NYC Streets


A name used by the late 17th century for what was then the rugged and sparsely populated west side of Manhattan Island north of the Great Kill or, perhaps, north of Greenwich Village. The name probably comes from Bloemendael, a small town some distance from the mother city of Amsterdam, and may have been used initially in the vague way that modern Manhattanites use upstate or even the sticks. After the opening of the Bloomingdale Road in the early 18th Century, the name Bloomingdale became synonymous with the region through which it passed, i.e, from 23rd Street to Morningside Heights. After the road was extended to 147th Street, places even farther north were described as being "in Bloomingdale."

The principal settlements in Bloomingdale were Harsenville, around 70th Street; and Manhattanville, at what is now 125th Street. Bloomingdale Village was a less compact settlement around 100th Street. Seneca Village, just east of today�s Central Park West at about 81st Street, was obliterated in the 1850s with the creation of Central Park. Carmansville was in the West 150s, slightly north of the Bloomingdale Road's junction with the Kingsbridge Road.

For most of the 19th Century the most famous institution in Bloomingdale was the Bloomingdale Insane Asylum. After the Civil War real estate promoters, concerned about negative associations with the asylum, began to call the area the West End, hence West End Avenue. By the time the Bloomingdale Asylum closed in 1894--its site is now the main campus of Columbia University--Bloomingdale as a neighborhood name had fallen into disuse. It has since had a modest revival as a name for the northerly part of the Upper West Side, between 96th and 110th Streets. Other parts of Bloomingdale took on more specific neighborhood names in the late 19th Century, including Morningside Heights, St. Nicholas Heights, Hamilton Heights and Washington Heights.

Sources | Contact | © 2005-2006 by Gilbert Tauber