My favorite book in the world is “History In Asphalt“, an encyclopedia of Bronx street names written by the late John McNamara. (All apologies to Philip Roth, Parkside Houses native Richard Price and Jesus Christ-Luke, John, etc. etc.) When you look at the Bronx around you, you see the Bronx around you. After spending time with this book, you can see the Bronx the way it is and the way it was.
“John Cruger, Sr., and John Cruger, Jr., were both mayors of New York. The father served 5 consecutive terms, from 1739 to 1744, and had emigrated from England at an early age. In 1698, he was engated as supercargo of a slave ship called the Prophet Daniel, which was captured by pirates and sold to an African chieftan. He, in turn, sold it to other white men who sailed it to South Africa, taking Cruger along as passenger. Eventually, the young man reached New York after two years and wrote an account of his adventures in A Voyage to Madagascar in the ship “Prophet Daniel.” Cruger became a sober businessman, although his connection with the slave trade in those days was reproached.
The avenue is laid out through what was the Hitchcock estate of 1870 around Boston Road, the Mace estate of 1868, and the Astor estate of the same date. At Bronxdale, it was called Brown Avenue and in Williamsbridge, it was called Timpson Avenue.” –John McNamara