Greenpoint, October, 2015

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Rapelye of My Eye

Corner of Rapelye and BQE
There are markers for some of the major streets the BQE is passing below, like Queens Boulevard, and some it is passing over, like Vanderbilt Avenue or Union Street. This sign for Rapelye St. is different though, just a regular NYC street sign poking up just enough to be visible to BQE drivers just before the bridge over the Gowanus Canal.

The Rapelje Children (1768)
Yesterday, with traffic backed up from the Prospect Expressway, I decided to get off at Atlantic Avenue and work my way through Red Hook, Carroll Gardens, and Sunset Park on local streets. Worked pretty well, and I got to check out Rapelye. Just a couple of quiet blocks, its tongue twister name comes from the family name Rapelye, or Rapelje. These early settlers of New Amsterdam came from Spanish Netherlands (figure that one out) in 1624. They settled first in what would become Albany, then Manhattan, and finally Brooklyn (or Breukelen), becoming the first hipsters to make the move from Downtown Manhattan to Brooklyn.

Maybe it's a good thing the borough or city took its name from the family, Rapelye Town? We might all speaking Walloon instead of English.

1 comment:

  1. Somebody referred to the Rapeljes as the Adam and Eve of the new world--Shorto maybe?