So I’m reading this book…

Allow me to geek out at the prospect of getting my hands on History in Asphalt: The Origin of Bronx Street and Place Names by John McNamara. Once upon a time, when I was ten, I wanted to be a historian. I dropped history in favor of creative writing, but I’ve always been really big on New York City history.

A couple of weeks ago I was perusing the Bronx Historical Society’s website and saw that they had published a book with the origins of the borough’s streets and avenues. I was uber excited because I grew up on Zerega Ave. and always wondered what the hell a Zerega was or who, for that matter. (As it turns out, it’s named after a dude named Augustus Zerega diZerega who owned a private dock on Westchester Creek and operated a fleet of ships.)

A lot of the names date back to the Revolutionary and Civil Wars and are named after generals and captains. Others are named after the numerous farmers that settled in the borough.

The book is definitely worth checking out, if only to look up the street you live on.




6 thoughts on “So I’m reading this book…

    • jim says:

      You should get hold of the film The Pope Of Greenwich Village,at one point
      Micky Rourke goes up to the Bx and is pictured at Castle Hill and Westchester. There is a bar on the corner (like mid 50s),just up the street from the RKO.I used to go there on Saturday mornings. There used to be a super Italian bakery across the street from the RKO. I’m an ole dog and left the Bronx in ’70,I was back twice but just for a visit. I came in through the back door Googling Augustus Zerega, the Historical Society has a pix of his headstone in Woodlawn,on line. The stone tells he was born
      1802 on the Island of Martinique,and his wife in 1809 on another island.
      My Gram used to live on Frisby Ave,so I spent time walking on Zerega,from Parkchester.

  1. Andrea says:

    I grew up at 1702 Zerega Ave in the 1960’s. I see that Frank and Joe’s Deli is still there, as is St Raymond’s Catholic School (YUK) I currently am retired from the US Army and living in Elgin, AZ, just outside of Ft Huachuca. We have a Place Name book for AZ and it’s great. So i was jumping up and down when I found this site, and the info on Names and Places. Thank you.

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