NYC History: The Six Most Interesting Streets in New York City
There are so many historic places in New York City that are full of fascinating stories! So with that in mind, here are some of the most interesting streets in New York City. Each of these streets has so much history; we definitely encourage you to look further into their past and perhaps even visit all of them!
Broadway is probably one of the most famous streets in the world and it is also one of the longest. Starting in Bowling Green at the lower tip of Manhattan, it continues into the Bronx. It is probably best known for Broadway shows in the Theatre District and world class shopping in SoHo. In Lower Manhattan, Broadway is also known as the Canyon of Heroes, and it is where some of the most historic ticker tape parades have been held. Charles Lindbergh, Nelson Mandela, Olympic athletes, astronauts and many more have had parades here.
Wall Street is another street known worldwide and of course it is best known for the New York Stock Exchange (11 Wall St). As it is very important to the financial world, it is no surprise that many exchanges, companies and banks have offices here. Despite a multitude of high rises in the area, what is remarkable about Wall Street is how much history is preserved here. For example, you can still see remnants of the Wall Street bombing, which occurred nearly 100 years ago (September 16, 1920).
St Mark’s Place
P.C.: wikipedia, Beyond My Ken
St Mark’s Place in the East Village has always been a cultural hotspot. In particular, it was very important in shaping the New York City music scene. It was once home to Five-Spots, one of NYC most popular and influential jazz clubs. Along with CBGB, St Mark’s Place was also the epicenter of the New York punk scene in the 1980’s. Numerous bands like the Rolling Stones and the New York Dolls filmed music videos or had photo shoots here. One of the oldest businesses on St Mark’s Place is Gem Spa (131 2nd Ave), a long running newspaper stand and candy store, commonly believed to be the birthplace of the classic NYC style egg cream. It first opened in the 1920’s and it has seen the neighborhood change numerous times. It was popular with the Beat Generation in the 1950’s, hippies in the 1960’s and foodies craving their famous egg cream today.
Stone Street is one of NYC’s oldest streets and walking here is like taking a step into the past. Its roots stem back to the Dutch West India Company, where they built a brewery in 1632. As the years passed, Stone Street had more commercial uses with its many shops servicing New Amsterdam. Today, popular bars, restaurants and cafes use this street for their outdoor seating when the weather is nice. Stone Street is one of the last remaining streets in New York City to still have cobblestone, thanks to the work of the Stone Street Historic District, many historic buildings in the area have also been preserved.
Doyers Street was once known as the Bloody Angle and decades ago, it was the street where more people died violently compared to any other location in the United States. This was, in part, due to the Tong Gangs. One of the most interesting things is the network of hidden tunnels that go to and from Doyers Street; some of which you can still visit today. It was once home to the Chinese Opera House, one of the first Chinese language theaters in the United States. It too had a violent past and in fact, was rumored to be haunted until it was torn down. Today, Doyers Street has become a must see foodie destination. Nom Wah Tea Parlor (13 Doyers St), Chinese Tuxedo (5 Doyers St) and Taiwan Pork Chop House (3 Doyers St) are all very popular. You can learn more about what makes this street so interesting on our food tour of Little Italy and Chinatown!
One of the most filmed areas in New York City, Cortlandt Alley is a tiny street just off of Canal Street. Movies such as Men in Black 3, music videos like Cousins from Vampire Weekend, as well as various commercials, have all been filmed here. It is also home to one of the smallest museums in the world, Mmuseumm (4 Cortlandt Alley); focusing on “Object Journalism” or the exhibition of contemporary objects, illustrating modern life. The gallery is located in a former elevator shaft, with fascinating exhibits on display that you won’t find in other museums.