7. Broad Street

Heere Graft as illustrated in the Costello Plan in 1660, Image via Wikimedia CommonsNew York Public Library, Digital Gallery

During the time of Dutch Colonial rule, Broad street wasn’t always a street. In a 19th century map of 1642 New Amsterdam, this pathway was marked as the “Common Ditch.” For a time after that, what we now know as Broad Street was Heere Gracht which translates to “The Lords or Gentleman’s Canal.” This canal flowed from Pearl to Beaver Streets and emptied into the East River from 1646 to 1676. When the English took over, the canal was filled in and the street created on top of it was dubbed Broad Street in 1692. Due to the fact that the street was once a canal, it was wider than usual. Another street that derives it’s name from the time of the Heere Gracht is Bridge Street. Known in 1658 as “Brugh Straet,” this street was a bridge over the canal and its current name comes from the translation.