You live here, you love it, why not take inspiration from our great city when deciding what to name your kids? The options seem limitless, with history-makers, magnates, and iconic figures from every era and discipline, all hailing from, or making their mark on the Big Apple. We rounded up some of the usual suspects and classics, and also looked for some fresh kids’ that pay tribute to NYC. Read on for our favorite New York City-inspired baby names, and start planning!

Apollo

Sure, it’s a lot to live up to, what with the god of the sun thing and all—but aim high and pay tribute to this legendary Harlem theater at the same time.

Apple
With apologies to Gwyneth and Chris, we were the first Apple. Go big!

Astoria/Astor

One of several neighborhood-inspired names on this list, Astoria is named for John Jacob Astor, a wealthy early 19th century investor in NYC real estate, but we think it sounds almost Disney-princess-like. Astor is also kind of royal.

Audrey

Yes, Hepburn is strongly associated with NYC thanks to her iconic role of Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but we’re thinking of Audrey Munson, model for scores of major statues around New York City, including the figure atop the Manhattan Municipal Building—second tallest in the city, after Lady Liberty.

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Bill Cunningham

Have twins? Name one Bill, one Cunningham, and know that you are paying tribute to one of the most amazing New Yorkers ever to traverse, and document the city.

Baldwin

Inspired by African-American poet from Harlem, this is an alternate to his first name James. 

Brighton

A name pegged to a famous Brooklyn beach and neighborhood with Russian and Eastern European roots.

Brooklyn

What might have seemed unusual at some point is now in danger of being too common. Still, it’s a great borough and the name shows true Kings County pride!

Cab

In addition to the omnipresent vehicle, Cab Calloway was a major figure in the Harlem Renaissance. (We also like “Taxi” for a cute girl’s nickname, but it’s not as subtle.)

Carnegie

As in the Hall, named for steel magnate, businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.

Coney

Employ it as a nickname (for Cornelius?) or use it as a standalone, this one has lots of south Brooklyn spirit.

photo: New York Historical Society

Ed

A name that seems ripe for a comeback, this one pays homage to one of the most iconic, recognizable, “New Yorkiest” mayors the city has ever had, Ed Koch.

Eloise

Sure, she’s a fictional character, but she’s one of the most famous little New Yorkers out there!

Fran/Frances/Francis

Fran Liebowitz has got to be one of the New Yorkiest New Yorkers out there.

Frederick (Law Olmsted)

Take your pick (and level of pretentiousness) with any part of the famed landscape architect’s name. (He’s one of the masterminds behind the designs for Central Park and Prospect Pack. For extra geek points and eyerolls, go for twins or siblings name Olmsted and Vaux, the name of his partnership with Calvert Vaux.)

George Gershwin

Either one! The groundbreaking composer was born in East New York, Brooklyn and became a major force on the legendary Tin Pan Alley, Broadway, and beyond.

Gracie

A nod to the official New York City mayoral residence, Gracie Mansion, named for early 19th century businessman (and original owner of the house) Archibald Gracie.

Gray Lady

It’s the historic nickname of the paper that publishes “All the news that’s fit to print”—either could be the name of your New York City kid.

Greenwich

Inspired by the artsy downtown village, this name offeras a nice mix of funky flair and subtle sophistication. (Like the neighborhood itself!)

 

Hamilton

You’ve heard of this guy. Founding father, first Treasurer of the United States of America, the man behind The U.S. Coast Guard, The New York Post, the Federalist party. And the blockbuster musical. He’s everywhere: Fort Hamilton Parkway, Fort Hamilton, etc.

Herald

A cheeky alternative to the more common spelling, “Harold”, this one references Herald Square, named for the long-gone newspaper, the New York Herald.

Herman

The author of Moby Dick (and other masterpieces) was born in New York, died in New York, and he’s buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. (For the record, we like Melville as a kid’s name, too.)

Hoyt

There’s Hoyt Street in Brooklyn, Hoyt Avenue in Queens. They take their name from Edwin Hoyt, a 19th century NYC businessman.

Hudson

Already a popular moniker around these parts, this name pays tribute to a founder, the river named for the founder, etc. Plus, it’s got some gravitas.

Jackie

She wasn’t born here, but she made New York City her home. So much so they named a reservoir after her.

Jane

Shame on us if we didn’t suggest one of the champions of preserving so many parts of the city we love, Jane Jacobs.

Jennifer

Big in the 70s, then abandoned for Brittany and Ashley, Jennifer—here inspired by Jenny (Lopez) from the Bronx blocks herself—is primed for a resurgence

Lenny/Leonard

One’s a ground-breaking legendary downtown comedian  (Bruce, which you could also borrow), the other is the longtime music director of the New York Philharmonic, legendary composer, and more (Bernstein).

Lexington

Sounds fancy, can be shortened to “Lexy” or “Lex”. The famous NYC avenue gets its name from the Revolutionary War Battle of Lexington, which actually took place in Massachusetts, but it was a big one.

Liberty

An inspiring concept, a New York icon. It’s hard to go wrong with this one.

Lincoln

A name with some very strong historical associations, this is also the namesake of one of our city’s most revered and iconic cultural institutions. (Which, interestingly enough, did not definitely get its name from honest Abe.)

Lou/Louis

Two musical legends, of different genres. Go downtown cool and pay tribute to Lou Reed, or name-check jazz man Armstrong a New Orleans native who famously settled in Corona, Queens for decades. (You can still visit his house!)

Macy

It’s “The World’s Largest Store!”. And what kid wouldn’t get a kick out of “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade”, etc.?

Madison

It’s an avenue known around the globe, “The World’s Most Famous Arena”, a major park—all names that stem from the fourth president of the United States, James Madison.

Moses

It’s a heavy name, no matter how you slice it. Tap your inner urban planner (you have one, right?) and pay tribute to Robert Moses, who, love him or hate him, shaped the city we live in today.

Rocky/Rockefeller

A builder and benefactor of the city, a center of midtown. However you slice this name—inspired by philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr., it’s got presence and gravitas.

Roe

A shortened version of Roebling, the surname of the chief engineer of the Brooklyn Bridge and his wife Emily, who played a key role in the completion of the span after her husband fell ill.

Roxy

Similar, but different. S.L. “Roxy” Rosenthal actually worked with Rockefeller—he’s the showman behind Radio City Music Hall, the grand theater a stone’s throw from John D’s “City Within a City.”

Shirley

Just old fashioned enough to be in style again, this name pays tribute to Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman elected to Congress and the first woman and African American to seek the nomination for president of the United States of one of the two major political parties.

Smith

A well-known street in the Boerum Hill area of Brooklyn, the thoroughfare gets its name from one of the borough’s original mayors (back when it was its own city), Samuel Smith.

Teddy/Theo

Born here (Gramercy Park), Police Commissioner, Rough Rider, President of the United States. Take your pick with Theodore Roosevelt: Theo, Teddy, Roosevelt, Theodore

Tiffany

Not the singer, the iconic jewelry store. (Maybe mix it up and name your child Tiffany Audrey.)

Walt, Whitman

Hero of Brooklyn and free, wild spirits everywhere, this poet offers plenty of inspiration and variation: Walt, Whit, Whitman. They all sound good to us. (And hey! He's turning 200 this year!)

 

—Mimi O’Connor

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