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Thread: Streets that Bend - Before there was a grid

  1. #46

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    OLD FITZROY ROAD


    “Who was Fitzroy?” is the question which has frequently been asked since the announcement was made by the New York Telephone Company that the honoured name of Greeley had been abandoned in the new telephone book for that of Fitzroy.

    The new name has given antiquarians an opportunity of showing how much they know of old New York. The name Fitzroy, so far as its association with Manhattan Island is concerned, has long been buried in oblivion. It recalls more or less honoured members of the British peerage who’s name, more than a century ago, was given to two old thorough-fares starting from the upper Greenwich Village section.

    There have been many Fitzroys in British history, but the only one remembered in early New York days was Lieut. Gen. Charles Fitzroy, created Baron Southampton in 1780, the first to hold that title. He married Anne, the second daughter of Admiral Sir Peter Warren, to whom, in honor of the success of his fleet in the capture of the French fortress at Louisberg on Cape Breton Island in 1754, the City of New York gave a large tract of land in the Greenwich Village area and where he built a magnificent country home. The Admiral had three daughters. Charlotte the oldest married the Earl of Abingdon, while the third daughter, Elizabeth, married Colonel Skinner. All were honored in having their names given to old city thoroughfares, but the only one visibly remembered today is Abingdon, which survives in Abingdon Square at the southern terminus of Eighth Avenue, where it runs into Hudson Street. A portion of Christopher Street was once known as The Skinner Road.

    The Fitzroy Road which is doubtless what the new telephone exchange aims to commemorate rather than the individual, was, prior to 1800, the highway leading from Greenwich to Chelsea and thence northward to the Bloomingdale Road at Forty-second Street, near Times Square. It began at what is now 243 and 245 at West Fourteenth Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, running almost due north to 242 and 244 West Twentieth Street, thence sharply northwest crossing the present Eighth Avenue at Twenty-second Street following the line of the Avenue to Twenty-third Street then turning sharply northwest again taking in a portion of the Grand Opera House, to the south side of Twenty-fifth Street at about 312, where the road veered northeast coming back to the Eighth Avenue line at Thirtieth Street which was followed to Thirty-first Street. At that point the Fitzroy Road turned northwest again to Thirty-eighth Street a short distance west of Eighth Avenue where it took a more decidedly northwest slant extending nearly to Ninth Avenue at Fortieth Street. At that point it turned east to seek the Eight Avenue line ending at the south side of Forty-second street, the terminus being at the site now occupied by the buildings at 328 and 340 West Forty-second Street.

    Up to a few years ago a few faint marks of the early line could be traced and the late Thomas A. Janvier pointed out several of these vestiges, but recent improvements have practically obliterated all evidences of the ancient Fitzroy Road. There was also at the same time a Southampton Road which began at Seventh Avenue and Fifteenth Street and ran to Eighteenth Street just east of Sixth Avenue and thence parallel with Sixth Avenue to Twenty-first Street.

    Charles Fitzroy, Baron Southampton, was the second son of Augustus Fitzroy, whose mother, a daughter of Colonel William Cosby, one of the Governors of the Province of New York, married Charles, the second Duke of Grafton. Charles Fitzroy died in 1797. His wife whose early years had been spent in the Greenwich Village Summer home, lived until 1807. The Baronetcy is still in existence, The present Baron Southampton having succeeded to the title in 1872.

    The New York Times
    Published July 11th. 1920

    Copyright The New York Times.
    Last edited by brianac; December 8th, 2008 at 10:49 AM.

  2. #47
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Great research ^

    A big red ribbon with a gold star to brianac

    A scouting mission for any little vestiges of the Old Fitz Roy Road has been added to my calendar.

    Some additional info about the Greenwich Village home of Sir Peter Warren, which once sat in the neighborhood of the south end of Old Fitz Roy Road:

    ... Lieut. Gen. Charles Fitzroy, created Baron Southampton in 1780 the first to hold that title. He married Anne, the second daughter of Admiral Sir Peter Warren, to whom, in honor of the success of his fleet in the capture of the French fortress at Louisberg on Cape Breton Island in 1754, the City of New York gave a large tract of land in the Greenwich Village area and where he built a magnificent country home.
    ... our Peter Warren, throwing his prize money about with a handsome lavishness, and upholding the honour of the British navy as gallantly in American society as ever he had in hostile waters abroad ...

    ... Warren had lands on the Mohawk River and else-where, but his heart had always yearned for the tract of land in sylvan Greenwich. In that quiet little hamlet on the green banks of the Hudson the birds sang and the leaves rustled, and the blue water rested tired eyes. Peter at this time owned nearly three hundred acres of ground there and now that he had money in plenty, he lost no time in building a glorious dovecote for himself and Mistress Susanna a splendid house in full keeping with his usual large way of doing things.

    Stroll around the block that is squared by the present Charles, Perry, Bleecker and Tenth streets some day, look at the brick and stone, the shops and boarding-houses, and try to dream yourself back into the eighteenth century, when, in that very square of land, stood the Captain's lovely country seat. In those days it was something enormous, palatial, and indeed was always known as the Mansion or Manse. This is, of course, the basis for the silly theory that Greenwich got its name from the estate. Undoubtedly the Warren place was the largest and most important one out there, and for a time to "go out to visit at Greenwich," meant to go out to visit the Manse. For years the Captain and the Captain's lady lived in this beautiful and restful place with three little daughters to share their money, their affections and their amiable lives. Thomas Janvier's description of the house as he visualises it with his rich imagination is too charming not to quote in part:
    "The house stood about three hundred yards back from the river, on ground which fell away in a gentle slope towards the waterside. The main entrance was from the east; and at the rear on the level of the drawing-room and a dozen feet or so above the sloping hillside was a broad veranda commanding the view westward to the jersey Highlands and southward down the bay to the Staten Island Hills." The fanciful description goes on to picture Captain Warren sitting on this veranda, "smoking a comforting pipe after his mid-day dinner; and taking with it, perhaps, as seafaring gentlemen very often did in those days, a glass or two of substantial rum-and-water to keep everything below hatches well stowed. With what approving eye must he have regarded the trimly kept lawns and gardens below him; and with what eyes of affection the Launceston, all a-taunto, lying out in the stream! "
    I have called the description of the house " fanciful," but it is really not that, since the old house fell into Abraham Van Nest's hands at a later date, and stood there for over a century, with the poplars, for which it was famous, and the box hedges, in which Susanna had taken such pride, growing more beautiful through the years. Not until 1865 was the lovely place destroyed by the tidal wave of modern building.

    The Captain kept his town house as well, the old Jay place, on the lower end of Broadway, but it was at the Manse that he loved best to stay, and the Manse which was and always remained his real and beloved home.

  3. #48
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    More history on old streets and connections to Fitz Roy / Warren / Abingdon from a 1921 NY Times article
    (with a pdf link to the full story) ...

    SALE IN GREENWICH VILLAGE HOME CENTRE
    RECALLS EXISTENCE OF OLD AMOS STREET

    More Than a Century Ago It Formed Part of the
    Manhattan Holdings Owned by the Earl of Abingdon

    Purchaser in 1858 Preferred a Corner at Bethune Street
    to a Fifth Avenue and Forty-second Street Parcel

    August 7, 1921, Sunday
    Real Estate
    Page 88, 1568 words

    One of the strange yet interesting features which arouse the curiosity
    of the casual visitor to old Greenwich Village is the way some of the
    numbered streets have of crossing each other at right angles ...

  4. #49
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    For anyone thinking of digging deeper:

    Per info at Forgotten Streets New York, the "Fitz Roy Road" was also referred to simply as "Roy Road."

  5. #50

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    Lofter.

    Thanks for the Forgotten Streets link. I shall print that out for further perusal.

  6. #51

    Default Another Broadway bend, and another old road

    At W87th, Broadway jogs a few degrees to the west. this is to align the avenue to the grid, centered between West End And Amsterdam Aves. The Bloomindale Road (shown in red), which Broadway had been tracking, was too far to the east.




    At W104th St, Broadway again tracks the Bloomingdale Road, which curved to the west.





    View south from W106th St



    The Dutch called all the land west of Central Park from about 23rd to 125 St Bloemendaal. When the British took over New Amsterdam. the name was anglicized to Bloomingdale, and that's how the road built in 1703 got it's name.

    Before Straus Park was named in 1913, this area at W107th was called Bloomingdale Square. A 19th century village also centered here, and this part of the Upper West Side is generally the only place where the name survives. The NYPL library branch is called Bloomingdale.




    Looking north at W108th St, Broadway, now aligned with West End Ave, turns again to conform to the grid. The Bloomingdale Road turned to the left between the two large buildings.




    The Bloomingdale Road ran along the present Riverside Drive up to W116th St, where it turns east.



    It heads down the hill and crosses W125th St (old Manhattan St to Harlem Village). The two green segments are surviving remnants of the road, called Old Broadway.


    It follows the path of Hamilton Pl, ending at St Nicholas Ave & W147th St (shown in blue).




    St Nicholas Ave is another pre-grid important road, called the Kingsbridge Road. It was a branch off the Boston Post Road (light blue). and originated just north of McGowan's Pass.






    From W110th to W123rd St, St Nicholas was known as Harlem Lane.












    At W169th St, there's a name swap. Again, the Broadway name is given to an older road, and the newer gridded street becomes St Nicholas, continuing in a straight line to W193rd St. And Broadway follows the old Kingsbridge route.







    Only token adherence is given to the 1811 grid plan in this rocky terrain.




    We finally arrive at the King's Bridge, but it's not at the same location as the present bridge over the Harlem Ship Canal.

    The bridge was oriented east-west over the filled-in Spuyten Duyvil Creek from Marble Head (which was physically and still politically attached to Manhattan) to Kingsbridge Road in the Bronx.


  7. #52

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    Many thanks Zippy.

    I really enjoyed tracking those roads.

    I didn't realize the historical significance last year, when I was walking on Broadway up at Dyckman Street and St. Nicholas Avenue when I was in Washington Heights.

  8. #53
    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
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    I didn't realize there were so many roads uptown back in the old days. Zippy, I've always been curious about King's Highway in Brooklyn. Do you have any links I could look at about that?

  9. #54

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    Brooklyn (actually Kings County) is more complex because of the original six towns.

    Kings Highway is a remnant of a larger road system dating from 1704 - Ferry Road, Jamaica Road, Flatbush Road.

    Excellent place to get started.
    http://www.forgotten-ny.com/STREET%2.../kingshwy.html

  10. #55

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    Beyond-the-Grid Manhattan

    Uli Seit for The New York Times
    Alan Good lives on Stuyvesant Street, which he calls “a surprise.” It slices through Ninth Street between Second and Third Avenues.

    By CONSTANCE ROSENBLUM

    Published: June 15, 2012
    THE vast majority of Manhattan residents live on streets that seem to run forever. Twenty-third Street clocks in at about two miles, Second Avenue at nearly seven. Thanks to Manhattan’s grid plan, which is celebrating its bicentennial with an exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York, the bulk of the island is laid out in rigid checkerboard fashion.

    Multimedia


    Interactive Feature


    Five Small Communities Within Manhattan



    But for a few fortunate people, there is another Manhattan, a handful of short streets that run for just a block, or two or three at the most. Their histories are invariably rich — some were born as driveways for large gated estates — and their charms quickly reveal themselves to both residents and visitors.
    Such streets are typically lined with trees and exquisite old buildings, and often adjacent to parks. Many are designated as historic districts. Being off the beaten track and sometimes gated, they tend to be unusually safe. Many have adorable names, like Patchin Place and Sniffen Court, and have been home to celebrated residents (E.E. Cummings on Patchin Place; Irving Berlin on Beekman Place).
    Small and tucked away, these streets offer a respite from the hectic city. “They have a special quality,” said Kevin Walsh, the creator of Forgotten New York and one of many urban bloggers who find these enclaves irresistible. “You feel it the moment you set foot on these streets.”
    And because they break the geometric precision that dominates much of the island, they offer unexpected vistas. “Even if you don’t think about the grid,” Mr. Walsh said, “you’re subconsciously aware of it, and you notice subliminally when it’s interrupted.”
    Short streets have a few downsides. They befuddle taxi drivers. To arriving guests, it can be hard to explain exactly where you live. Residents sometimes know their neighbors almost too well; everyone knows when you come home at 2 in the morning. It’s easy for residents to obsess over amenities like outside lighting and other street furniture. As Simeon Bankoff, the executive director of the Historic Districts Council, said, “People on some of these streets take their sidewalks very seriously.”
    But residents don’t complain much. They realize they enjoy a benefit not often found in a big and congested city, the sense of being part of a small and exclusive community. “It was as if everyone was part of a large extended family,” said Alicia Bliss, a 39-year resident of Henderson Place, a cul-de-sac north of East 86th Street that is home to dollhouse-size Queen Anne row houses. “Our front door was like a hallway to our neighbors’ houses.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/17/re....html?_r=1&hpw

  11. #56

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    Henderson Place, a cul-de-sac north of East 86th Street that is home to dollhouse-size Queen Anne row houses.
    Look at this beauty at the corner of Henderson & E 86th:

    http://www.vpike.com/?place=east+86t...e+manhattan+ny

  12. #57
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Help! Damsel in distress! (NYat)Knight in Shining Armor, where are you?

    I was so looking forward to seeing your awesome pics again after so long <sigh>.


    10 Christopher Street


    http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/201...f=realestate#1

  13. #58

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    This is not the King's Bridge It was the Free Bridge,and it was not (Marble Head ) but Marble Hill.

  14. #59

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    December 14th, 2008, 11:28 AM
    ZippyTheChimp this Bridge was not the King's Bridge but the Free Bridge the the area was Marble Hill not the Marble Head


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  15. #60
    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
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    Also shows a good demarcation of original Upper Manhattan -

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