Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Thursday, March 26, 2021

From this story about a newly-discovered 19th-Century photo of New York City (actually a daguerreotype), an interesting little historical tidbit about Manhattan’s early road network, before Gotham absorbed the entire island:

As the Sotheby’s picture predates the laying out of Gotham’s numbered cross streets, the exact location is unknown, but a notation on the back, signed by “L.B.,” identifies it as on “the main road… called a continuation of Broadway.”

[Sotheby's curator of photographs Denise] Bethel says that was a term used by city directories of the day for the Bloomingdale Road, laid out in 1703 as one of two main north-south arteries in early Manhattan — the Boston Road, now Park Avenue, being the other. Bloomingdale was an Anglicized version of the Dutch Bloemendale, as the Upper West Side was once known.

The road cut at times through hilly terrain, now harder to see due to urban expansion of the Upper West Side, noted today for cultural institutions like Lincoln Center and Columbia University as well as gourmet grocery stores, hip restaurants and trendy boutiques.

Both roads, of course, eventually led to Harlem — or Nieuw Haarlem, as the rural community was originally known.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 03/26/2009 11:24:57 AM
Category: History, New Yorkin', Photography
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