Posts Tagged ‘Dutch Brooklyn’

Whatever happened to Ponkiesberg, Brooklyn?

July 4, 2013

CourtandpacificstreetssignToday the corner of Court and Pacific Streets is squarely in Brooklyn’s Cobble Hill neighborhood.

If you were standing here in the 17th century, however, you’d be in an enclave Dutch settlers called Ponkiesberg.

Ponkiesberg? Also spelled with an h at the end, it actually translates into “cobble hill,” says The New York Times, which explains that the name stems from the steep cobblestone road once at this corner.

Articles from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle archives supply more info.

PonkiesbergplaquePonkiesberg was the name of a “conical hill which was situated from sixty to eighty feet above the present grade of the streets,” a story from 1896 tell us.

“[A] circular road led up to the strange looking elevation, which many persons thought was the work of clever colonists rather than nature.”

Ponkiesberg the hill gave patriots an edge in the Revolutionary War.

A plaque on the side of Trader Joe’s, which now occupies the corner, states that from the Ponkiesberg fortification built here, George Washington was able to observe the fighting at Gowanus during the Battle of Long Island in 1776.

Maybe we’ll see a real estate rebranding of the neighborhood?

The sweet story behind Brooklyn’s Love Lane

March 1, 2010

Today’s Love Lane is a cute one-block mews stretching from Henry Street to Hicks Street in Brooklyn Heights. 

But back in pre-Colonial times, it was an Indian trail leading to the nearby East River. And when the Dutch arrived in Brooklyn, it became a popular path for romantic walks.

An 1894 New York Times article states:

“The oldest residents can remember a time when there was a cool and shady path leading down “Lover’s Lane,” where plump, rosy-cheeked Dutch maidens, with their sweethearts, meandered on summer evenings out through the turnstile and down the grassy bank to the water’s edge.” 

I wonder if the name may have been reinforced by the presence of the Brooklyn Collegiate Institute for Young Ladies, an early 19th century finishing school located on what is now called College Place, a tiny lane that intersects Love Lane.

Perhaps eligible Brooklyn bachelors took romantic walks with some of the students here, making the Love Lane name really stick.