lincoln Place in 1873 because a famous murder there had caused the street name to be tainted by association? This book is full of amazing name origins like these. It opened my eyes to the tumultuous history of my city and the remnants that are everywhere, once you know where to look. Get this book and impress your smartalecky Brooklyn friends with your obscure wisdom!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Joe McMahon on September 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
Brooklyn has several patterns of street numbering, but streets that carry names of people add the presence of those folk, yes, even if the named are deceased! Congratulations to authors Leonard Benardo and Jennifer Weiss for the scholarship and style that went into this handy, fascinating book of Brooklyn neighborhoods and names. A few years ago, when a friend inquired about Maujer Street, Williamsburg, where she grew up, I inquired at the nearby branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. We learned he was a local alderman, but the informative source was only a few typed pages of Brookyn street names. "Brooklyn by Name" has come to the rescue. I believe it is the first book published on this topic. Arranged geographically into eight chapters, it is aided by well-selected and helpful photos. The authors introduce the history of the region, then explain the street names alphabetically. The book's index is complete, not limited to street names, but including famous Brooklynites mentioned in the volume. As for The Bronx, James McNamara spent his lifetime compiling and revising his "History in Asphalt." Two books have been published about Manhattan stret names. As far as I know, no author has published a guide of Queens street names nor those of Staten Island. "Brooklyn by Name" is a model of the genre.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By H. Meltzer on July 14, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I thought I would leaf through a few pages and that would be enough. Was I wrong! I literally could not stop reading this marvelous work. It is immensely readable, beautifully written and funny, to boot.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Konrei on October 30, 2007
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Overall, BROOKLYN BY NAME is a fascinating concordance, providing capsule descriptions and interesting factoids about hundreds of streets and sites in my home town.

Having been six separate cities, then one unified city, and then a borough of New York City, Brooklyn has a rich and varied history. Its numerous neighborhoods each have their own distinct personalities as befits an amalgam of small clustered villages, which, much like London, is what they were and still are, and BROOKLYN BY NAME confirms this.

On the down side, the book simply does not have enough photographs. Nor does it do a particularly good job of discussing the histories of the six original cities of Kings County, why they amalgamated, and why they amalgamated the way they amalgamated. The authors admit that the book is not exhaustive, and there are some odd deficiencies; an entire section of Canarsie is missing, both from the maps and the listings. The often-odd names of the islands in Jamaica Bay (technically in Queens) are not mentioned, Canarsie Pol among them.

It really is a case of the forest for the trees. Although our Brooklyn walking tour-in-print divides the borough into workable sections and lists street after street, personage after personage, and building after building, "Brooklyn" the fourth largest city in America almost but not quite gets lost among all the details. Although this is a reference guide, not a social history, a little on the unique Brooklyn sense of self (nobody's ever proud of being from Staten Island, but Brooklyn is a different story), would have made a nice finishing touch to the book. Somewhat expanded entries (they should have been further expanded) on such topics as the Brooklyn Bridge and the Dodgers do give us some sense of a unifying thread.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M. Palm on August 10, 2006
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This is a wonderfully enjoyable read: informative, witty, original. And I'm not even from New York!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kevin on January 5, 2007
Format: Paperback
Wonderfully informative and interesting book for anyone from Brooklyn or interested in the great borough.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Harry Matthews on August 15, 2007
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A well-designed, carefully researched, and long overdue introduction to the history of Brooklyn through its place names. Both residents and visitors intrigued by the County of Kings and its colorful past will want to take this companion on their roamings across the borough.

Some of the entries are overly pedantic. For instance: "Like neighboring Neptune Avenue, Mermaid Avenue suggests the fantastical, otherwordly seaside excitement of Coney Island." Duh! At least the auhors assume we can figure out "Surf Avenue" on our own. At the same time, some figures, like Lady Deborah Moody, who founded Gravesend as a utopian community, get short shrift.

Given its range and accuracy, however, I'd call it an indispensable guide.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M Clark on December 22, 2008
Format: Paperback
So many memories were relived. Some forgotten and some never known about. Lived on Ovington Ave. for years and never knew how it got its name.
This is the Brooklyn of my youth and the one I want to remember.
I'll share this book along with my memories with my children of how it was in 'the good old days'.
Even if you never lived here or visited Brooklyn this book lets you see its history and charm like it really was. It's not only a tour of its many sections but also a peek into the heart of it.
Molla
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