Geographer and writer Joshua Jelly-Schapiro has a sharp appreciation for place, history, and the stories we tell to give meaning to our lives. All of these are present in his new book Names of New York: Discovering the City’s Past, Present and Future Through Its Place Names, published by Pantheon.
Place names hold stories, Jelly-Schapiro argues, and Names of New York contains many narratives--from how Europeans garbled Native American place names to the story behind Dead Horse Bay to why New Yorkers give so many streets honorary names. “If landscape is history made visible,” he concludes, “the names we call its places are the words we use to forge maps of meaning in the city.”
Before Names of New York, Jelly-Schapiro wrote Island People: The Caribbean and the World and created, with Rebecca Solnit, Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas. He has written for The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, and Harper’s and is scholar in residence at the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University.
Robert W. Snyder is Manhattan Borough Historian and professor emeritus of American Studies and Journalism at Rutgers University. He is the author of Crossing Broadway: Washington Heights and the Promise of New York (Cornell, paperback, 2019) and co-author of All the Nations Under Heaven: Immigrants, Migrants and the Making of New York (Columbia, 2019). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Robert W. Snyder, Manhattan Borough Historian and professor emeritus of American Studies and Journalism at Rutgers University. Email: email@example.com.