Bloomingdale Restaurants exist as modern culinary destinations within a historic place! The Columbus Amsterdam BID has started this site to promote the area and the restaurants within it. Read more about the neighborhood history below, and check out our Restaurant Guide for a complete list of places to eat in the area!
As a place name, “Bloomingdale” first appears in public records in 1688 but was probably in use much earlier. The Dutch colonists of New Amsterdam may have adopted the name by geographical analogy, since the Dutch town of Bloemendaal (which means “vale of flowers”) is northwest of Amsterdam and a few miles west of Haarlem.
Bloomingdale is now a name for the blocks from 96th to 110th Streets between Central Park and the Hudson River, but it once denoted a much larger area of Manhattan Island.
In British colonial times, “Bloomingdale” seems to have encompassed the entire west side of Manhattan north of the Great Kill, a creek near the present 42nd St., to what we now call Washington Heights. About 1708, the British colonial government built the Bloomingdale Road. It started at today’s Madison Square and ran, roughly along the line of Broadway, to the present 115th St. and Riverside Drive. (It was later extended to 147th St.). By the time of the American Revolution, Bloomingdale was a thriving district of farms and country estates.
Shortly after 1800, three villages sprang up along the Bloomingdale Road. Harsenville was around the present 71st St., Bloomingdale Village around 99th St. and Manhattanville around 125th St.
When the city’s present street plan was adopted in 1811, it included a park called Bloomingdale Square, from 53rd to 57th Streets between Eighth and Ninth Avenues. That original Bloomingdale Square was eliminated from the plan in 1857 when the city created Central Park only two blocks north of it. In 1868, the Bloomingdale Road north of 59th Street was closed and replaced by the present Broadway. In the 1870s, the creation of Morningside Park began to give the area north of 110th Street a distinct identity as Morningside Heights.
Thus, “Bloomingdale” shrank in extent but continued to be used for the area closest to the old Bloomingdale Village. Today, between 96th Street and 110th Street, one can find a Bloomingdale School (P.S. 145), a Bloomingdale Branch Library, and even sections of the old Bloomingdale Road. Among other organizations using the name are the Bloomingdale School of Music, Bloomingdale Family Program(a Head-Start pre-school program), Bloomingdale Aging in Place and, most recently, the Bloomingdale Neighborhood History Group.
-Gil Tauber, New York City historian, author, and tour guide