Join Names of New York author Joshua Jelly-Schapiro for a virtual book launch event and discover the surprising stories behind the names of places in New York City! Drawing on his background in cultural geography, Joshua Jelly-Schapiro excavates the wealth of stories that are embedded in New York City’s place-names and uses them to illuminate the power of naming to shape experience and our sense of place. He traces the ways in which the native Lenape, the Dutch settlers, the British invaders, and successive waves of immigrants have all left their marks on the city and continue to reshape it.

Names of New York Book Launch

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In this talk:

  • Uncover the fascinating stories behind NYC’s famous place-names
  • Learn how immigrants to NYC have shaped the naming of its streets and neighborhoods
  • Take part in a Q&A with author Joshua Jelly-Schapiro

In this talk, Joshua will explore how many New York place-names have accrued iconic significance far beyond the city’s boundaries. (“Brooklyn” is also the name of a notorious street gang in Haiti and of restaurants from New Zealand to Paris, and is among the top fifty names for girls in America.) In his new book Names of New York, Jelly-Schapiro interviews the last living speakers of Lenape, tours the harbor’s many out-islands with a tugboat captain, and meets with the linguists at the Endangered Language Alliance, who study the estimated eight hundred languages now spoken in New York.

Photograph by Mirissa Neff

Joshua’s writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, and Harper’s, among many other publications. He is the author of Island People: The Caribbean and the World, the co-creator (with Rebecca Solnit) of Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas, and a scholar-in-residence at the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University, where he also teaches.

Names of New York Book Launch

Next, check out The Hidden Histories of 15 Street Names in NYC