Posts Tagged ‘Pearl Street NYC’

All that’s left of a Pearl Street Chinese restaurant

June 26, 2017

Thousands of restaurants have come and gone in New York over the years, and this is one of them: Pearl de Orient, an interestingly named but otherwise ordinary sounding Chinese restaurant in the Financial District.

Aside from an ad in New York from 1993, I couldn’t find a trace of the place. The corner of Pearl Street and Maiden Lane looks like it’s been renovated and modernized since then.

All that’s left of Pearl de Orient is this matchbook. Remember restaurant matchbooks?

The building designed to look like a punchcard

February 2, 2015

4NewYorkPlazaemporisDeep in the Financial District at the corner of Broad and Pearl Streets is a 22-story brick citidel known by its mailing address, 4 New York Plaza.

Fortress-like and impenetrable at the tip of Manhatan, it’s not the loveliest building downtown by any means.

But architectural firm Carson Lundin & Shaw, which designed it in 1969 for banking giant Manufacturers Hanover Trust, was apparently inspired by the data processing tool of the era: the punchcard.

You can see the resemblance in the the small windows along the facade, irregularly placed and slot-like.

Supposedly this punchcard design won awards.


The punchcard era is long over, but 4 New York Plaza remains, surviving massive flooding and damage thanks to Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Here’s a more inspiring view of 4 New York Plaza, taken by Lucia M. in 2008, with the walkups on Pearl Street lending it some of their beauty and charm.

[Top photo: Emporis]

How Pearl Street supposedly got its name

November 9, 2011

Pearl Street—called Paerlstraet by the Dutch—was one of the earliest roads laid out in the fledgling colony of New Amsterdam. And how it really got its name just might be an enduring mystery.

One story has it that the street was named after its abundance of oysters, “for the pearly shells left there by tides,” according to Edward Robb Ellis’ The Epic of New York City.

In The Big Oyster, however, author Mark Kurlansky says that Indians left piles of oyster shells at the water’s edge, which Pearl Street used to run alongside—before landfill extended the shoreline of Manhattan Island.

The theory that New Yorkers seem to repeat most, however, is that Pearl Street earned its moniker because it was paved with oyster shells, which glistened like pearls in the sun.

Perhaps there’s some truth to each story—and just how much may be lost to the ages.

[Pearl Street illustration: from the NYPL digital collection]

Captain Kidd: Pirate and downtown New Yorker

March 21, 2011

Some regard him as a savage plunderer. Others maintain he was merely a privateer unjustly hanged by the British.

Whatever he did out there on the high seas doesn’t change the fact that William Kidd was a city resident—reportedly moving here from Scotland as a child, around 1650.

He was a prominent guy, marrying the colony’s wealthiest widow and living in a mansion on today’s Hanover Square, at 119 Pearl Street.

Kidd, fancifully illustrated here in New York Harbor, even donated materials to help build Trinity Church.

Of course, his days as a New Yorker were numbered. After learning he was wanted by the British for pillaging the Quedagh Merchant in the Indian Ocean, he tried to escape to Boston.

There he was imprisoned and later sent to England to stand trial for piracy and for the murder of one of his crew.

Found guilty in 1701, he was executed in London, his body left to hang as a warning to other pirates.

Above photo: lovely Hanover Square in the Financial District today. Kidd’s mansion stood at the far left.