Ever wonder how neighborhood names like Hell’s Kitchen came to be? Here’s a quick tour of the history of NYC neighborhood names!
Between 16th and Hudson Street, and 9th and 11th Avenue
Now flooded with exclusive nightclubs and bustling bars, the Meatpacking District was once home to over 250 slaughterhouses and meatpacking markets. These facilities popped up as early as the 1840s and by the 1930s, the district became the world’s third largest supplier of dressed meats.
Today, only 5 meatpacking companies remain and the rest of the neighborhood gave way to retail shops. boutiques, and nightlife venues.
Between 34th and 40th Street, and 6th and 9th Avenue
Marked by the needle and button sculpture on 7th Avenue, the Garment District earned its name by housing half the City’s textile manufacturing plants in the 20th century. Since then, the area has significantly contributed to the global fashion industry through design, manufacturing, sales, and production.
The area today is also referred to as the “Fashion District” since it is still the operations base for many major fashion labels and designers like Calvin Klein, Donna Karen, and Liz Claiborne.
Between 20th and 23rd Street, and Lexington and 6th Avenue
This neighborhood has the Flatiron Building to thank for its name. Constructed in 1902, the building was originally named the “Fuller Building”, but because of its clothing iron shape, the name “Flatiron” inevitably stuck.
Other names for the Flatiron District include “Silicon Alley”, which refers to the recent growth of technology startups in the area.
Between 40th and 53rd Street // 6th and 8th Avenue
In 1904, Adolph Oschs, former owner of The New York Times, convinced the mayor to change the name of the neighborhood to from “Longarch Square” to “Times Square” when he moved its headquarters there.
Today, the headquarters building is still towering over the area on 40th street and 8th avenue.
34th Street and 6th Avenue
Simple enough, this small but bustling fraction of the Garment District derived its name from the newspaper, The New York Herald, who had its headquarters in the area from 1835 to 1924.
Between West 4th and MacDougal Street // Fifth Avenue and Waverly Place
This public park and its surrounding neighborhood was named after the first president, George Washington. The notable Washington Square Arch that decorates the park’s entrance was built in 1889 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Washington’s inauguration.
Between 42nd and 53rd Street // Lexington Avenue and the East River
One explanation that historians offered for the origin of Turtle Bay is that a nearby creek connecting to the East River was home to a significant population of turtles.
However, the Turtle Bay Association claims that the name came from the Dutch word “deutal” which means “bent blade”, describing the shape of the neighborhood.
Between 34th and 59th Streets // 8th and 12th Avenue
We saved the biggest mystery for last! Though unclear, there are several widely accepted explanations for how this once gritty and crime-prevalent neighborhood was named “Hell’s Kitchen”.
A common theory is that the area was named after the “Hell’s Kitchen Gang”, which was a local gang in the early 20th century responsible for many accounts of organized crime in the City.
Another theory points the origin to a cop who, while watching a violent riot in the neighborhood, commented, “This place is hell itself!” to which his partner replied, “Hell is a mild climate. This is hell’s kitchen.”
Between Houston and Canal Street // 6th Avenue and Crosby Street
SOuth of HOuston Street
Between Houston and 8th Street // Broadway and Cooper Square
NOrth of HOuston Street
Between 25th and 30th Street // 6th and Lexington Avenue
NOrth Of MADison Square
Between Broome and Houston // Bowery and Lafayette
NOrth of LIttle ITAly
Between Canal and Fulton Streets // Broadway and North End Avenue
TRIangle BElow CAnal Street
Did any of these surprise you? Share these fun facts with your friends!