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Naming Gotham: The Villains, Rogues and Heroes Behind New York’s Place Names

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The Van Wyck, the Major Deegan, the Jackie Robinson, the Hutch, the Merritt, FDR Drive, or the Henry Hudson...you might drive them regularly, without really noticing that those road names are, well, names. But, who were these people? New York City's many roads, bridges, neighborhoods and institutions bear the names of a colorful assortment of people from key periods in the city's history. Learning about the people iconic Gotham landmarks are named for is a unique window into the history of the greatest city in the world. Author Rebecca Bratspies takes readers on a place-based, intimate, historical journey on a human scale.

160 pages, Paperback

Published January 23, 2023

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About the author

Rebecca Bratspies

3 books5 followers
Rebecca Bratspies is a longtime resident of Astoria Queens. When not geeking out about New York City history, she is a Professor at CUNY School of Law. A scholar of environmental justice, and human rights, Rebecca has written scores of law review articles, four other books, including Environmental Justice: Law Policy and Regulation, and three environmental justice comic books Mayah’s Lot , Bina’s Plant , and Troop’s Run (w/ Charlie LaGreca-Velasco). She serves on NYC’s Environmental Justice Advisory Board, and EPA’s Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee, is a scholar with the Center for Progressive Reform and a member of the NYC Bar Environmental Committee. ABA-SEER honored her work with its Commitment to Diversity and Justice Award.

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Displaying 1 - 4 of 4 reviews
Profile Image for Jenf.
149 reviews6 followers
February 24, 2023
If you’re surprised and amused that the Outerbridge Crossing was named for Eugenius Outerbridge this is a book for you.

A fun read for any NYC history nerd, this book is great for learning about some of the
interesting stories behind the names of some of the city's landmarks and places. It is easy to pick up and put down, as each place/person gets a stand-alone 3-5 pages, making it perfect for those who are intimidated by some of the 28-pound tomes on NYC history.

Although it won't answer the question of why we drive on a parkway and park on a driveway, I wouldn't be surprised if this book sets off a whole series of "Naming (Place): The Villains, Rogues, and Heroes behind (Place) Names." [history/writing teachers - I’m looking at you]
20 reviews1 follower
February 20, 2023
I already have a wait list for people who want to borrow my copy of this engaging, informative and whimsically-written book by the brilliant Professor Rebecca Bratspies. This is a book for all New Yorkers, for anybody who enjoys history, for all those trivia-heads, and for anybody who just wants to feel superior by dropping knowledge on who Bryant Park is named for the next time you're walking by! Not only is the book thoroughly researched and informative, Professor Bratspies narrative style is rife with wit and humor, and you can almost hear her wry style in the way she writes. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it as a fun read, a great gift, and a must on anybody's book shelf or coffee table!
Profile Image for Na'ama.
Author 2 books5 followers
February 17, 2023
This was a delightful romp through the places that have names which have always been ubiquitous but never understood. It is well researched and clearly presented. I wish the entries were longer - it reads more like a tour guide book with tantalizing and essential details, but it is missing some more meat. I will never drive around New York anymore without knowing who the neighborhoods, highways and recreational places are named for. An enriching little gem.
Displaying 1 - 4 of 4 reviews

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