Naming Gotham: The Villains, Rogues & Heroes Behind New York's Place Names


Product Details

$23.99  $22.31
History Press
Publish Date
6.12 X 8.98 X 0.49 inches | 0.98 pounds

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About the Author

Rebecca Bratspies is a longtime resident of Astoria, Queens. She is a professor at CUNY School of Law. A scholar of environmental justice and human rights, Rebecca has written scores of law review articles; four other books, including Environmental Justice: Law Policy and Regulation; and three environmental justice comic books: Mayah's Lot, Bina's Plant and Troop's Run (with Charlie LaGreca-Velasco). She serves on NYC's Environmental Justice Advisory Board and EPA's Children's Health Protection Advisory Committee, is a scholar with the Center for Progressive Reform and is a member of the NYC Bar Environmental Committee. ABA-SEER honored her work with its Commitment to Diversity and Justice Award.


In the rush of daily life, we tend to traverse our communities with little awareness of the visions, struggles and travails of those who shaped vital structures or whose lives are memorialized in their names. For the world's greatest metropolis, Rebecca Bratspies has helped fill that awareness gap by crafting an illuminating guide to the people behind New York City's transportation, recreational and institutional landmarks. -Andrew Revkin, journalist and co-author with George Steinmetz of The Human Planet: Earth at the Dawn of the Anthropocene

Rebecca Bratspies' "Naming Gotham" presents a sometimes dishy, sometimes disturbing, always fascinating look at the lives of the men and women whose names grace New York City's neighborhoods, roads, bridges, stadiums and monuments. In telling these individual stories she illuminates the history of the city itself, a place shaped by privateers and slave traders, indigenous sachems (chiefs) and farmers, social reformers, socialites, furriers, lawyers, athletes, and others, all of whom lived lives that were big enough to leave a permanent mark on the Big Apple. This deeply researched but never dry or academic look at NYC will delight both visitors and New Yorkers alike, and give them a lot to think about as they walk, ride and drive around the city. -Pauline Frommer, author Frommer's New York City Day by Day and Frommer's EasyGuide to New York City

I could not stop reading this book. -Christine B. Harrington, NYU Professor of Politics

As we play in the parks or drive down the highways, as we travel the bridges or live in the neighborhoods, the names of our favorite spots become part of our everyday language - but we never stop to think about them. In "Naming Gotham," Rebecca Bratspies brings those names - and the people behind them - to life. In a dynamic and lively way, Bratspies beautifully captures the personalities and history behind the amazing landmarks and places we call home. And after reading Bratspies' well-researched, wonderfully-told tale, and learning the good, bad and ugly within each story, we'll likely never look at New York City the same way again. - Randi Marshall, Queens mom and writer