Cortlandt Street (Manhattan)

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Coordinates: 40°42′36.38″N74°0′38.34″W / 40.7101056°N 74.0106500°W / 40.7101056; -74.0106500

Geographic coordinate system Coordinate system

A geographic coordinate system is a coordinate system that enables every location on Earth to be specified by a set of numbers, letters or symbols. The coordinates are often chosen such that one of the numbers represents a vertical position and two or three of the numbers represent a horizontal position; alternatively, a geographic position may be expressed in a combined three-dimensional Cartesian vector. A common choice of coordinates is latitude, longitude and elevation. To specify a location on a plane requires a map projection.


Looking east down Cortlandt Street from One Liberty Plaza; the building with the green mansard roof is 174 Broadway, also known as 1 Maiden Lane. When Cortlandt Street crosses Broadway it becomes Maiden Lane. Cortlandt Street Between Church Street and Broadway, Manhattan, New York.jpg
Looking east down Cortlandt Street from One Liberty Plaza; the building with the green mansard roof is 174 Broadway, also known as 1 Maiden Lane. When Cortlandt Street crosses Broadway it becomes Maiden Lane.

Cortlandt Street is located in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan, New York City. It has varied in length over time, but it currently runs east to west for the one block from Broadway to Church Street, then continues an additional block as the non-vehicular Cortlandt Way from Church to Greenwich Street. At its eastern end, the street continues as Maiden Lane.

Financial District, Manhattan Neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City

The Financial District of Lower Manhattan, also known as FiDi, is a neighborhood located on the southern tip of Manhattan island in New York City. It is bounded by the West Side Highway on the west, Chambers Street and City Hall Park on the north, Brooklyn Bridge on the northeast, the East River to the southeast, and The Battery on the south.

Lower Manhattan Central business district in New York, United States

Lower Manhattan, also known as Downtown Manhattan or Downtown New York, is the southernmost part of Manhattan, the central borough for business, culture, and government in the City of New York, which itself originated at the southern tip of Manhattan Island in 1624, at a point which now constitutes the present-day Financial District. The population of the Financial District alone has grown to an estimated 61,000 residents as of 2018, up from 43,000 as of 2014, which in turn was nearly double the 23,000 recorded at the 2000 Census.

New York City Largest city in the United States

The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2018 population of 8,398,748 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 19,979,477 people in its 2018 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 22,679,948 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.

The street, which was laid out and set down c.1735, was during the early 20th century the site of Radio Row, a small business district which specialized in the sale and repair of radios. All except one block was razed in the mid-1960s for the building of the World Trade Center. Cortlandt Way reopened in 2012.

Radio Row former business district in New York City

Radio Row is a nickname for an urban street or district specializing in the sale of radio and electronic equipment and parts. Radio Rows arose in many cities with the 1920s rise of broadcasting and declined after the middle of the 20th century.


The street is named after Oloff Van Cortlandt and his family. Van Cortlandt, who arrived in New Amsterdam in 1637, was a rich brewer and leading citizen of the colony he was burgomaster from 1655 to 1666 and owned the land on which the street was laid. [1] [2] His son Stephanus Van Cortlandt was the mayor of New York from 1677 to 1678, and again from 1686 to 1688. He was the city's first native-born mayor. Stephanus' brother Jacobus Van Cortlandt was mayor from 1710 to 1711 and from 1719 to 1720. Both served under British rule. [2] [notes 1]

New Amsterdam historical Dutch colonial settlement that became New York City

New Amsterdam was a 17th-century Dutch settlement established at the southern tip of Manhattan Island that served as the seat of the colonial government in New Netherland. The factorij became a settlement outside Fort Amsterdam. The fort was situated on the strategic southern tip of the island of Manhattan and was meant to defend the fur trade operations of the Dutch West India Company in the North River. In 1624, it became a provincial extension of the Dutch Republic and was designated as the capital of the province in 1625.

Burgomaster Archaic term for a mayor

Burgomaster is the English form of various terms in or derived from Germanic languages for the chief magistrate or executive of a city or town. The name in English was derived from the Dutch burgemeester. In some cases, Burgomaster was the title of the head of state and head of government of a sovereign city-state, sometimes combined with other titles, such as Hamburg's First Mayor and President of the Senate). Contemporary titles are commonly translated into English as mayor.

Stephanus Van Cortlandt First native-born mayor of New York City

Stephanus van Cortlandt was the first native-born mayor of New York City, a position which he held from 1677 to 1678 and from 1686 to 1688. He was the patroon of Van Cortlandt Manor and was on the governor's executive council from 1691 to 1700. He was the first resident of Sagtikos Manor in West Bay Shore on Long Island, which was built around 1697. A number of his descendants married English military leaders and Loyalists active in the American Revolution, and their descendants became prominent members of English society.

The Cortlandt Street Ferry Depot in 1893 (King1893NYC) pg135 CORTLANDT-STREET FERRY. NORTH RIVER crop.jpg
The Cortlandt Street Ferry Depot in 1893

The street has existed since before the American Revolution. Of the numerous extant maps of the city, it first appears in "Mrs. Buchnerd's Plan" which depicts the colony in 1732-35, however it does not appear on the "Carwitham Plan" of 1730 or the "Lyne-Bradford Plan" from 1731. [4] Prior to that time, the land on which Cortlandt Street would be laid was the southern border of Trinity Church's "Church Farm" previously known as the "King's Farm" which went as far north as what is now Christopher Street. [notes 2]

American Revolution Revolt in which the Thirteen Colonies won independence from Great Britain

The American Revolution was a colonial revolt which occurred between 1765 and 1783. The American Patriots in the Thirteen Colonies defeated the British in the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) with the assistance of France, winning independence from Great Britain and establishing the United States of America.

Trinity Church (Manhattan) historic parish church in the Episcopal Diocese of New York

Trinity Church is a historic parish church in the Episcopal Diocese of New York located near the intersection of Wall Street and Broadway in the lower Manhattan section of New York City, New York. Known for both its location and endowment, Trinity is a traditional high church, with an active parish centered around the Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion in missionary, outreach, and fellowship.

The Unitarian preacher John Butler rented a hall on Cortlandt Street in 1794 and lectured before crowds that his critics considered to be "truly alarming" in size. He was opposed by mainstream preachers, who vehemently criticized him in their sermons. [7]

Unitarianism is a Christian theological movement named for its belief that the God in Christianity is one person, as opposed to the Trinity which in many other branches of Christianity defines God as three persons in one being: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Unitarian Christians, therefore, believe that Jesus was inspired by God in his moral teachings, and he is a savior, but he was not a deity or God incarnate. As is typical of dissenters, Unitarianism does not constitute one single Christian denomination, but rather refers to a collection of both extant and extinct Christian groups, whether historically related to each other or not, which share a common theological concept of the oneness nature of God.

In 1807, Robert Fulton began scheduled ferry service from the foot of Cortlandt Street to Albany, New York via the Hudson River. The boat, initially called the North River Steamboat , later became known as the Clermont. [8] Ferries also ran from the Cortlandt Street Ferry Depot to New Jersey. [9]

Herman Melville's family lived on Cortlandt Street from around 1821 to 1824, during Melville's childhood, as part of their rise in status in the city after their relocation from Boston, where Melville's father was a successful merchant. [10]

Radio Row in 1936, photographed by Berenice Abbott Radio Row-Berenice Abbott.jpg
Radio Row in 1936, photographed by Berenice Abbott
The former entrance to the East River Savings Bank Century 21 entrance former East River Savings Bank.jpg
The former entrance to the East River Savings Bank

In 1887, the Brill Brothers men's clothing store chain opened its first store at 45 Cortlandt Street. Max and Maurice Brill, whose name is on the Brill Building in midtown, expanded the one store into a chain of eight. Down the block, at 41 Cortlandt Street, the first Childs Restaurant was opened in 1889. [11]

Business owner and entrepreneur Harry L. Schneck opened City Radio on Cortlandt Street in 1921. This was a small business that sold radios and radio parts, which at the time was quite a novelty. [12] Over the following decades, the area developed into a business district in its own right, becoming known as Radio Row. [13] [14]

In 1966, the Radio Row district was demolished and its streets were de-mapped to make way for the construction of the World Trade Center. Cortlandt Street, which until then ran to West Street, was cut back several hundred yards to Church Street, making it only one block long. In 1968, both the Singer Building and the City Investing Building were deconstructed to make way for the monolithic One Liberty Plaza, a full block 54-story office tower. [15] 22 Cortlandt Street was built directly across from it and both projects were overseen by the Emery Roth & Sons architecture firm.

After the September 11 attacks in 2001, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which had operated the World Trade Center, decided to redevelop the street grid within the World Trade Center site. One of the rebuilding proposals included building an enclosed shopping street along the path of Cortlandt Street that laid within the World Trade Center site. [16] However, it was ultimately decided to build Cortlandt, Fulton, and Greenwich Streets, which had been destroyed during the original World Trade Center's construction. [11] The de-mapped portion of Cortlandt Street was re-mapped as "Cortlandt Way" in 2014 as part of the development of the new World Trade Center. The newly opened portion, which is not accessible to vehicles, lies between Three and Four World Trade Center. [11]


Located at 26 Cortlandt Street is the Neo-classical/Art Deco former East River Savings Bank building, designed by Walker & Gillette and built from 1931 to 1934; it was later expanded upwards. The building is listed in the AIA Guide to New York City . [17] It is now a Century 21 department store.


Cortlandt Street is the location of subway stations on the IRT Broadway-Seventh Avenue Line ( 1 train) and the BMT Broadway Line ( N , R , and W trains). [18] The IRT station was destroyed as a result of the September 11 attacks, and reopened in September 2018. [19] The BMT station was closed for a year after the attacks, and then again in 2005 to allow for construction of various parts of the new World Trade Center, including a passageway linking the station to the Fulton Center. The northbound platform re-opened in 2009 [20] followed by the southbound in 2011. [21]

There were formerly stations at Cortlandt Street on the Ninth Avenue and Sixth Avenue elevated lines. A ferry depot, the Cortlandt Street Ferry Depot, formerly operated at the western end of Cortlandt Street along the Hudson River.

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Informational notes

  1. The family's name also appears on Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, the land of which was given to Jacobus' wife, Eva, by her adoptive faher, Frederick Philipse. The land was bought from their descendants by New York City and turned into a park in 1888. [2] [3]
  2. Later, in 1762, the church's vestry would have that land surveyed and laid out in a grid pattern of streets one of the earliest uses of the grid in Manhattan [5] on which they offered plots to artisans and laborers at very affordable rents. [6]


  1. Feirstein, Sanna (2001), Naming New York: Manhattan Places & How They Got Their Names, New York: New York University Press, p. 26, ISBN   978-0-8147-2712-6
  2. 1 2 3 Moscow, Henry (1978), The Street Book: An Encyclopedia of Manhattan's Street Names and Their Origins, New York: Hagstrom Company, p. 42, ISBN   0823212750
  3. Staff (June 1986) "Van Cortlandt Park History" Administrator's Office, Van Cortlandt & Pelham Bay Parks, New York City Department of Parks & Recreation
  4. Augustyn, Robert T. & Cohen, Paul E. (1997), Manhattan in Maps: 1527-1995, New York: Rizzoli International Press, pp. 55, 57, 61, ISBN   0847820521
  5. Koeppel, Gerard (2015), City on a Grid: How New York Became New York, Boston: Da Capo Press, pp. 11–12, ISBN   978-0-306-82284-1
  6. Burrows & Wallace (1999), p.187
  7. Burrows & Wallace (1999), p.396
  8. Burrows & Wallace (1999), p.343
  9. Cudahy, Brian J. (1990). Over and Back: The History of Ferryboats in New York Harbor. New York: Fordham University Press. pp. 20–24, 360, 362. ISBN   0-8232-1245-9.
  10. Burrows & Wallace (1999), p.702
  11. 1 2 3 Dunlap, David W. (2014-08-01). "At World Trade Center Site, Rebuilding Recreates Intersection of Long Ago". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-02-23.
  12. Simon, Jordan (July 25, 2016). "The History of "Radio Row," NYC's First Electronics District". Gothamist . Archived from the original on 2016-07-28.
  13. Hartman, Amir (2004). Ruthless Execution: What Business Leaders Do When Their Companies Hit the Wall. Financial Times Prentice Hall. ISBN   0-13-101884-1., p. 167 "The electronic component distribution business started in the 1920s and 1930s, selling radio tubes on lower Manhattan's Cortland[ sic ] St...."
  14. "'Radio Row:' The neighborhood before the World Trade Center". National Public Radio. 2002-06-03. Retrieved 2006-10-01.
  15. "One Liberty Plaza". Emporis .
  16. Dunlap, David W. (2005-11-24). "Does Putting Up a Glass Galleria Count as Bringing Back a Street?". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-02-23.
  17. White, Norval; Willensky, Elliot & Leadon, Fran (2010), AIA Guide to New York City (5th ed.), New York: Oxford University Press, p. 40, ISBN   9780195383867
  18. "Subway Map" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. May 1, 2019. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  19. "Cortlandt Street Station, Damaged on Sept. 11, Reopens 17 Years Later". The New York Times. September 8, 2018. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  20. Chan, Sewell (November 26, 2009). "After 5 Years, Cortlandt Street Station Partly Reopens". City Room. The New York Times. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  21. Dunlap, David W. (December 23, 2011). "After an Earlier Delay, the Fulton Street Transit Center Finally Rises". City Room. The New York Times. Retrieved September 8, 2018.