Posts Tagged ‘Great Fire of 1835’

New Amsterdam’s first paved street

December 30, 2008

That would be Stone Street, a slip of a road winding between South William and Pearl Streets in the Financial District. In the 1640s it was known as Hoogh (High) Straet, one of 17 streets in New Amsterdam that became muddy when it rained. “A bright Englishman decided to pave the street in front of his lot. This was Stone Street, the first paved street in the city,” reported a New York Times article in 1896.

Stone Street suffered in the late 19th century, when the bulk of the shipping industry moved from the East River to the Hudson. This 1920s photo shows a dingy-looking block:




The 20th century wasn’t much kinder to Stone Street, and parts of it were demapped in the 1970s and 1980s to make way for an office building.

But in 1996 it was made into a historic district, and the little mid-1800s structures—put up after the Great Fire of 1835 destroyed almost all of downtown—attracted restaurants and bars. The old-school paving stones (reproductions of the originals) also gave Stone Street a vintage New York vibe. 


Today Stone Street thrives, a teeny restaurant district tucked inside the canyons of Downtown Manhattan.


Give my regards to Broad Street

August 27, 2008

An 1825 view of Wall Street from Broad Street, from Valentine’s City of New York Guide Book, published in 1920. Trinity Church is in the center, while a Presbyterian church and Simmons’ Tavern are on the right. (Note the cute hound dashing across the road.)


This drawing was done before the Great Fire of 1835, which destroyed about 700 buildings in lower Manhattan. Simmons’ Tavern, which looks like it was made from wood, may have been one of them.