Jones Street, a one-block stretch from Bleecker to West Fourth in the West Village, has the head start. It was named after a doctor, Gardner Jones.
Then, in 1789, a lawyer named Samuel Jones—Gardner Jones’ brother-in-law—gave the city some land, stipulating that the street built there be named for him.
Having two Jones Streets was seriously confusing, but reportedly neither Jones would budge and change the name. So Samuel Jones supposedly suggested his street be given the “great” prefix. The city agreed with his humble solution.
Another theory has it that Great Jones Street became, well, great, because it was wider than the first Jones Street.
Adding to the confusion is Great Jones Alley, off of Great Jones Street. Supposedly the term “jones,” as in a drug addiction, comes from the addicts who used to congregate in the alley.
The Urban Dictionary, however, credits “jonesin” to Great Jones Street itself and the drug culture that once thrived there.