Bowery was First Manhattan Street

Bowery Theatre (as rebuilt in 1845 after a fire), 46 Bowery, New York.

Bowery Theatre (as rebuilt in 1845 after a fire), 46 Bowery, New York.

Did you know that Bowery, a 1.5 mile street is the oldest road on all of Manhattan? During the time of the Native American settlement Bowery was just a dirt path created by the constant walking from the lower tip of Manhattan by the Native Americans in bare feet and moccasins.

When the Dutch arrived they established their farms along this road, the first residents being ten families of freed slaves in 1645. Later in that century, when the Dutch settled the island, the path was dubbed Bouwerij Road, the old Dutch word for ‘farm.’ It was a descriptive name since the road connected the farmlands and estates which were outside the city to the area which was the heart of the city, where Wall Street and Battery Park are today.

Within 100 years the Bowery was acknowledged as New York’s most elegant street. Graceful homes and mansions, great theaters, ostentatious banks and elegant shops lined this noble avenue.