What’s In a Name? Neighborhood Edition

A Dutch director-general of New Amsterdam, Wouter Van Twiller, built a large tobacco plantation in what is now Greenwich Village.

A Dutch director-general of New Amsterdam, Wouter Van Twiller, built a large tobacco plantation in what is now Greenwich Village.

Off the Grid has featured many posts about some of the place names within Greenwich Village and the East Village, including Bleecker Street, Taras Shevchenko Place, and Father Demo Square. So a series of posts on how some Manhattan neighborhoods have gotten their names, particularly Greenwich Village, caught our eye.

A post on the website Mental Floss has short entries on both Greenwich Village and the Meatpacking District. A post on the blog Bowery Boys has a fuller history of the Greenwich Village neighborhood. Both reference the several names Greenwich Village had in its past, including Sapokanikan, the Native American trading post located in what is now known as the Meatpacking District, on the shore of the Hudson River and the Dutch names Noortwyck (north of the city proper) and Gren’wijck (a name meaning Pine District). And of course both conjecture on how the Anglicized version we use today came to be. Want a little more history of the neighborhood? Take a look at GVSHP’s history of the area, from the days when it was known as Sapokanikan through today on the GVSHP website. Or read GVSHP’s report on the more recent history of the Meatpacking District, or its other name, Gansevoort Market.


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avatar Sheryl Woodruff is GVSHP's Senior Director of Operations.