10. Pearl Street

Before Manhattan was expanded to its present size with landfill, Pearl Street ran along the bank of the East River. The street, which started out as a footpath, dates back to the 1630s. The Dutch named it Parelstraat (Pearl Street) after the many oysters that covered the shore in the 17th century. The oyster population in New York Harbor has suffered tremendously over the last few centuries, although there is now an effort to bring them back.

In 1695, during the British colonial rule of the island, the street’s name was changed to Great Queen Street (and then to Queen Street in 1725). As the American Revolution approached, however, this name lost its favor. In 1765, in a display of patriotic resistance to the British, the portion of the street that ran south of Wall Street became Pearl Street once again.