Origin Of The Names Of Streets In NYC A-F


Of the thousands of persons engaged in the hunt for fame and fortune in New York, not a stock broker's commission of them know the origin of the names of the streets they travel through six days in the week. When a presumably knowing person is asked whence such a street derives its name, he wrinkles his brow and answers: "D'ye know, it never struck me to find out." That he may know, here are a few the writer has unearthed for him:


Allen street- perpetuates the name and fame of Captain William Allen, one of the heroes of the War of 1812. He was but twenty-nine years of age when he died, but left behind him a brilliant record.

Ann street—The Christian name of a Dutch burgher's wife, Ann Vieltje.


Barclay—From the Rev. Henry Barclay, second rector of Trinity.

Battery Place—From a place where a battery was erected in 1693.

Bayard street owes its name to Richard Bayard, nephew of Peter Stuyvesant, who filled the position of Mayor and occupied other official posts in the early history of New York. The Bayard farm was situated between Canal and Bleecker streets and between Macdougal street and the Bowery.

Beach street- a corruption of Bache, was named in honor of Paul Bache, a son-in-law of Anthony Lispenard.

Beaver—From the beaver; originally the fur district. The animal was an important factor in the fur business in the old days.

Beekman—From William Beekman, owner of a farm which extended north and south of the present street and from Nassau street to the East River.

Bethune street- honors the name of the Bethun family, noteworthy philanthropists, whose work was of special significance in connection with the improvement of the "Five Points."

Bleecker street is named in honor of Anthony Bleecker, who for many years was prominent in the literary world.

Bowery (Dutch)- means a farm. From Peter Stuyvesant's "Bowerie," in the neighborhood of Third avenue and Thirteenth street, to the city there was a path, naturally called Bowery lane; this was afterward named Bowery road, and finally the Bowery.

Bowling Green—Where the burghers bowled; leased to three of them in 1732.

Bridge—From a bridge that crossed a ditch in Broad street.

Broad—From the Breede Graft, or Broad Canal, once a ditch.

Broome street- was named after John Broome, Lieutenant Governor of New York State in 1804 and a prominent member of many commercial and charitable institutions.


Canal street- was originally a canal forty feet wide, with a promenade and trees on each side of it. It carried the water from the old Collect Pond to the Hudson River. A stone bridge crossed it at Broadway; this is now below the pavement of that busy thoroughfare.

Cedar—Suggestive of the character of tree growth in the early days.

Chambers street- owes its name to John Chambers, a prominent lawyer and one of the officers of Trinity Church.

Chatham Square-as well as Pitt street, perpetuates the name of William Pitt, America's devoted and eloquent friend, the Earl of Chatham.

Cherry street- was originally part of a large cherry farm.

Church street- was cut through property belonging to Trinity Church.

Chrystie street- was named after John Chrystie, a brave and skillful officer, who heroically gave his life during the War of 1812.

Cliff—From Dirck Van Clyff, a burgher, on whose former property the street is.

Clinton street -recalls the names of James, George and De Witt Clinton,whose records in war and in peace are deserving of the highest honors at the hand of the State that gave them birth.

Coenties Slip—A corruption of the name of Conraet ten Eyck, owner of land in the vicinity.

Corlears street- brings to mind Jacobus Van Corlears, who offered the use of his house for civic purposes to Governor Stuyvesant, and Anthony Van Corlears, the trumpeter, who, it is alleged, gave Spuyten Duyvil its name when he boasted that he could swim across the troubled waters at that place "in spite of the devil."

Cortlandt—From Oloff Stevenson Cortlandt, an early settler, through whose land the street was cut.

Crosby street- was named in honor of William Bedlow Crosby, who had inherited the greatest portion of the Seventh ward. He was connected with many charitable societies and devoted much of his time to benevolence.


Delancey street- perpetuates the name of Governor James De Lancey, the original builder and owner of the house that afterward became Fraunces' Tavern and the donor to the city of its first town clock.

Desbrosses street- commemorates the official career of Elias Desbrosses, who occupied the positions of Alderman, President of the Chamber of Commerce and warden of Trinity Church.

Division street- derives its name from the fact that it divided the two great farms of James De Lancey and Henry Rutgers.

Duane street- owes its name to James Duane, New York's first Mayor after the Revolution.


Eldridge street is a reminder of Lieutenant Joseph C. Eldridge, who lost his life in the war of 1812.

Exchange Place—Where the old Merchants' Exchange was located.


Ferry—The road that led to the first ferry between New York and Brooklyn.

Frankfort—From the German city, Jacob Leisler's birthplace. The street was cut through his estate.

Franklin street and Franklin Square perpetuate the name of Benjamin Franklin.

Fulton—From Robert Fulton, whose history is, or should be, known to every one.


Website: The History Box.com
Article Name: Origin Of The Names Of Streets In NYC  A-F
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Cradle Days of New York (1609-1825) by Hugh Macatamney; New York-Drew & Lewis, Publishers 1909
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