Vinegar Hill is a very small neighborhood in Brooklyn which is just east of the Manhattan Bridge. Brownstone buildings and “Belgian-block streets that haven’t yet been asphalted,” adds to much of the appeal of the neighborhood as reported by Forgotten-NY.com (1). Still, where did the name Vinegar Hill originate? What does it mean? Is it really all about the repugnant liquid?
Actually, no. Vinegar Hill got its name from John Jackson. Jackson purchased the land and “hoped to attract Irish immigrants (so he) named the tract Vinegar Hill after the site of a fierce battle in the Irish Rebellion of 1798.” The name “Vinegar Hill” was “an English translation of a Gaelic term meaning “hill of the wood of the berries.”
Even though Vinegar Hill has remained largely untouched by commercial interests, much like the rest of New York City and Brooklyn, the region which once was Vinegar Hill has gentrified.
Still, the next time you’re crossing the Manhattan Bridge or you’re visiting your friends in Vinegar Hill you can tell them just where the term came from!