6. Sections of the Belt Parkway have ceremonial names

Gingerbread House in Brooklyn
Bay Ridge is home to a large population of Scandinavian-Americans.

The stretch of the parkway between Fort Hamilton Parkway to Knapp Street is named after Leif Ericson, perhaps the first European to set foot on the American continent. Shore Parkway was renamed “Leif Ericson Drive” in 1969 by the City Council to acknowledge the large Scandinavian population in nearby Bay Ridge. In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaimed October 9 as “Leif Ericson Day” to honor the heritage of Norwegian New Yorkers, many of whom have ancestors who arrived in New York in 1825. Two other Parks Department properties in Brooklyn are named after the explorer: Leif Ericson Park and Square lie on five blocks between 66th and 67th Streets, and a namesake playground opened in 1936 nearby.

Over two decades later, the state legislature named the section between Coney Island and Laurelton the “POW-MIA Memorial Parkway.” This section honors prisoners of war and those missing in action, as well as their families.