Turtle Bay Gardens circa 1920. Photo from Library of Congress.
Midtown Manhattan’s Turtle Bay encompasses the area between 41st and 53rd streets east of Lexington Avenue, including the United Nations headquarters and the Chrysler Building. While it may not have old glass bottles or destroyed ferry remnants like Dead Horse Bay, Turtle Bay does have secrets of a different nature.
10. It Was Likely Named For Its Knife-Like Shape
A map of Manhattan from 1878. Though Turtle Bay was once knife-shaped, it evened out by the time of this map. Image via Wikimedia Commons
It all started with the 17th century arrival of the Dutch in Turtle Bay. Historians still debate the precise origins of the name “Turtle Bay,” but many have proposed that it comes from the Dutch word deutal, which meant a “bent blade.” This would be in reference to the bay’s knife shape.
However, others believe the name derived from the bay’s turtle-filled creek (once called DeVoor’s Mill Creek), once located at 47th street. Turtles thus became a popular source of food for the Dutch during the time.