Curlers Hook

EvaH

Senior Member
Czech
Hello,

in the book "Parrot and Olivier in America" by Peter Carey there is the following piece of text:

"Tonight will be your first night in America." he meant, although hi did not mention, Paradise Square, Black-and-Tan cabarets, Curlers Hook. "The art of pleasure," O'Hara cried.

One speaks about New York here. I understand that Paradise Square is a local name, Black-and-Tan cabarets are cabarets for both black and white people, but I don't have any idea what "Curlers Hook" is. Is it also a local name?? Could anybody help me, please?

Thanks.
EvaH
 
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  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Try searching for this term on the internet, Eva. It does seem to be some sort of local name, but you can probably find out what that is for yourself before anybody comes along who is familiar with the place.
     

    Fabulist

    Banned
    American English
    New York City originally having been the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, the area is full of Dutch-derived names. A "hook" is a point of land. Holland has the "Hoek van Holland"; New York has "Sandy Hook" at the entrance to Outer New York Bay.

    Googling "Curlers Hook" found only this thread, the original reference, and one other reference in Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New York with a footnote indicating that "Curler's Hook" was on Manhattan; the document in which the reference appeared was dated in 1643 and was presumably a translation from the Dutch.

    Searching "Curler's Hook" gets rather more references. It's apparently a variant spelling on "Corlaer's Hook." (A reference to a scanned book is to "Coriaer's Hook," but "Corlaer' is a Dutch family name and "Coriaer" is not; I am sure that "Coriaer" is a mis-scan.) Scanning the Google hits alone, and not following up each one, suggests that it was on the East River (the strait separating Manhattan from Long Island, between Hell Gate and Upper New York Harbor) on the Lower East Side, in the 7th Ward.

    It might have been a neighborhood where there were a lot of drinking establishments, or perhaps houses of prostitution. Further reading might illuminate it. Otherwise, the author is showing off his research while mystifying his readers.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    Hello, in the book "Parrot and Olivier in America" by Peter Carey there is the following piece of text:

    "Tonight will be your first night in America." he meant, although hi did not mention, Paradise Square, Black-and-Tan cabarets, Curlers Hook. "The art of pleasure," O'Hara cried.

    One speaks about New York here. I understand that Paradise Square is a local name, Black-and-Tan cabarets are cabarets for both black and white people, but I don't have any idea what "Curlers Hook" is. Is it also a local name?? Could anybody help me, please?
    An interesting question. There is a very odd mix of terminology and historical eras here:

    As Fabulist has pointed out, "Curlers Hook" appears to have been a geographical term referring, in the 17th century, to an area on the island of Manhattan. It doesn't seem to have been part of a city.

    Paradise Square was an area of New York City notorious in the mid-19th century for drinking, brawls, and prostitution; it has been gone for more than 125 years.

    "Black-and-tan" cabarets were, again, part of the past, but a different past, the early days of the 20th century, the "Jazz Age"—and they were chiefly characteristic of the city of Chicago rather than New York (although some were found here, as well).

    I can find no references to "Curlers Hook" other than those Fabulist has cited, either online or in my own library of historical works about the city.
     

    Fabulist

    Banned
    American English
    Searching on "Corlaer's Hook" gets plenty of modern references, including the name of a City of New York park and map references. The location is consistent with that of "Curlers Hook" and I am sure they are the same.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    Searching on "Corlaer's Hook" gets plenty of modern references, including the name of a City of New York park and map references. The location is consistent with that of "Curlers Hook" and I am sure they are the same.
    Thank you for turning up the possible alternative spelling. I now find Corlear's Hook [yes, "ea," not "ae"] in Mannahatta, the recently published "natural history" of the city. It was the site of one of the major British fortifications during the Revolution; it's located on a map as a hilly prominence along the East River in the area now called the Lower East Side. The Encyclopedia of New York City also uses that spelling and confirms it as a former name for the area. And there is indeed currently a tiny park there called, with a nod to US history, Corlears Hook Park [no apostrophe].

    None of the spellings turn up in contemporary descriptions of the city from the 1820s and 1860s that I happen to own. I believe that, however spelled, the name clearly long antedates the others cited and was likely not contemporary with "Paradise Square", surely not with "black-and-tan cabarets".
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    There is a "hook" in the sport of curling, though I am at a loss how that would fit in this context.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    There is a "hook" in the sport of curling, though I am at a loss how that would fit in this context.
    "Hooks" also occur in boxing (and one is used in crocheting), but I doubt there's any connection there, Packard. As Fabulist noted in his first post, "hook" almost certainly refers here to a point of land, and indeed that's confirmed by the old map.
     

    Fabulist

    Banned
    American English
    Thank you for turning up the possible alternative spelling. I now find Corlear's Hook [yes, "ea," not "ae"] in Mannahatta, the recently published "natural history" of the city.
    You're right, to an extent.

    I just redid the search for "Corlaer's Hook" and what Google gave me was hits for "Corlear's Hook"; apparently, I didn't notice the substitution the first time around.

    A search for the simple "Corlaer" gets hits in both the Netherlands and its former New-World colony, now known as New York State, including an elementary school and street in my original neck of the woods in Schenectady, New York. Given the reference I was following up, I am confident that the modern "Corlear's Hook" is in fact a misspelling of "Corlaer's Hook."

    This happens all the time. In the area I live in now, there is confusion between "Vier" and "Veir." One is a family name but the other is sometimes used in the place names, street names, etc. It's possible that the original family wasn't consistent in how it was spelled. In the case of Corlaer, however, I would expect the alternative to be Corlaar, not Corlear, since there seems to be some inconsistency between "aa" and "ae" in Dutch names.

    EDITED TO ADD: If you insist to Google on "Corlaer's Hook," you can also get hits, apparently to the same place as "Corlear's Hook." Some people know how to spell it, and some don't!:)
     
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