Remnants of old Manhattan live on in city parks

Bloomingdale Playground, a spit of land on Amsterdam Avenue and 104th Street, is a reminder that much of the west side was once known by Dutch settlers as Bloemendaal, or “valley of flowers.”

Bloemendaal turned into Bloomingdale once the British moved in. 

In 1703, an early highway called Bloomingdale Road was built. It eventually ran through today’s Upper West Side.

By 1900, Bloomingdale Road had become Broadway, and the Bloomingdale name forgotten.

Collect Pond was never a neighborhood name. But after the pond was filled in by the city in 1811, it eventually became the site of the notorious 19th century slum called Five Points.

[Illustration depicting Collect Pond in the late 18th century. What was once the city’s water source soon became a filthy, polluted body of water.]

Collect Pond Park, on Leonard Street off Lafayette Street, is all that’s left.

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11 Responses to “Remnants of old Manhattan live on in city parks”

  1. Peter Bennett Says:

    If you look closely (easier in the larger version of the illustration), you can see the reflection of the Tombs in the Collect Pond waters. The caption refers to the Tombs, which in the present day of the writing of the caption, would have existed at the water’s edge. Pretty cool!

  2. wildnewyork Says:

    Good eye. I love the way the caption describes the Tombs: “the present great gloomy pile of prison buildings.”

  3. petey Says:

    that’s spooky!

  4. West 72nd Street before the Dakota « Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] The Upper West Side was fast transitioning from a collection of villages such as Harsenville and Bloomingdale into a neighborhood of brownstones and apartment […]

  5. Edgar Allan Poe’s Upper West Side farmhouse « Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] a few hundred feet from the corner of 84th Street and St. Nicholas Boulevard, formerly the Bloomingdale Road,” the Times […]

  6. fivepointsguy Says:

    One hates to debate, but there is no reflection of The Tombs in this print. The caption reads “…occupying the site of the PRESENT gloomy pile of prison buildings…” The first Tombs wasn’t constructed until the 1830s, so there is no possibility that it could be reflected in the pond of 1796. Anyway, the first Tombs was built ON the landfill of the Collect Pond. This illustration was not drawn from life, but from memory, probably in the 1840s. (Later on the caption reads, “…WAS the scene in 1796…”) Until 1838, New York City’s main lock-up was The Bridewell, just south and west of The Collect. I hope this didn’t ruin anything… it’s still a lovely print!

  7. fivepointsguy Says:

    …or am I completely misreading everyone’s comments? (It wouldn’t be the first time!) 😉

  8. The Tombs: New York’s notoriously named prison | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] awaiting trial, occupied an entire block on Centre Street. Unfortunately constructed on swampy, stinky land over the polluted Collect Pond, it immediately began to sink into the […]

  9. Maurice Cory Says:

    The picture shows a primitive steamboat designed by John Fitch in the LATE 19th century. The Collect was filled in about 1810 (it took a long time to hand-level the hills surrounding it. So, there is NO reflection of The Tombs.

  10. Marcus Schachter Says:

    the steamboat in the picture would have been built in the late 18th century.

  11. The relaxing country drive that New Yorkers like George Washington enjoyed in 1790 | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] about today’s 107th Street in Central Park. The Bloomingdale region was only accessible via Bloomingdale Road, a former native American trail laid out in 1707 from roughly today’s 23rd Street Street to 115th Street and Riverside […]

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