© Frank H. Jump
There is much debate over the etymology of this road’s designation. Varken simply means “pig” or “hog” in Dutch and is attributed to any domestic swine (or person resembling one). Varkensvlees means “pork meat” as well. Hook, which the English adapted from the Dutch “hoek” does mean corner. Now if in fact this was a place where pigs were either sold or slaughtered is up for speculation. There is a Varkens Hoek in Suid Afrika (South Africa).
Another Dutch appellation suffix which often appears in New York place names is Kill (as in Fresh Kill or Fish Kill – which could mean “fisherman’s cove”) may derive from the Dutch word kuil. In modern colloquial Dutch, kuil could mean “pot hole,” but can be used for any dent or cave (as in a caved in beehive hairdo), ditch, or perhaps “inlet” or small waterway one may have come across when exploring uncharted territories. Vischers Hook – as mentioned in the Flatlands history below – may mean “fisherman’s corner.” A fishing hook would be vissen haak.
Varkens Hook Road, which runs roughly north/south, now only stretches the length of one block between Farragut and Glenwood Roads (both of which take an odd and unannounced jog south after East 56th Street due to the bisection by the commercial railroad that runs from the Canarsie Market to the Brooklyn Waterfront – see map) but was three times longer according to archival maps dating from the early 20th-century (see below). While travelling east, Glenwood suddenly becomes Farragut and Avenue H becomes Glenwood. Shortly after, you will find Varkens Hook Road.
Creator(s): G.W. Bromley & Co. — Publisher
Plate 37: [Bounded by E. 103rd Street, Avenue M., E. 104th Street, Avenue N., E. 98th Street, Skidmore Avenue, E. 96th Street, Canarsie Road Avenue, Schenck Avenue, E. 92nd Street, Denton Avenue, E. 93rd Street, Seaview Avenue, Skidmore Avenue, E. 82nd Street, Avenue L., E. 84th Street and Foster Avenue.]
Alternate Title: Plate 37: Part of Section 24.
In: Atlases of New York city. > Atlas of the borough of Brooklyn, city of New York : from actual surveys and official plans by George W. and Walter S. Bromley. (published 1907-1908)
The Paedergats get their names from the Dutch as well. Paerde is the archaic Dutch form of paarden meaning “horse’s,” and gat means “hole” or gap. Perhap the name is a slang for a horse’s stall since the Paerdegats resemble horse stalls. An excerpt of the history of Early Brooklyn with [my additions] in dark red:
Much of Jamaica Bay’s western shore as well as adjacent islands fell within the jurisdiction of the town generally known after the English conquest in 1664 as Flatlands. The Dutch, who first called their village Achtervelt [literally translated as “behind field”] and then Amesfort [Amersvoort] originally founded one of the oldest communities in Long Island, Flatlands. The Dutch also referred to the settlement simply as “de Baye.”
Several local historians claim Flatlands began as early as 1624, but its origins more accurately should be dated as of 1636, when Andries Huddie and Wolfert Gerretse made a purchase from the Canarsie Indians. A small settlement developed at a point near the later intersection of Flatbush and Flatlands avenues. The records of the 1636 purchase, a patent in the following year from the governor of New Netherlands, and other documents produced during the Dutch period fail to delineate the boundaries of the town in a manner intelligible to the modern reader. A clearer description of Flatlands, at least respecting its bay front, appears in a confirmation granted by the English governor, Dongan, in 1685. That document essentially asserted the town’s title to the land between Strome Kill and Creek, now Gerritsen’s Creek, on the southwest and Fresh Kill in the northeast.
The bulk of the contents of the Flatlands patent lay inland, the location of most of the farms and homes. However, parts of the bay front received the residents’ early and continued attention. The most important of these, between Bestovers or Befords Creek and Fresh Kill, was generally known as Canarsie, but also called Flatlands Neck, Vischers Hook, and Great Neck. Names were given to specific parcels of land within this area: Canarsie Point; New Utrecht Meadows, located south of Indian Creek; and Varkens Hook Meadows, between Irish and Bedford creeks. South of Canarsie were the Great Meadows, on Bedford Creek; Bergen Island; and the other islands extending to and including Barren Island. ¹
¹ National Parks Website: History & Culture – Online Books-
JAMAICA BAY: A HISTORY; Gateway National Recreation Area; New York, New Jersey; Cultural Resource Management Study No. 3; Frederick R. Black – Associate Professor of History, C. W. Post Center, Long Island University for the Division of Cultural Resources, North Atlantic Regional Office; National Park Service; U.S. Department of Interior; Washington, D.C., 1981
Electronic Transcription; Formatting and Editing, James L. Brown; Gateway National Recreation Area, 2001 PDF:
Kevin Walsh’s Forgotten-NY’s: Canarsie Alleys