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Naming New York: Manhattan Places and How They Got Their Names Paperback – April 1, 2001

4.8 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Who knew that Broadway was originally an Indian trail that ran north from the southern tip of Manhattan? In Naming New York: Manhattan Places & How They Got Their Names, Sanna Feirstein, a docent at the New-York Historical Society, draws on an impressive array of sources to produce a lively, informative reference to the people and histories behind Manhattan's varied streets. Though indexed and organized by neighborhood, the book lacks detailed maps. Illus.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Ever wondered why Wall Street is called that? Because it follows the line of the palisade wall that the Dutch erected across the northern perimeter of New Amsterdam in 1653 to protect against attack from the British. It is exactly this kind of place name information about Manhattan's streets, avenues, plazas, parks, and corners that this thorough compilation provides. Whether discussing the names derived from the original Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam or the places named after modern notables, Feirstein, a docent at the New York Historical Society, maintains a friendly tone that does not diminish this tome's educational value. Peppered with various historical illustrations, this is a fun read for any New Yorker or for those planning to visit the city, but it may be a bit over the head of those familiar with only the most notable landmarks of the city. Recommended for public libraries with a strong clientele interested in the history of the Big Apple.ASandy Knowles, Henderson Cty. P.L., NC
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 207 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press; First Edition edition (April 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814727123
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814727126
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,296,044 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Luis Hernandez on January 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
Ever wondered how Hell's Kitchen got it's name or why Bowling Green is called that? Well, finally there is a book that can answer these and many other place name questions. "Naming New York: Manhattan Places and How They Got Their Names" by Sanna Feirstein, and published by the respectable folks at New York University Press is a great, well organized book that discusses how most places in the borough of Manhattan got their names.
Chapters, which are divided by areas on the island such as Upper East Side, Inwood, and Harlem, discusses the origin of many street, park, and neighborhood names. The author, who briefly gives the origin of the place name in a simple sentence or two, apparently has done some deep research at a local library or archive in order to amass such an extensive list of information. With a great cover design and feel, the book captured my attention at a local bookstore. Overall, the book is a must for anyone who loves the City that Never Sleeps. It's a great book for a great price, which today can be a rarity.
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Format: Paperback
I'm hoping that by the time you read this review, you will be able to take a look inside (right now, you can't). If you could, you would be able to see the exquisite layout and illustrations of Sanna Feirstein's "Naming New York: Manhattan Places and How They Got Their Names". It's a gloriously good-looking book.
But more important, Sanna Feirstein has gotten her facts right. When people think of the place names of Manhattan, they probably think of the grid and its numbered roads. Or that Manhattan is so modern, that all its place names begin with the Rockefeller era. WRONG! The island of Manhattan reaches further back in the history of American cities than any other one: the Wall Street area itself existed while Shakespeare's plays were first being produces. Manhattan, especially the older neighborhoods from Houston Street south to the Battery, are filled with twisting little streets whose names resonate with Manhattan's history. This book is where you'll find out why Houston Street is pronounced "HOW-ston". Where did Maiden Lane get its name from? Who was Barclay? This book will tell all.
This is a very informative book. If only it can tell me why New Yorkers pronounce Avenue of the Americas as "Sixth Avenue".
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Format: Paperback
Sanna Feirstein has written a lively and well-researched book on the origins of Manhattan street and place names -- a book that every NYC history buff, trivia hound and tourist will find fascinating.
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Format: Paperback
This book explains the origin of every named street in Manhattan, New York. A native of Topeka, Kansas may rightly be inclined to say "So what?" but, to anyone interested in NYC, this book will provide plenty of raised eyebrows of new found insight about "Gotham". The book is broken down into sections on Lower Manhattan, Mid-Lower Manhattan, The Villages, Midtown South, Midtown, East Side, West Side, and Upper Manhattan with additional sectional breakdowns in each group. A page and a half of historical background for each area is given along with a very basic map of the area. The story of the name for each street in the area is then explained in a couple well written lines. Many pictures are included of the persons or places named. The only detracting points are the paucity of effective maps detailing where some of the more obscure places are.
Highly recommended if you are into New York City history.
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Format: Paperback
I always thought Gansevoort Street was named for some moldy Dutch patroon. Now I find out it's one of George Washington's generals and, even more surprising, that he was Herman Melville's grandfather. If this sort of pleasant surprise appeals to you, you're going to love this book. It belongs in the library of everyone who loves Manhattan.
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