Sunday, November 13, 2011

Why'd They Call it That?

In NYC, we have lots of bridges, roads, parks, streets, even whole neighborhoods named after historically important dead people. 

But do we know who all of them are? Or were ...

LaGuardia airport is obvious. So is Washington Square. Madison Avenue is named after -- you got it -- James Madison.  Lincoln Center? Take a wild guess.

But who was Van Wyck and why does he have a major expressway named after him? Same with Major Deegan. Who was Bruckner? Kosciusco? Who was the Tompkins in Tompkins Square Park?

Did they really name Astoria after the Astor family? (Yes!) 

Did you know the Holland Tunnel was named after a guy named Clifford Holland who designed the freakin' thing?

Listen to this segment from Friday's Leonard Lopate show that explores the people named after many of the important structures and parks and areas of this town. It's surprising to find out who some of these people were and some of the arbitrary reasons why certain important things were named for them. (Bruckner, for instance, was a Bronx Borough President who used his mojo to give a major road his monicker.)

More surprising are all of the important people in NYC history who don't have stuff named after them. Like me.

As the saying goes, what's in a name?

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