Bowling Green

Bowling Green (11)

You are in the oldest public park in New York City.

Everything started in this small triangular plot located in the birthplace of Broadway, as it was here that the Dutchman Peter Minuit purchased Manhattan Island from the Indians in 1626 for 60 guilders. Approximately $24. For many, this was the first pillage against the Indians in North American history.

Soon this area became the centre of activity of New Amsterdam. In fact, south of the square you can see the old Fort Amsterdam, a fortress where the Dutch administrative headquarters were housed, and then the English, and its name was changed depending on who ruled on the island: Fort Amsterdam, Fort James, Fort Willem Hendrick, Fort William, Fort Anne and Fort George. Interestingly, it is now home to the National Museum of the American Indian.

Between 1638 and 1647, this square was used for the cattle market. In 1733, the was leased for one peppercorn a year to several famous people of the neighbourhood to create a park that was to become "the delight of the inhabitants of the city." And, strangely enough, the improvements to the park included an area to play nine-pin bowling green, the precursor of today's game of bowls. Hence, the name of Bowling Green.

In 1770, under British mandate, a controversial statue of George III was erected but can no longer be seen because, just six years later when the famous Declaration of Independence was read, this British symbol was torn down and melted to create 40,000 bullets for the patriots. 

This small square was also the place where the first source with uncontaminated water from the new Croton River Basin was installed in 1842, which relieved the city from the numerous epidemics caused by using well water.

Lastly, do not miss the subway entrance here. It is originally from 1905 and is finished in copper. A real gem. 

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