8. Herald Square Used To Be A Farm
Like many of the now bustling areas in Manhattan, Herald Square used to be countryside in the early and mid-1800s. But according to the 34th Street Partnership, Herald Square wasn’t just any old farm. This is because Francisco Bastiane, one of the only black men in New York to own land before the abolition of slavery.
In 1846, the city acquired the land to extend Bloomingdale Road, now Broadway. After the subsequent introduction of public transportation, New York City underwent a major transformation into an urban area. The elevated Sixth Avenue train, the second elevated rail in New York City and built in the 1870s, helped transform the 34th street district into a popular area.