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New York's Top 5 Strangest Town Names

By Colleen Colkitt

There are certain town names that just make us laugh and scratch our heads, wondering how on earth they got their name. Some towns in New York have the strangest names! With a closer look at the history of the land, it becomes clear to us how some towns came to be. Here are the top 5 towns that made our list for funky names!


This Western New York town was formed in 1829 from Amherst, a neighboring town. It's in Erie County, and the land's Native American origin had a major contribution to Cheektowaga's naming. It comes from the Iroquoian word Ji-ik-do-wa-gah, which means "The place of the crab apple tree". This town was formerly known as "Chictawauga", a name given by the Seneca Native Americans.


This one made the odd list because it's definitely tricky to say three times fast! Ronkonkoma is on Long Island in Islip, Suffolk County. Sometimes referred to as "Ronk", the town's body of water is Lake Ronkonkoma. It got its name from the Native Americans, an Algonquian phrase meaning boundary fishing-lake. There are town legends that involve the lake. Some say that a Native American princess fell in love with a European pilgrim. She was not allowed to be with the love of her life, and was forced into an arranged marriage. The love-sick Princess attempted to swim across the lake to find her lover, but drowned before she reached him. It is said she comes back every year to claim a man for her own, dragging him to the bottom of the lake with her.

3. Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy Hollow, New York is in Westchester, NY along the Hudson River. It's only about a thirty miles away from Manhattan. This little town used to be known as North Tarrytown, but in 1996 it was referred to as Sleepy Hollow. The town's people actually voted to have it changed to Sleepy Hollow after Washington Irving's famous story, The Legend of the Sleepy Hollow. Irving is also buried in the cemetery at Sleepy Hollow.

2. Muttontown

Muttontown sounds like the perfect place for dog lovers -- Doesn't the name sound like stray dogs wander the streets? It may also conjure up visions of a rundown place with fleas rampant, but this area is actually fairly affluent. The town is in Nassau County, NY, which is near Long Island. Muttontown gets its name from its use of pasturage for sheep in the past. Tell that one to your friends!

1. Neversink

This town made number one for oddest town names in the state of New York because it's weirdly optimistic and it sounds like it could be a song title or lyric! Neversink, New York is located in Sullivan County. It's in the Northeast of New York, and the Neversink River runs right through the middle of the town. This special river is where fly fishing originated. Another reason this town is number one, is because a part of Neversink actually sunk. It was submerged under high water to form a reservoir as part of New York City's water system. The name couldn't be more ironic, and it might just be enough to make it a stop on your next road trip.

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