Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Frogma Gets Into Dutch!

Good morning!

At least it's morning as I'm writing this - so I must keep it quick. Just found something too cool not to share and anyways, it seems I'm the only one who in a less-than-wideawake moment mistook a Chesapeake Bay Race Heats Up link (that, I believe, was the actual phrase in the list of new articles) for sudden, inexplicable midwinter national-media interest in the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race, so since I've got something to put up to distract from my what-a-maroon moment - here it is!

Sorry, I said I was gonna keep it quick. So, getting to the point - that body of water shown above (which, yes, was just posted recently) is called the Paerdegat Basin. Jos, from the Racing Rules of Sailing blog, left a comment asking about the origins of the name & yes, Paerdegat is one of those frequent reflections of NYC's Dutch heritage. For that matter, so is Brooklyn - which started out as Breukelen - and my neighborhood of Flatbush, fka Vlatboes or Vladbos or Vlacht-Boes. Paerdegat just didn't get subjected to the Englification that the rest of them did. If it WAS spelled phonetically following the commonest pronunciation, it would be The Pattergat. I've been told that the word means Horse Gate, and was so called (sorry, horsepeople) because of the numerous glue factories in the area (that's also how the nearby Dead Horse Bay got it's name).

I was just going to put that in a comment, but I was curious to see if I could find at least verification of the Dutch meanings of Paerde and Gat - and I did better than that, I found a book from the New-York Historical Society with a whole slew of New York area names & the Dutch names from which so many of them are derived.

There's also an interesting comment about the term "North River" that's still in fairly common use as a name for the NYC section of the Hudson. I'd been told that it was called North River for the eminently sensible reason that the Hudson is the river you take if you want to go north - this one also makes sense. No time to research now, just interesting to see another explanation.

Starts near the end of Page 91.

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