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New York City Street Names


by John P. Adamski

The origins of some street names are easy to decipher, while with others it can be a challenge to figure out its namesake. You get the best of both worlds in New York with streets such as Avenue of Americas, Wall Street and Christopher Street.

Broadway crossing 5th night aerial viewExactly which Christopher is the street named after? Is it Christopher Columbus, St. Christopher, or maybe author Christopher Marlowe? Let's find out.
Astor Place: Despite being a small block, Astor Place is rich in history. It is named after John Jacob Astor who was at one time the richest person in the United States one of New York's famous residents.

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Atlantic Avenue: This street in Brooklyn is one of the longest avenues in New York City. It was named after the Atlantic Ocean.
Avenue of Americas: Also known as 6th Avenue, which former Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia renamed it in 1945, is one of New York City's busiest streets.
Lamp posts along the avenue once displayed medallions of every North and South American nation.
Bleeker StreetBleecker Street: Is is in the Greenwich Village night club district not far from Washington Square Park and ran through the farm of Anthony Bleecker.
The Bowery: The name for both a street and a small neighborhood at the southern end of Manhattan, "Bowery" is Dutch for farm. The first royal governor of the New York Colony had a farm in the area and the road—then known as Bowery Lane led to Peter Stuyvesant's farm or bouwerij.
Broadway: Home to hundreds of restaurants, plays, and stores, Broadway was given its current name due to its wide lanes, hence “Broadway.” It began as the Wickquasgeck Indian Trail, was renamed de Heere Straat by the Dutch finally Broadway by the English.
NYC street signCanal Street: Located in the “Little Italy” section of Manhattan, Canal Street got its name from a canal that was built in the beginning of the 19th century to drain heavily polluted ponds.
Christopher Street: This street in Manhattan's Greenwich Village section was named after a man named Charles Christopher Amos, who owned the land in the late 1700s now inhabited by the street.
Columbus Avenue: This continuation of Ninth Avenue was named after the explorer Christopher Columbus.
Delancey Street: This was another street named after a man named Delancey who once owned a farm on the street in the early colonial days.
Flatbush Avenue: This is one of Brooklyn's busiest streets. The name is derived from the Dutch word meaning “wood land.”
Fulton Market and Fulton StreetFulton Street: This two block long street was named after Robert Fulton, who built the first commercially successful steamboat.
Houston Street: One of New York City's widest streets, Houston Street was named after a former Georgia politician in the late 1700s.
Above Houston (to the North) crosstown streets are numbered and the grid of streets and avenues first proposed in 1811 by a commission overseen by De Witt Clinton begins. New York's SoHo neighborhood is South of Houston.
By the way, Houston is not pronounced like the city in Texas. The first syllable is the same as the word 'how'—so that is how Houston is pronounced.
Lexington Avenue: Continuing with the Revolutionary War enthusiasm, New York City named this highly commercial avenue in Manhattan in dedication of the Battle of Lexington in 1775.
Madison Avenue: One of New York City's most famous streets in Manhattan was named after James Madison, the fourth president of the United States. Madison Avenue is known for its outstanding shopping district.
Park Avenue: A portion of Fourth Avenue was renamed Park Avenue in the late 1880s largely as a marketing move, reflecting the 40 foot wide park spaces that had been added to the middle of the avenue. It is one of the most popular streets in the world due to the large number of corporations it houses and the huge skyscrapers.
Stuyvesant Street: This particular block was named after a New York Dutch Director General Peter Stuyvesant. It is one of the oldest blocks in Manhattan.
Times Square: Although not usually recognized as a street, Times Square is a block that houses addresses. It was named for The New York Times, which was once located in the popular area in Manhattan.
Wall Street: The famous home of the New York Stock Exchange and other financial institutes was named after, believe it or not, a wall (also palisade) built by the Dutch in the 1600s across what was then the north side of settled Manhattan Island to keep out invaders.

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