Posts Tagged ‘Neighborhoods of Brooklyn’

Whatever happened to Yellow Hook, Brooklyn?

July 16, 2010

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?