I have been going through a batch of photos from southern Staten Island I took in January 2020 I haven’t gotten around to using yet. Have you ever seen a name on a map and been mystified about how to pronounce it? “DeKalb” is pronounced with the L in Brooklyn and Illinois, but not in Georgia, for example. One name that has stumped me is Poillon Avenue, which runs from Annadale Road a few stops from its SIR station southeast to near the waterfront at Raritan Bay.
I can guess its original pronunciation was something like Pwa-YOHN, with a nasal “n” at the end, since the family name came from French Huguenot immigrant Jaques Pouillian, who was appointed a Richmond County justice in 1689 by Jacob Leisler. Over time the spelling changed, as it does for English names. But how do residents, decidedly non-French, pronounce Poillon these days? POI-lon maybe?
Seen here from Annadale Road, Poillon Avenue has residences on both sides, but for much of its run it plunges straight through Blue Heron Pond Park, which has six separate ponds, including two large ones, which are frequented by the blue herons of the park’s title. The ponds are part of a fairly large number of ponds in southern Staten Island in a series of reserves known as the Bluebelt. Others include Long Pond, Lemon Creek, Jack’s Pond, Kingfisher Pond and Wood Duck Pond.
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