In the 1640s, back when NYC was still called Nieuw Amsterdam, Stone Street was known as High Street. A few years later it was connected to the adjoining Brewers Street, and inherited the name. In 1658, the street was paved in the cobbled fashion, in response to local residents’ complaints.
Soon after, in 1647, the city of Nieuw Amsterdam was relinquished to the British and renamed New York. Brewers Street was also renamed, becoming Duke Street in honor of the Duke of York. Finally, in 1794, Duke Street was renamed one last time in appreciation of its being the first paved street in New York City. Although Stone Street’s name has remained the same since then, many other things have changed,
Stone Street’s first major disaster occurred with the Great Fire of 1835. Beginning in a warehouse in Lower Manhattan, the fire quickly spread to the surrounding buildings. Thanks to the brutal winter winds and a thick layer of ice on the river that prevented the firemen from filling their hoses, the fire decimated everything below Wall Street. Stone Street recovered from this tragedy, and was soon filled again with shops and importers. Despite a favorable upswing from the tragic fire, the street was once again falling into disrepair at the turn of the century. This slump in profitability hitting the area was soon resolved thanks to the Eno family, who rebuilt and repurposed many of the area’s buildings.
With the construction of the World Trade Center in the 1970s, focus was shifted to a new part of Manhattan. The once quaint and bustling street became a shady alley and a warren for drug dealers. But after 9/11 attacks, the area’s economy was at an all-time low.
In 1996, the street was declared a landmark by the New York City Landmark Preservation Commission, leading the way for a resurgence of the area. Stone Street’s most recent renovation, finished in 2003, has restored it to its beautiful 19th century style. Its cobbled streets and old buildings remain quaint in comparison to the rest of the city, faced with old bricks and twisting metal fire escapes. The renovations cost almost $2 million but have proven to be worth it. This once decrepit area is now a thriving location for sightseers and restaurateurs. The historical street has lasted throughout many transitional times in New York City’s history, and is not looking to change any time soon.