6. Astor Place

Astor Place

Astor Place was a large Lenape gathering space called “Kintecoying,” where Manhattan’s three major Lenape groups came together. In the 16th century, the Canarsie, Sapohannikan, and Manhattan met at “Kintecoying,” which meant “Crossroads of Three Nations.” There was likely a large oak or elm tree at the meeting spot, under which leaders would discuss political issues, trade with one another, and play games. Although the groups spoke different languages, they would often play baggattaway, now known as lacrosse. John Jacob Astor, the area’s namesake, gained a fortune trading furs with the Lenape.

In addition to being the location of Kintecoying, Astor Place was also where Red Cloud, chief of the largest tribe of the Teton Sioux Nation, gave a speech at a reception in his honor at Cooper Union. “We want preserves in our reserves. We want honest men, and we want you to help to keep us in the lands that belong to us so that we may not be a prey to those who are viciously disposed,” he said at the end of his speech.

Near Astor Place on Second Avenue between about 10th and 14th Streets was the village of Shempoes. The trail from the village went from where St. Marks Church sits today to Astor Place through 9th Street and St. Marks Place.