Councilman David Yassky and the New-York Historical Society (the hyphen reflects the original form of the City’s name) today launched Brooklyn Revealed, a website that should prove a valuable resource for anyone interested in local history. By clicking on the interactive maps displayed on the site, visitors can learn historic details about various Brooklyn neighborhoods. More details are on the Society’s press release, following the jump.
The New-York Historical Society expanded its curriculum and its walls today with the launch of Brooklyn Revealed, a web-based interactive tour of Brooklyn’s historic neighborhoods. This innovative site allows students, educators and the general public to explore Brooklyn through historical accounts and photographs from the New-York Historical Society Library Collection, and to compare past locales with the present. Visitors are also offered fascinating explanations of the origins of more than 100 Brooklyn street names.
“The New-York Historical Society is grateful for generous funding provided by Councilman David Yassky,” said Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of N-YHS. “We laud his leadership, enthusiasm and ongoing support in bringing Brooklyn Revealed to fruition. We look forward to continuing our partnership on future projects.”
“Brooklyn Revealed will bring the rich history of Brooklyn directly into the homes of all New Yorkers in a truly innovative way,” said Council Member David Yassky. “This interactive website will provide a venue through which we can engage our children in how Brooklyn has evolved, and allow for the dynamic exchange of knowledge and ideas that helps define our great borough.”
Brooklyn Revealed offers a glimpse of the important people, places, and events in the borough’s history. Visitors may click on an individual neighborhood on the overlay map of the site’s home page to learn more about it and to explore historic photographs taken in the neighborhood. Brooklyn was originally comprised of six independent towns largely settled by Dutch and English colonists in the mid-seventeenth century: Bushwick, Flatbush, Flatlands, Gravesend, New Utrecht, and Brooklyn. The British seized New Netherlands in 1664, and in 1683 united the six towns as Kings County, one of the original counties of the Colony (and later State) of New York. Visitors to Brooklyn Revealed can explore the history of the original six towns and the neighborhoods into which they evolved.
By scrolling over individual photographs, visitors can find out how the streets depicted in the photograph got their names. The site features a list of 100 streets and the origins of their names. Below are a few examples:
Albermarle Road, taking its name from London’s Albermarle Road in the Borough of Kensington, named for the Duke of Albermarle.
Atlantic Avenue, originally a private avenue leading to Ralph Patchen’s farm on the East River, it was named Atlantic Street in 1855, and Atlantic Avenue in the 1870s.
Humboldt Street, named for naturalist Alexander von Humboldt.
Myrtle Avenue, the first Brooklyn street to be paved, it takes its name from the myrtle bushes that once grew in the area.
Powell Street, named for Samuel S. Powell, a Democratic mayor of Brooklyn in the mid-nineteenth century.
Sheepshead Bay Road, led to the village of Sheepshead Bay, named for the sheepshead, a kind of fish once found in its waters.
Visitors to the site are invited to submit their own ideas about how streets got their names, and are encouraged to submit the names and histories of streets not included on the site. A list of resources, recommended by N-YHS librarians, is available for those interested in pursuing their own research. Reference copies of the photographs may be printed directly from the site; high resolution prints and scans may be ordered through the N-YHS Department of Rights & Reproductions.