This headline sounds implausible but it’s true. The neighborhood of Marble Hill, just across the Broadway bridge used to be part of Manhattan but the Army Corps of Engineers saw that it would be faster for ships to round the island if they did not have to go around. So they simply sliced off the outcropping, rendered it an island, and later filled the old Spuyten Duyvil Creek making it geographically part of the landmass that is the Bronx. But in the details, it leads to some funny jurisdictional things – it’s still technically part of the borough of Manhattan but it has a Bronx zip code and area code. And, as pointed out by Fran Leadon, the author of the book Broadway: A History of New York City in Thirteen Miles, the northernmost building in Manhattan is actually number 5249 Broadway, a C-Town supermarket in Marble Hill.
Leadon writes, “It is the unremarkable flipside to No. 1 Broadway, the Washington Building that Cyrus W. Field built in 1882 in place the old Archibald Kennedy mansion where George Washington himself had reconnoitered with the generals in 1776. Poet Sandburg once wrote that Broadway ends in the sea, but that’s only true if you are heading south; if you go north, Broadway ends in a checkout line.”
5249 Broadway is located at the 228th Street and Broadway and indeed, except for this little-known claim to fame, there is almost nothing to say about it. It sits just below a hill of winding streets that was once the site of Fort Prince Charles. One street is named after the Van Corlears, one of the early families that settled in Dutch New Amsterdam. Two blocks away at 230th Street was the former Kings Bridge Redoubt, which would have originally been right on Spuyten Duyvil Creek. If there were any remains of that fort today, it would be landlocked. A plaque does mark its location however. Broadway on the other hand continues way past this point and the Bronx, and in fact, ends as a service road just before the Canadian border.
If you’re interested in learning more about what’s left of the Dutch and Revolutionary-era New York City still in Manhattan, join our next tour of the Remnants of Dutch New Amsterdam this weekend!
Next, check out 10 Places in NYC for a Small-Town Feel, including Marble Hill.