Greenpoint’s spine, Manhattan Avenue, was once called Union Avenue, likely named for the 1863 Union Baptist Church on Noble Street or the Union Porcelain Works, founded by Thomas Smith in the 1860s and whose mansion still stands at 136 Milton Street.
Eventually the name was changed to Manhattan Avenue to differentiate it from the “other” Union Avenue that runs on a north-south route through Williamsburg. There, Manhattan Avenue was once called Ewen Street.
Can you imagine a street in Manhattan called “Brooklyn Avenue”? I can’t.