An Obvious Observation by 17th-Century Sailors: How Greenpoint Got Its Name

An undated image, likely from the 1910s, of Manhattan Avenue. Photo via Ephemeral New York


Brownstoner takes on Brooklyn history in Nabe Names, a series of briefs on the origins and surprising stories of neighborhood nomenclature.

Brooklyn’s northernmost neighborhood, Greenpoint is known for its Polish heritage and waterfront views.

Located closer to Manhattan than parts of Brooklyn, the area boasts some of the city’s finest pierogis and loveliest cross-river views. While not quite within the brownstone belt, Greenpoint’s housing stock is quaint and historic, with plenty of townhouses mixed in with the old factories and new condo towers.

Architectural highlights in the neighborhood include a plethora of landmarked churches as well as New York’s oldest continuously operating public school.

Greenpoint is named for its lush topography. Sailors traveling past the nabe in the 17th century were struck by a grassy point jutting out past the shoreline — a point of green. Later, the title was applied to the entire neighborhood.


Photo by Mary Hautman


Photo via the Brooklyn Historical Society

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