New York in New York County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Stream for Washing Laundry
Birth of a City: Nieuw Amsterdam & Old New York
STREAM FOR WASHING LAUNDRY
Location: Maiden Lane
Dutch Name: ‘t Maagde Paatje
Here, in the 1600’s, a stream ran into the East River, along the course of what is now Maiden Lane. A footpath brought Dutch “maidens” to wash laundry in the stream’s fresh water. By 1658 this was known as ‘t Maagde Paatje, the maidens’ path. After the English took over in 1664, it became “Maiden Lane.” When New York City expanded northward above Wall Street and the stream was covered over, the name stayed when the path became an urban street.
Cleanliness was a central value in Dutch culture. In the Netherlands, rich merchants hired poor and peasant women as servants to do the wash and other household work. Some young women emigrated to Nieuw Amsterdam after signing contracts to work as family servants. Dutch settlers also used enslaved Africans as domestic laborers. In many cases, family members shared household toil. Though the Dutch allowed females legal and economic rights denied them elsewhere in Europe, gender roles still dictated that women and girls perform most domestic labor. So Nieuw Amsterdam’s “maidens” found themselves here, doing the family laundry.
Erected 2009 by City Lore & NY 400.
Location. Touch for map. The marker is on the southeast corner of the intersection of Broadway and Maiden Lane, just south of Maiden Lane. Marker is in this post office area: New York NY 10038, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Broadway – Maiden Lane (a few steps from this marker); William Barthman Jeweler (a few steps from this marker); Chamber of Commerce / Liberty Tower (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Federal Reserve Bank of New York (about 500 feet away); a different marker also named Federal Reserve Bank of New York (about 500 feet away); Veteran Corps of Artillery (about 500 feet away); Saint Paul’s Chapel (about 500 feet away); Honorable Thomas Addis Emmet (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New York.
More about this marker. A picture of two Dutch maidens appears at the top of the marker, with the caption “Pieter de Hosch’s scene of two women with linens, painted in the Dutch Republic in 1663, shows a home far more luxurious than any in Nieuw Amsterdam. But the chore of folding and putting away laundry would have been familiar
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Learn about New York City’s colonial Dutch heritage by taking a virtual tour of the Nieuw Amsterdam Trail though lower Manhattan.
Also see . . . City Lore website. City Lore's mission is to foster New York's - and America's - living cultural heritage. (Submitted on November 5, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
Categories. • Colonial Era •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 5, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 639 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on November 5, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.