PODCAST: Collect Pond and Canal Street


Collect Pond (and what I assume to be Bunker Hill) as depicted in watercolors by artist Archibald Robertson in 1798

We celebrate a year of New York City history podcasting by re-visiting the topic of our very first show.

Downtown Civic Center used to have a big ole pond in the middle of it which provided drinking water for the island’s first inhabitants.

What happened to it, why is it important today and how did it give rise to Canal Street, New York’s biggest traffic thoroughfare?

Listen to it for free on iTunes or other podcasting services. Or you can download or listen to it HERE

From the Mannahatta Project, a visualization of downtown Manhattan, with Collect Pond and acres of forest

Hard to believe, but this is downtown Manhattan and Collect Pond

An early 19th century map of Collect Pond and the streets that usurped it. (Click into it to see details.)

A mid-century depiction of Five Points, this corner in particular being where Paradise Square sprang up, an ambitious residential project doomed by soggy land and noxious odors

The Tombs Prison, in 1890, before being condemned. Its squalid conditions are legendary and are due in part to unsatisfactory construction over the former Collect Pond area

The early days of Canal Street. The actual foul-smellin canal was concealed with a row of lovely trees shielding the new tenements and businesses surrounding it

A tiny park surrounded by government buildings pays homage to the early (and far more natural) days

The most dramatic reminder of the neighborhood’s early days, however, is the African Burial Ground Memorial, which opened last year

  • “actual foul-smellin canal was concealed with a row of lovely trees shielding the new tenements and businesses surrounding it”

    unfortunately, canal street is still foul smellin; but there are no trees o shield the new tenements and businesses surrounding it.

  • Fascinating and funny, as usual. I’m also consumed with Collect Pond and it’s weird history – was just down there Thursday trying to figure it out. I loved hearing your take on it. Great job!
    Tim R.

  • Bravo gentleman! I must tell you that your podcasts get me through my work day. We live in such a fascinating city and I believe we owe it to ourselves to learn as much about it as possible. Collect Pond is one of my all time favorite posts of ours. Thanks!

  • Bravo gentleman! I must tell you that your podcasts get me through my work day. We live in such a fascinating city and I believe we owe it to ourselves to learn as much about it as possible. Collect Pond is one of my all time favorite posts of ours. Thanks!

  • some of the photos were from http://www.nychinatown.org/history/1800s.html

    .

  • Dan Kowalski

    Great podcast. Check out this video I made about the Collect. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ks9OW2Glmw

  • Hopefully this park actually gets built so this site can be properly honored and acknowledged.

    http://www.downtownexpress.com/de_271/PARK.gif