The Streets of New York

(Photo by Matt H. Wade )

New York City Streets are rich with history.  Two of the most famous streets in New York City are Broadway and Wall Street.  Broadway is best known for the theater district, bright with lights and marquees, advertising the dozens of shows currently playing.  Wall Street is associated with money, the financial district, and the New York Stock Exchange.  But have you ever thought about the humble beginnings of these famous New York City Streets?

Broadway was the first main road created on the island of Manhattan when it was settled by colonists in 1624.  Watch this short clip from the PBS Series “New York: A Documentary film by Ric Burns”.
Settling in Manhattan, creating Broadway

Did you know that a very famous hat was purchased at a shop on Broadway in 1860?  Watch this short clip from the same video to find out.
Famous Hat

Street sign on the Wall St. taken by author on August 18, 2005 Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic
Sign on Wall St. (CC image via Wikimedia)

Here’s some more NYC trivia.  Can you guess where the name Wall Street came from?  Yes, there was a wall there at one time.  Here are two more short clips that explain how the wall went up circa 1653 and came down in 1699.
Wall going up
Wall comes down

You may know from your US History classes that New York City was the capitol at one time.  But did you know that the Continental Congress actually met on Wall Street?
NYC Capitol

If you want to learn more about NYC History and you are a Touro student, staff or faculty member, then you will be pleased to know that the entire New York video series by Ric Burns is available via online streaming video through Touro Libraries’ subscription to Films On Demand.  You can access Films On Demand, as well as many other useful video databases by visiting the Library’s homepage and clicking on the “Videos” tab.  If you are off campus, you will need your off-campus username and password to access the content in these databases.  Click here to set up or reset your username and password.

If you are a member of the Touro community, you can create custom video clips from many of our educational videos and use them in a presentation, webpage or Blackboard course.  The clips that are included in this blog post are a small sampling of the content from Touro’s online undergraduate course HISTORY OF NEW YORK CITY [ GHS 306  OL ].  I have greatly enjoyed working with Professor Elliot Hymes as an embedded librarian in this course.  I’ve been able to help add lots of pertinent library content to the course and I’ve learned so much about NYC history at the same time.   If you would like to know more about how an embedded librarian can enhance your course see the Embedded Librarian program description.

If you prefer DVDs to streaming video, the Bay Shore campus and the Midtown campus both have the Ric Burns New York video series on a set of 8 DVDs, available to borrow.

Touro Libraries also has an extensive collection of books, ebooks and other DVDs on the topic of New York.

Contributed by: Laurel Scheinfeld, Librarian, Bay Shore

One thought on “The Streets of New York

  1. archivistphil January 30, 2015 / 11:31 am

    Great Post. I’ve always loved that Broadway, a vibrant, world-famous street running through the entire length of one of the world’s premiere cities, started out as a humble foot path (some have speculated, even a deer path, before humans began using it). One of the nicest things about working at Touro’s location at 65 Broadway (just south of Wall Street) was being able to walk around at lunch time and enjoy all the beautiful architecture, fascinating landmarks and rich history the neighborhood has to offer.

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