Western Brooklyn

Bensonhurst’s Nickname Archive

Source: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration via Wikimedia Commons

Growing up in Bensonhurst, rarely anyone I knew went by their real names. From Joey Sticks to Chewy Louie, nicknames are a regular part of neighborhood lore.

Dave Mandl, writer for the “Wire, the Believer, the Rumpus, the Register, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, the Village Voice and literally millions of other publications,” as well as the music editor at the Brooklyn Rail and host of a weekly radio show, “World of Echo,” at WFMU has deep Brooklyn roots. He often posts about his childhood spent roaming around the streets of Southern Brooklyn.

In his latest musing for Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood, an online publication that gathers original stories from all over New York City, he has compiled an incredible collection of the nicknames he can recall the kids in his neighborhood had from 1966 – 1980. He also provides explanations as to why kids carried these weird, yet somehow familiar, monikers.

Among the jewels, he lists:

Joey All-Star because “Joey was a congenital liar who was constantly bragging about what a great athlete he was. In fact he wasn’t very good at all.”

Seedy Edie because “Edie was a middle-aged woman who dealt pot out of her apartment, a block away from the police station. Everyone in the world knew about her, so we assumed she had some kind of arrangement with the cops. The low-quality weed she sold was allegedly full of seeds.”

Take a look at his list and tell us your favorite childhood nicknames.