Whatever happened to Yellow Hook, Brooklyn?

Back when the Dutch settled this part of the town of New Utrecht in the 17th century, they named it Yellow Hook—after its yellowish soil.

[illustrations from the NYPL’s digital collection]

The problem with Yellow Hook, however, was that it sounded too close to Yellow Fever, outbreaks of which were regularly killing New Yorkers.

So in 1853, locals gave Yellow Hook a more pleasant moniker: Bay Ridge, for the ridge that offers such amazing views of New York Bay. 

Or did they intend to call it “Bay Bridge”? An article in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle archives from December 19, 1853 includes this:

“. . . it was resolved that the locality hitherto known as Yellow Hook and included in the boundaries of School District No. 2, in the town of New Utrecht, be henceforth known by the name of Bay Bridge, and that an application be made to the proper authorities for an establishment of a Post Office in the vicinity, to be designated as the Bay Bridge Post Office.”

Two innocent typos, or perhaps the neighborhood’s real name?

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7 Responses to “Whatever happened to Yellow Hook, Brooklyn?”

  1. dia Says:

    There’s a Yellow Hook Grille in Bay Ridge, giving homage to the old name.

  2. The Hooks of Upper Manhattan « Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] The Hooks of Upper Manhattan By wildnewyork Downtown has Corlears Hook. Brooklyn has Red Hook (and once had Yellow Hook).  […]

  3. Once a grand estate, now a park in Brooklyn « Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] The 26 acres of Owl’s Head Park were once his personal estate, built not long after the neighborhood known as Yellow Hook was renamed Bay Ridge. […]

  4. Christopher Molloy Says:

    I believe that an alternative name which was used prior to settling on BAY RIDGE was GOLDEN HORN, a play on YELLOW (GOLDEN) and HOOK (HORN), as there was an Apfel’s GOLDEN HORN BREWING COMPANY located at 3rd Ave between 96th & 97th St.


  5. "A Walker in the City" – Olives and Islands Says:

    […] Brooklyn and Staten Island. As for the name Bay Ridge, that wasn’t the original name; it was Yellow Hook (not exactly an alluring name); it was changed because of its negative association with yellow […]

  6. m88 Says:


    Whatever happened to Yellow Hook, Brooklyn? | Ephemeral New York

  7. Sharon West Says:

    Thank you. You clarified the place of Tierck Van Dyke’s death and residence in my genealogical work.

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