New York City was once a functioning seaport, both for cargo and passenger vessels. At Number 1 Broadway there’s a coat of arms for Melbourne, Australia, because the Melbourne shipping company had offices there (even though few Australians ever came to the USA in the old days.) Nearby is Fraunce’s Tavern, where the American Revolution began, and ended. It was hit by cannonfire in the Revolution, then bombed by Puerto Rican terrorists in 1975. There are kooky houses, like the white farmhouse at 121 Charles Street in Tribeca, trucked there from the Upper East Side in 1967. Nearby is Weehawken Street, named after the boats that brought food from New Jersey farms to the local market. I’m already familiar with this street, because there’s a bike store on the other side by the West Side Highway. Weehawken Street is kind of like a “back street” for the highway, with a tiny house that might receive protected status.
The problem with this book is that there isn’t really anything new. A lot of the information has already been posted on long-established websites like Forgotten NY and . Some of the locations discussed here, like 121 Charles Street, could be extended into in-depth studies. Whose idea was it to bring the house downtown? Why not the other wooden houses on the Upper East Side? Who were the original owners?
There is much to learn about old New York, and though this is a new country (at least in relation to England) the city is relatively old compared to others in the USA. The Bowery Boys could turn this book into a much more extensive portrait of the city’s history.