A little cobbled lane leads off from Hanover Square in downtown New York. No vehicle can pass through it, because the bars and restaurants lining the road have placed benches across it. It is a cheerful place. You wouldn’t look at it a second time, unless you wanted to sit down and relax.
It is hard to figure that it was once called High Street. In 1658 it was the pride of New Amsterdam because it was the first paved road on the continent. A few years before that the continent’s first brewery was founded in a building on the road. I don’t think any of the buildings survive. The exit of the Dutch and then of the English gave rise to much rebuilding. After that, the fire of 1835 wiped out a large part of lower Manhattan.
The look of the street is recent. It is possible, but unlikely, that the cobble stones are historic. After all, the road was redone in 1996. I walked through and peered at
The title of this post is the most deceptive google search ever. The only hits it gives are to Martin Scorcese’s movie with a similar name. But, as every New Yorker knows, the wall in Wall Street was a real physical thing. A plaque on the road (see the photo below) informs us that “Wall Street is named for a defensive wall of logs, known as a palisade, erected in 1653 along the northern border of New Amsterdam.”
The bland plaque hides the early history of the era. The Dutch East Indies Company’s port town of New Amsterdam was the capital of New Netherlands. The wall was erected in the same year that the English crossed into former Dutch holdings in Connecticut. By 1664 the town fell to the English forces, and the wall was torn down in 1669. Now all that you can see are commemorative logs on the street (featured photo) and the plaque that you can see in the photo above.
Trinity Church, visible at the end of Wall Street, is an Anglican church which has stood in this spot since 1698. The current structure is much more recent. I was happy to find an ice cream truck parked at the end of Wall Street. Although it may not be there 300 years from now, I liked the fact that it chose to be there at the same time as me.