Until the late 19th century, the Upper West Side consisted mainly of the suburb of Bloomingdale and some smaller villages, such as Carmanville (or Carmansville), Manhattanville, and Harsenville.
Another long-gone village was Strycker’s Bay, spanning present-day 86th Street to 96th Street. It took its name from an inlet at 96th Street that’s since been filled in.
“The elevated area of Bloomingdale that included Oak Villa was generally called Striker’s Bay, and was the heart of the wealthy suburb,” wrote Peter Salwen in Upper West Side Story.
“It reached roughly from merchant John McVickar’s sixty-acre estate at modern 86th Street, with its winding drive and large Palladian house, to St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, Bloomingdale’s second church, which stood above a pretty stream at 99th Street and Amsterdam Avenue.”
The name and its many spellings came from Gerrit Striker, who built a farm at 97th Street and Columbus Avenue.
What kind of hamlet was Strycker’s Bay? Probably a sleepy one, though there was a ferry to take residents downtown.
Later in the 19th century, the farmhouse became the Striker’s Bay Tavern, a “‘secluded little snuggery’ at the foot of a steep lane with a dock and, in later days, a small station of the Hudson River Railroad,” writes Salwen.
It sounds like quite a party spot. “The lawn by the river made a fine dance floor, and behind the house there were targets for shooting parties.”
Today the hamlet is gone, but the name survives as part of the Strycker’s Bay Neighborhood Council, which supports affordable housing, and the Strycker’s Bay Apartments on 94th Street.
[Maps: Strycker's Bay Neighborhood Council]