7. South William Street

William Street in New York City

South William Street has a fairly new name compared to the rest of the streets on this list, taking on its present moniker in 1838. The street itself dates back to 1657 when it was the Dutch street Glazier’s Street. This pathway later went by Slyck Steegh, Muddy Lane, Mill Street, and Jew’s Alley. These previous names reflected the street’s condition as an actual muddy lane and its location as the site of glazier Evert Duyckingh’s dwelling, a succession of mills, and a Jewish synagogue.

The street was extended in 1836 from Mill Lane to William. The name William comes from Willem Beeckman, a Dutch immigrant who arrived in New Amsterdam in 1647 and later served nine terms as mayor. According to records on Old Streets and the 1695 Miller Plan, William Street between Hanover Square and Wall Street was called King Street under British rule. After the Revolutionary War, many vestiges of British reign in the form of street names were erased, though we still have King Street (and Prince Street) further north in Manhattan.