Brooklyn Neighborhoods with Strange Sounding Names

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DUMBO , Brooklyn– (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) acronym was coined in the late 1970-80s for the area known as South Brooklyn – Fulton Ferry. The areas been taken over by the people from across the river – the Manhattanites. Brooklyn born residents would never give such a name to a Brooklyn neighborhood. According to The Observer, Brooklyn has consistently run second to the Bronx this decade as an in-city relocation destination.

DUMBO was dark because of its location in the shadow of the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges.  Many of the buildings dating to 1800’s were long ago abandoned. Today those buildings are part of the DUMBO Historical District. On December 18, 2007, the Landmarks Preservation Commission granted landmark status to the Dumbo Historic District. Abandoned warehouses and loft are now renovated for residential and commercial use. The historic district is bound by John Street to the north, York Street to the south, Main Street to the west and Bridge Street to the east.

Vinegar Hill – The neighborhood is located between DUMBO and the Brooklyn Navy Yard on the East River waterfront in Brooklyn.  Vinegar Hill has more residential type housing than DUMBO which was largely warehouses and factories, more commercial area. Before the construction of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, Vinegar Hill included what is now DUMBO. Several of the streets are made of cobblestone. A disadvantage is that trucks, horse hooves and even modern automobiles make a lot of noise when rolling over cobblestone paving.  This community has maintained its 19th Century look while facing modernization and development from all sides.  The back drop is the massive secretive Con Edison power plant. The smokes stacks tower over the brownstone buildings.

Originally settled by the Irish, Vinegar Hill got its name from the Battle of Vinegar Hill, a battle during the Irish Rebellion of 1798. The battle is very important to the Irish. There sites around the world named Vinegar Hill. In Ireland, the name “Vinegar Hill” was an English transliteration of a Gaelic (Irish) term meaning “hill of the wood of the berries” according to forgotten NY neighborhoods.


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