2. Lexington Avenue, 1776
Photo via NYPL Collections
One avenue east of Park is Lexington, where legend has it wealthy New Yorker Mary Murray helped George Washington escape British domination in 1776. Washington had just had his hat handed to him in the Revolution’s first major battle in Brooklyn, known as the Battle of Brooklyn or the Battle of Long Island. The continental army barely made it out of Brooklyn alive, and was hurrying to leave Manhattan in September of 1776. Historians have written that Mary Murray (of Murray Hill fame) decided to invite key British officers over for tea at her Lexington Avenue estate just as Washington retreated, buying him valuable time to escape.