What’s in a name? Plenty, especially among certain factions of New Yorkers at the turn of the last century.
That’s when the city began building a great bridge that would link Manhattan to Queens. City officials planned to name it the Blackwell’s Island Bridge, after the spit of land (now Roosevelt Island) it would skip over in the East River.
But real estate bigwigs from Manhattan and Queens objected; they felt the name had bad connotations. Blackwell’s Island at the time was infamous for its poorhouse and prison.
On the other hand, many Irish residents were opposed to the Queensboro name because they felt it sounded too British.
The leader of one Irish group even suggested calling it the Montauk Bridge, thinking it had a more American ring to it.
In the end, Queensboro was selected as the official name before the bridge opened in 1909. And it’s stuck ever since.