14. Division Street

True to its name, Division Street was the partition that divided the farms of James De Lancey and Henry Rutgers in the 18th century. The De Lancey farm ran from Division Street up to Houston Street, and the Rutgers farm ran down to the water. Together, these two farms covered most of the land that makes up what is now the Lower East Side. The name Division Street had already come into use by the start of the American Revolution.

After De Lancey bought his farm in 1765, the two men made a pact that neither one would sell his land. Instead, they agreed to lease parcels of land along the rope-walk to the west of Division Street for terms of 99 years. The long-term tenants built over 500 brick townhouses on the combined land. De Lancey, who was loyal to the British, lost his land when the colonies won independence from England. His estate was divided and put up for auction. The Rutgers farm remained intact after the war.