Downtown Etymology

Posted on: July 19th, 2008 at 6:07 pm by

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[Orchard Street, looking south]

Anyone who frequents my neck of the woods realizes that it’s more difficult to navigate the streets. Thanks to street names rather than grid numbers, walking is all the more confusing. Oftentimes I wonder about the etymology of certain downtown street names. Here are a few:

  • Houston Street – Named for William Houstoun, a Georgia delegate to the Continental Congress (1784-1786) and Constitutional Convention (1787). Pronounced How-stin. [link]
  • Bowery – The original route to Peter Stuyvesant’s Bouwerij (Dutch), or farm. [link]
  • Delancey – Named for James DeLancey, chief justice and lieutenant governor of the Province of NY. His farm was on the L.E.S. [link]
  • Forsyth – Named in 1817 for Lt. Colonel Benjamin Forsyth, officer of rifle troops in the war of 1812. [link]
  • Allen Street – Named for Captain William Henry Allen, the youngest commander of a naval vessel during the war of 1812. He captured the HMS Macedonian. [link]

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