Posts Tagged ‘rich neighborhoods in 19th century New York City’

A rich neighborhood in 19th century Manhattan

May 3, 2010

Tribeca is a trendy place to live today, just as one little nook of it was in the 1830s and 1840s. 

All that’s left of this exclusive nook, however, are a few alleys: St. John’s Lane and York Street.

They’re remnants of a genteel enclave centered around St. John’s Chapel, built in 1807 on Lispenard Meadows, then a dreary swamp.

After the chapel was built, private St. John’s Park sprang up next, attracting rich New Yorkers who built Federal-style row houses along the park.

[“View of St. John’s Chapel From the Park,” a sketch by The New-York Mirror, from the NYPL digital collection]

The St. John’s Park neighborhood was one of the city’s most fashionable, but as Manhattan grew northward, its appeal went south. The chapel, park, and the homes that surrounded it were all gone by 1920.