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A Look Back at SoHo’s Broadway: The Etymology of Street Names Part II

We received such a positive response to last month’s post on the etymology of SoHo street names that we decided to extend it into a two-part series. Here are some more stories about how our neighborhood’s streets got their names.

Broadway between Howard and Grand Streets 1840 (source: NYPL Digital Collections)


Howard Street

Howard Street is named for Henry Howard, a New York City firefighter and chief of the fire department from 1857-1860, when it was an all-volunteer department.

Broadway and Grand Street 1930 (source: NYPL)

Grand Street

Grand Street was considered exceptionally wide when John DeLancey Jr. (born 1732) laid out this grand road through his estate. DeLancey Jr., like his father, was a staunch loyalist who was stripped of his land after the Revolutionary War and forced to flee New York City.

John Broome


Broome Street

Broome Street is named after John Broome, an American merchant, city alderman and three-term lieutenant governor of New York who served from 1804 until his death in 1810.

Prince Street between Broadway and Lafayette (formerly known as Elm Street)

Prince Street between Broadway and Lafayette (formerly known as Elm Street)


Prince Street

Prince Street was laid out and named prior to 1800, but the namesake of the street is unknown.

Hugh Mercer


Mercer Street

Mercer Street, named in 1799 after General Hugh Mercer, was originally called Clermont Street. Mercer, a physician, died in the battle of Princeton in 1777 and became a fallen hero and rallying symbol of the American Revolution.

William Bedlow Crosby (MCNY)


Crosby Street

Crosby Street was named after the 19th century millionaire and philanthropist William Bedloe Crosby, a man who devoted a considerable amount of his time and money to charity and performed good deeds throughout the neighborhood. William Crosby did not own the land through which Crosby Street runs, but lived in the area.

Yukie Ohta is founder of The SoHo Memory Project 

Take a ‘Lookback’ at previous articles in this series…

More events from SoHo Broadway Nonprofits

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