New York City’s tobacco-producing past

Tobacco has a rep as a crop grown only in the South. But tobacco farming was big business in the 17th and 18th centuries in a nascent New York City.

Dutch colonists grew it in New Amsterdam, and settlers occupying farms from Greenwich Village to the village of Bloomingdale (today’s Morningside Heights, roughly) produced it as well.

In fact, the native name for Greenwich Village, Sapokanikan, supposedly translates into “tobacco fields. Hey, who knows?

The fields and farms eventually disappeared—replaced by tobacco manufacturers like Goodwin & Company, headquartered in Manhattan, who created this seductive late 19th–century ad (from the NYPL digital collection).

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4 Responses to “New York City’s tobacco-producing past”

  1. Frank Lynch Says:

    They still grow it in CT. Outer wrappers of cigars, I believe… We passed farms a few years ago driving along the CT river… Not the interstate.

    • Green daisy Says:

      Yes…you can see shade tobacco farms on the drive into Bradley Intl Airport (at least, they were still there as of a few years ago). The outer wrappers require a uniform color, which is why the plants are shaded.

  2. Nabe News: November 1 - Bowery Boogie | A Lower East Side Chronicle Says:

    […] the 17th and 18th centuries, farmers in New York City (then, New Amsterdam), grew tobacco [Ephemeral […]

  3. Three centuries of a West Village tavern | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] a country backwater of tobacco farms, Greenwich Village owes its urbanization to lethal disease […]

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