In this ongoing series, we dig into the history of how Brooklyn neighborhoods got their names. In most cases, names come way back from when the Dutch settled Brooklyn in the 1600s and remain a testament to the borough’s rich history. Keep reading for the stories behind the names of Bay Ridge, Carroll Gardens, Flatlands and Fort Greene.

Bay Ridge
When the Dutch settled the area in the 17th century, they created two adjacent villages called Yellow Hook and Fort Hamilton. Yellow Hook was named after the yellow color of the soil, and Fort Hamilton was named after the military installation in the area. Both villages began to develop between the 1830s and 1850s, with a resort and residences replacing what was previously farmland. But both neighborhoods were struck by yellow fever throughout the 19th century, an unfortunate coincidence given the name of “Yellow Hook.” In response, community leaders decided to change the neighborhood name all together. A local horticulturist suggested “Bay Ridge” because of the area’s high ridge that looked out onto the New York Bay. As Bay Ridge, the neighborhood attracted wealthy residents who built mansions overlooking the water.

Photo of Bay Ridge by Jim.henderson via Wikipedia