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New York in New York County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

NYCís Oldest Thoroughfare

From Footpath to Streetcars and Elevated Trains

 
 
NYCís Oldest Thoroughfare Marker image. Click for full size.
By Larry Gertner, July 25, 2016
1. NYCís Oldest Thoroughfare Marker
Main illustration – The Bowery at Night, Louis W. Sonntag, oil on canvas
Inscription.  
“To see the Bowery in its glory, one must visit it at night. It is a blazer of light from one end to the other.”
-James D.McCabe, New York by Sunlight and Gaslight, 1882

Originally a Native American footpath, Dutch farm road (bouwerji means farm), and lower stretch of the Boston Post Road, the Bowery is NYCís oldest thoroughfare. It has seen nearly every type of transportation from stagecoaches and street cars to elevated trains and automobiles. Its most famous travelers were General Washington and his troops, who triumphantly marched down the Bowery as British troops evacuated Manhattan on November 25, 1783.

Americaís first streetcars, which were horse-drawn, began runs on Bowery between Prince and 14th Street in 1832. In 1878, one of the cityís first elevated train lines was constructed above the Boweryís sidewalks. Shadows cast by “the El” ands soot from its steam engines made an already gritty street more so. Nonetheless, when Edison electrified the street in 1882, the effect at night was said to be dazzling.

The majestic approach to the Manhattan bridge is considered
Inset image. Click for full size.
By Larry Gertner, July 25, 2016
2. Inset
Horse-drawn streetcar, 1867
one of the most beautiful in the country. Completed in 1915, it was designed by Carrere and Hastings, with its triumphal Beaux Arts arch and colonnade patterned after the Porte St. Denis in Paris and the Bernini columns in Rome.
 
Erected by Bowery Alliance of Neighbors.
 
Location. 40° 43.482′ N, 73° 59.558′ W. Marker is in New York, New York, in New York County. Marker is on Bowery near E. 1st Street & E. Houston Street, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 302 Bowery, New York NY 10012, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Bouwerie Lane Theater (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) (about 700 feet away); Fourteenth Ward Industrial School of the Childrenís Aid Society (about 700 feet away); The Puck Building (about 700 feet away); St. John N. Neumann (about 800 feet away); Ancient Order of Hibernians (about 800 feet away); Within These Grounds Are Buried The Pioneering Priests (about 800 feet away); Old St. Patrickís Cathedral (about 800 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New York.
 
More about this marker. One of more than sixty entries in the “Windows on the Bowery” series. This particular marker appears at buildings that do not have a site-specific marker, though it can be found in conjunction with those that do.
 
Categories. Roads & Vehicles
 
This NYCís Oldest Thoroughfare marker site, 302 Bowery image. Click for full size.
By Larry Gertner, April 7, 2019
3. This NYCís Oldest Thoroughfare marker site, 302 Bowery
The marker is near the entrance.
Inset image. Click for full size.
By Larry Gertner, July 25, 2016
4. Inset
Bowery and elevated train, looking north from Canal, 1901. The elevated was torn down in 1956. From stereoscope card.
Bowery, looking north from Canal, 2019 image. Click for full size.
By Larry Gertner, April 9, 2019
5. Bowery, looking north from Canal, 2019
Some of the buildings on the left are possibly still there from 1901, though refronted.
Inset image. Click for full size.
By Larry Gertner, July 25, 2016
6. Inset
Postcard from 1910s.
Manhattan Bridge Colonnade image. Click for full size.
By Larry Gertner, June 25, 2016
7. Manhattan Bridge Colonnade
 
More. Search the internet for NYCís Oldest Thoroughfare.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 16, 2019. This page originally submitted on April 11, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. This page has been viewed 39 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on April 11, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.   7. submitted on April 14, 2019, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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