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.