Quicklink: Forgotten New York Does Noble Street

December 27, 2011 by
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

(Or: The Other Alphabet City)

I have long been remiss in giving a shout-out to my friend (and inspiration) Kevin Walsh of Forgotten New York. Thankfully last night I got a much-needed reminder when he brought the above depicted post (which he authored in 2009) to my attention (on his newly designed web site).

Did I say “Nice web site, Kevin!”

You ask? No, not yet. (I promise I will.)

Did I commend Kevin on his post about Noble Street?

Of course not. That’s not how we history geeks roll. Rather, I pointed out:

You missed something, Kevin…

And stated that I would cull the item in question from my archives. And cull it I did. This is what you, dear readers, see at left. “N St.”.

Those of you, fellow Garden Spotters, who have wondered why the thoroughfares in the northernmost part of our community sport the eccentric names they do, e.g.; Ash, Box, Clay, Dupont, etc., might be interested to know they were afterthoughts. What preceded the streets we hold so near and dear (or more likely: take for granted) was a diabolically clever use of the alphabet. Starting at the northernmost tip of the place we call home a grid of streets were laid. Starting (of course) with “A” Street, then “B” Street, “C” Street, “D” Street followed until “Q” (Quay”). After that chaos (READ: Williamsburg) reigns.

The notable exceptions to the previous being “L” and “P” Street. The first— later known as “Lincoln”— is now known as Greenpoint Avenue. The latter was renamed Calyer before an appropriate “P-word” could be found. Just kidding: Jacobus Calyer, one of the five founding “families” of Greenpoint”, got to it first.* Regardless, I for one find this to be a splendid example of city planning (in a community which virtually has none— especially of late). One need only consult the alphabet to ascertain whether he/she is going north versus south (and by powers of deduction: east versus west). And if he/she cannot master this, well, to bastardize Tallulah Bankhead:

If you get lost in Greenpoint, you don’t deserve to be found.

The last remnant of the Garden Spot’s “Alphabet City” can be found at the northeastern corner of Noble and Franklin Street. Go look it. It is one of my favorite pieces of forgotten New York— or at least forgotten Greenpoint. Do check out Kevin’s new and (still improving) web site. It’s really nice.

(See, I kept my promise!)

*A couple others you might notice:

  • Norman Avenue, after Dirck “The Norman” Volchertsen (Clearly political correctness was not the fashion at the time. —E.d Note.)
  • Meserole Avenue, after the Meserole family— starting with Abraham.
  • Provost Street, after Jonathan Provoost.

Read about these, our predecessors, for yourselves!


One Comment on Quicklink: Forgotten New York Does Noble Street

  1. ay123 on Tue, 27th Dec 2011 12:30 pm
  2. I would say the most notable exception of this rule is Greenpoint Ave, which was called L Street, and later Lincoln Street.

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