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Names of New York: Discovering the City's Past, Present, and Future Through Its Place-Names

Names of New York: Discovering the City's Past, Present, and Future Through Its Place-Names cover

Names of New York: Discovering the City's Past, Present, and Future Through Its Place-Names

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"A casually wondrous experience; it made me feel like the city was unfolding beneath my feet.” —Jia Tolentino, author of Trick Mirror

In place-names lie stories. That’s the truth that animates this fascinating journey through the names of New York City’s streets and parks, boroughs and bridges, playgrounds and neighborhoods.

Exploring the power of naming to shape experience and our sense of place, Joshua Jelly-Schapiro traces the ways in which native Lenape, Dutch settlers, British invaders, and successive waves of immigrants have left their marks on the city’s map. He excavates the roots of many names, from Brooklyn to Harlem, that have gained iconic meaning worldwide. He interviews the last living speakers of Lenape, visits the harbor’s forgotten islands, lingers on street corners named for ballplayers and saints, and meets linguists who study the estimated eight hundred languages now spoken in New York.

As recent arrivals continue to find new ways to make New York’s neighborhoods their own, the names that stick to the city’s streets function not only as portals to explore the past but also as a means to reimagine what is possible now.

JOSHUA JELLY-SCHAPIRO is a geographer and writer. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, and Harper’s Magazine, among many other publications. He is the author of Island People: The Caribbean and the World and cocreator (with Rebecca Solnit) of Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas. He is a scholar-in-residence at the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University, where he also teaches.

ISBN: 9781524748920

ISBN-10: 9781524748920

Publisher: Pantheon

Publication Date: 04/13/2021 - 12:00am

On Sale: 04/13/2021 - 12:00am

Pages: 256

Language: English

Categories

History / United States / State & Local

Travel / Special Interest / Literary

Social Science / Sociology / Urban