2. Hanover Street and Square

Hanover Square

Smee Straet has proved to be one of the most debated Dutch street names in New York. One theory suggests that “smee” means “smithy,” referring to a blacksmith. Another suggests it means oily or slick. On a recent Remnants of Dutch New Amsterdam Tour, a Dutch guest further clarified that “smee” means fat or lard. This might suggest that there was perhaps a dairy on the street from which the street name was derived. In the early 1700s, this street was renamed in honor of the British royal family, the House of Hanover. This was the house of which King George III was a member. (It was a likeness of King George III that was torn down from the nearby Bowling Green and melted into bullets during the Revolutionary War.)

The Hanover name was carried over to Hanover Square which was created in the early 18th century. The square used to be referred to as the slip since it served as a slip on the original shoreline of Manhattan. While there was much turmoil in Lower Manhattan between the British and Americans in the throes of the Revolutionary War, today there is a symbol of the friendship between the two countries. The Queen Elizabeth II Garden in Hanover Square was created in memory of the British victims of 9/11. The park pays tribute to the counties of England with an inscribed stone ribbon that winds through the sidewalk of the park and the sixty-seven British victims are memorialized by sixty-seven bamboo shrubs that line the park.