I guess naming your kid Staten Island doesn’t have the same ring to it

This morning, Babycenter released their list of the top 100 baby names of the decade and one name in particular stands out to me:


Brooklyn appears on the list of the fastest growing girl’s names of the year.

Yes, I know we’re so fabulous in the borough immortalized by Miranda’s move here with Steve, and the Crown Heights riots but really? Brooklyn?

I’m wondering how many of those parents have even been to New York’s most populous borough. Hell, half my friends in Manhattan haven’t even been here. (Crossing a river! Scary!)

Surely as these sleepy, giddy new parents gaze down at their newborn baby girl and coo, Aw, little Brooklyn Goldstein, they imagine the sanitized-for-your-protect Brooklyn, the one immortalized on TV and in Woody Allen movies. The one that always takes place on the Promenade along the East River, where the dashing if rumpled hero kisses the trendy leading lady in the shadow of the glorious Brooklyn Bridge just before we rack focus from their embrace to the iconic skyline of lower Manhattan. (And then the director yells cut and a rat runs across their feet.)

For those of you considering jumping on this “hot naming trend,” allow me enlighten you some of things your baby daughter’s name brings to mind to those of us who actually live in the (718) and buy our flowers from a subway station:

– Jehovah’s Witnesses
Yes, Brooklyn is the promised land, at least if you’re a member of The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society which owns the better part of Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO and pretty much holds court on the Promenade. It’s not unusual to find a wide-eyed smiling family clutching bibles walking around looking for unsuspecting tourists to converse with; and then to find Nate right there in their faces, asking them if they realllly think that Noah made it to Australia and back to drop off the kangaroos in less than 40 days.

The Gowanus Canal (photo: Stephen Nessen)

Breathe in–really deeply. That’s right, very good. Smell that?


-The woman who gave me the finger in Gristedes because I got to the checkout line before she did.

America’s Favorite Burlesque Game Show
It was stiff competition, but this Brooklyn based burlesque game show was deemed the clear favorite in a qualitative study of the viewing habits of burlesque game show aficionados. 

-Uh, this.

-The mysterious puddles on the A/C subway platform

The most hated parents in the world.
Specifically, those in Park Slope. I’m not there so I’m safe. Only people who name their children Brooklyn will hate me now.

[photo credit]


50 thoughts on “I guess naming your kid Staten Island doesn’t have the same ring to it”

  1. (And then the director yells cut and a rat runs across their feet.)

    hee hee.

    Is this all Victoria Beckham's fault?

  2. Not that this is the most important item in your post but, I'm pretty sure that map of is made by Ork.

  3. I first heard the name Brooklyn when I had a student by that name in late 2001 (this was a college class, so she was probably 18 or 19 then). I remember being like, “That's really your name? REALLY?” Since then, it's gotten super popular for baby girls. I don't get it. Why not Queens? Ooh ooh! Or combine: Bronxlyn… Ooooohhh.

  4. i know a brooklyn who is almost 30 now. when i met her it was not trendy at all, but rather lovely and special. i lived in (many different parts of) brooklyn for many years, then moved back across the river. i miss it sometimes.

  5. Um, ouch. We have good friends who now live in Vancouver, but are from Brooklyn. They named their daughter after their hometown.
    Guess I shouldn't tell you that my son's name is Trenton, huh? 😉
    I didn't think I'd be moving back to New Jersey, and liked the fact that it kept a little bit of my homestate close to my heart.
    But yes, Staten Island will take awhile to get used to if anyone dares to use it 😉

  6. I think it's the South's attempt at making their blessed “two name” tradition more mainstream.

    Brook Lynn suddenly because Brooklyn and now it's hip! cool! hot!

    Forget the Beckhams. Blame the South. It's waaay more fun.

  7. I find the whole place as baby name trend fascinating. I get Sydney and Paris–two beautiful, semi-exotic destinations. I even “went with” a guy names Milan in the 7th grade. But Brooklyn? Madison? Not exactly tourist destinations. Maybe Albany, Cincinnati and Nashville will have their moment soon?

  8. I know five Brooklyns – all around six years old, all blonde, blue eyed Utah girls. I guess if you are from American Fork, Utah, Brooklyn sounds pretty exotic :>

  9. OMG Brooklyn Goldstein. There are some first names that just shouldn't go with the Jewish last names (I can say this because I'm Jewish.) When naming our children we would always say… And now, we call to the bima… uhm Forrest Schwartz? It doesn't have a good ring. Before you know it, we'll have a million Tenafly Rubensteins running around the preschool. Oy!

  10. I like Brooklyn, but then I named my daughter Vegas so I'm pretty sure I'm off the list anyway. 😉

  11. @selfmademom – Tenafly Rubenstein, I nearly choked on my wine. That's freaking awesome (says the mom who used to take her daughter to Tenafly Pediatrics).

    For me, Brooklyn = Welcome Back Kotter

  12. I live and grew up in NJ very close to a notorious city (where I used to teach) and the city has it's own popular naming trend, though dwarfed by Brooklyn to be sure. Camden probably sounds like a nice name if you are from Arizona or something, but man.. if you've ever been there?

  13. My friend's sister named her baby after what she could view out of her apartment window…


    Oh. Em. Gee.

    So, yeah, I don't get it either.

  14. We know twins named Hudson & Jordan. My sister asked if their last name was Rivers. Thankfully, it isn't.

  15. Maggie, better than Amazon I guess?

    Although Rhone sort of has a regal feel to it. No doubt they're all a bit cleaner than Gowanus.

  16. A very good friend of mine is giving birth tomorrow afternoon to a beautiful baby girl…Her name will be Harlem..Harlem will join big sister Brooklyn and baby dog Bronx…I guess its their own way of honoring a place both parents love…

  17. NPR did a whole thing a year or two ago on people with place names and the high coincidence rate of women named Virginia living in Virginia. I just thought it was interesting. Also, my son's name is Sydney. Introductions are often followed by, “like Australia?” Well, yes, but we actually named him after his great grandfather Sidney and just switched out the i for a y. And finally, I almost choked when I met a little girl name Breuklyn. No, she's not Dutch. Her parents are just freaks for history.

  18. I live in Beantown and I have met THREE babies named Boston, Bostyn (which makes me want to kinda slap their parents) and Bostin (whereby the child never gets into college). To top it off, I have a niece named Brooklyn and cousins named Austin and Dallas. Not a huge fan. I can get over it for the love a family member, but in general, not a fan at all.

  19. You know what this post made me think of? Ned and Lois from General Hospital, and the fact that they (which really means Lois, because Ned kind of just let her do whatever she wanted) “Brook Lynn.” Because Lois was from Brooklyn.

    This could mean I'm overly obsessed with General Hospital.

    1. Same! I bet if we tried hard enough, we could trace this stupid trend right back to GH. I wonder what all those hipper-than-thou parents would think when they found out their baby name originated with a soap opera…

  20. My British husband could never get why so many Americans named their children after a London Tube Station.

    (As for Madison & Quincy, I don't think people are naming them for the cities, so much as naming them for the persons the cities were named after? At least the first dozen or so. The other thousands? Sheep.)

  21. I know a New Yorker who moved to NC, and named his twin daughters Charlotte & Caroline.

  22. Nil Zed – The popularity of Madison is generally traced to GenX moms who grew up watching the movie Splash, where Daryl Hannah, as a mermaid, decided to name herself Madison–after seeing a street sign for the avenue in Manhattan.

    I believe Tom Hanks's line in response was, “Madison! That's not a name!”

  23. In my 9th grade english class, I was made fun of because as I finished the book A Tree Grows In Brooklyn during a silent reading session, tears rolled down my face. I proclaimed that day that I would name my daughter Brooke Lynne which we all thought was very funny because Brooklyn was most certainly not a name in 1987. The other name I selected that year was Haleakala, inspired by a family vacation in Hawaii. Thankfully I did not procreate until my 30s. I'd like to see the popular name list segmented by age of parent. Are the Brooklyns of the nation primarily parented by 9th graders?

  24. Ohhhh yeah.

    I know a girl here named Brooklin.

    Every time I see it spelled, it's like nails on a chalkboard. If you're going to go and name your kid that, at least have the decency to spell it right.

  25. When people annoy me about what we're naming the baby, I just throw out “Staten Island Riki Tiki Tavi [Lastname].” That usually shuts them up.

  26. True story: in my college latin class there was a girl named Candy. Her last name, quite seriously, was Kiss. She may have become a stripper, I'm not sure, but I bet she's DYING to be named something like Brooklyn, or even, yes, Bostin.

  27. I wouldn't name my kid Brooklyn because A) there are too many and B) I live here and I think that makes it tacky. But I have no problem with people using it as a name and think you are overplaying the bad. Have some Brooklyn pride! This place ROCKS. Didn't you see us on Martha Stewart? I had tears in my eyes as she shopped the Flea. It's NOT AT ALL like naming a kid Detroit, for God's sake. Heh.

  28. Could be worse. You could name your kid “Loris” because you couldn't choose between Lola or Maris. 🙂

  29. Being a Jersey girl myself, I am similarly horrified when I hear of a darling little “Trenton” or “Camden”.

  30. Bostin? Reminds me of a conversation I had with another mom once. We could only shake our heads at how someone turned Kennedy into KENADI. And while I thoroughly enjoyed reading all of the comments on this post I have to admit when I was a kid I named my hamster Camden and my first dog Aikia after the store Ikea. And I’m from Brooklyn. Bahahahaha! Too funny. But my kids have totally normal names. I promise 🙂

Comments are closed.