Ask an American where he comes from and most likely he’ll name a state.
An Irishman will tell you a county.
A Louisianan (or, many from Queens) will cite a parish.
Some wits say a New Jerseyite will specify a Turnpike exit.
But in Brooklyn, it’s a neighborhood. And it speaks volumes.
Neighborhoods are unofficial, informal and sometimes uninforming, but in Brooklyn they are as iconic as its Brooklyn Bridge.
They are also undefined, for the most part without any clear boundaries. And they are ever-changing, in name and border.
In 1941, in a report by the Brooklyn Council for Social Planning by Herbert Ballon, it was noted that original village boundaries and “the landmarks by which the boundaries are identified have long since disappeared.” He found some 100 overlapping neighborhood names with inconsistent borders — many of them invented by real estate agents. He picked 22 names.
Today, there are, arguably, 60 (or so).
Here’s a consensus look at how these communities got their names.
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