The Broncks', the borough of my childhood, fades away

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Thu Dec 6 01:35:12 UTC 2007

At 12/5/2007 12:03 PM, David Donnell wrote:
>The NYC street I live on is widely known as "the Bowery", but the
>official street name is just "Bowery".
>Google results:
>      27,600 for "on Bowery"
>      153,000 for "on the Bowery"

Despite the "on"s, when I grew up in the Bronx, "the Bowery" was a
locality, not a street.  Do locals today really refer to just the
street as "the Bowery"?

>Myself, I tend to say "I live on Bowery", but I have no real
>preference. (OTOH, I used to live in the Bronx, and couldn't imagine
>ever saying "I used to live in Bronx.")
>Also, I'm not aware of any other NYC street names that are just one
>word--Bowery has no "Street" or "Avenue", etc, as part of the name.

Broadway.  (Just as someone's house is "on Bowery", someone else's is
"on Broadway", not "on the Broadway".)  And probably others where the
name already includes the notion of "way".

>The origin of "Bowery", if I remember correctly: it comes from a
>Dutch word for "farm". (Related to the English word "bovine", I
>think). Back in the days when this city was called New Amsterdam, the
>street was a cow path leading up to Gov. Peter Stuyvesant's farm
>around what is now 14th Street.

So the farm is the locality, "the Bowery".

>Corrections welcome.


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