Posts Tagged ‘Love Lane Brooklyn’

The unromantic tale of Bronx’s Valentine Avenue

February 10, 2020

Old New York had many romance-themed paths and street names.

18th century Chelsea used to have a meandering road called Love Lane; some city parks also had Lovers’ Lanes. And Brooklyn Heights still has its own Love Lane, a sweet former mews off Henry Street.

But with Valentine’s Day coming up this week, it’s only fitting to recognize the Bronx’s long, bustling Valentine Avenue.

Valentine Avenue really isn’t all hearts and flowers, unfortunately. This crowded corridor runs alongside the Grand Concourse from Fordham to Bedford Park, a long stretch of small apartment buildings and neighborhood shops.

The street didn’t get its name for any romantic reason, either.

Valentine Avenue likely honors Isaac Valentine, a young blacksmith and farmer who built a house near the former Boston Post Road in the village of Fordham in 1758—when the Bronx was a collection of farming hamlets and not even part of New York City.

Even after part of the Bronx joined New York, it was still quite rural—there was even a spring named after Valentine, seen in the photo above in 1897.

Valentine didn’t stay in his house for long. During the Revolutionary War it was used by American General William Heath and his troops, according to the Bronx Historical Society.

The war ruined Valentine, and in 1792 his house was purchased by Isaac Varian. Today, the Valentine-Varian House still stands, a monument to the old agrarian Bronx and the borough’s second-oldest house. (Above)

Speaking of Valentine, there was a Valentine Street in Queens…but it looks like it was renamed 66th Street at least a century ago and doesn’t appear on Google maps. If it does still exist, I’d like to know!

[Second photo: New-York Historical Society; third photo: Wikipedia]

Old Chelsea’s winding, romantic Love Lane

February 6, 2013

ChelsealovelanemapWouldn’t it be sweet to live on a Manhattan street called Love Lane? Too bad we’re at least 200 years too late.

This 18th century country road seems to have started at Broadway (then called Bloomingdale Road) and followed a path along 21st Street through today’s Chelsea.

Based on old maps (like the one at left or below, from the Randel Survey) and descriptions, it appears to have cut across a long-defunct thoroughfare known as Fitz Roy Road.

It then curved through 22nd to 23rd Street, meandering over to Tenth Avenue and hugging the water line.

Chelsealovelinerandalsurvey

Love Lane is memorialized in old city history guides and newspaper articles as a shaded street that “figures romantically in the early history of New York,” according to a 1920 New York Times article.

“Before the war, Love Lane was [a] popular route for buggyride courtships, highlighted with a romantic trip along the Hudson River that ran along what is now Tenth Avenue,” states the Chelsea Reform Democratic Club website.

Luckily Brooklyn didn’t obliterate their Love Lane. This historic alley has a romantic back story.