17 Barrow Street

I had a romantic dinner at One if by Land, Two if by Sea restaurant not too long ago with my husband.

These doors are for Norm’s Thursday Doors, May 26.

One if by Land, Two if by Sea, 17 Barrow Street
One if by Land, Two if by Sea, 17 Barrow Street

History (click History to see more):

The carriage house with accompanying barn, now known as One if by Land, Two if by Sea, has history tied to one of the most controversial figures in early American history, Aaron Burr, who was Attorney General of the State of New York. During the 1790’s he housed his coach and horses in the carriage house at 17 Barrow Street, New York City.

Aaron Burr, a member of local and federal government, was competing with Alexander Hamilton for the Presidency after Thomas Jefferson’s term. Some comments made by Hamilton at a dinner party and were published in an Albany newspaper, which quoted Hamilton as saying that Burr was “a dangerous man … who ought not to be trusted with the reins of government.” Aaron Burr was infuriated, demanded a retraction or apology from Hamilton, if not then satisfaction on the field of honor.

On July 11, 1804 Burr met Hamilton in a duel on a ledge of the Palisades over the Hudson river in Weehawken, New Jersey ending in the death of General Alexander Hamilton, a Revolutionary War hero and the first American Secretary of the Treasury. The killing of Hamilton, the most popular personality in America at the that time led to the political downfall of Aaron Burr, then Vice President of the United States. He also lost most of his New York property, including the carriage house 17 Barrow Street.

There is a tunnel to the building cut in a straight line from Hudson Street, formerly the shore of the river. It is a barrel-vaulted passageway similar to 18th century military construction. It is stone-lined, brick-roofed with the same brick and stone as the carriage house and barn. It is not known if the tunnel was for smuggling or for use during the Revolutionary War. The tunnel was almost certainly used later by the “underground railway” for fugitive slaves to get to the carriage house as one stop on the road to Canada and freedom.

17 Barrow Street was in a mews with carriage houses on both sides of the street, vegetable carts and stalls between the carriage house doors, and hogs freely patrolling the garbage. A Fire House was eventually built next door and the carriage house was used as a stable and engine house. The rooms above housed firemen. At this time vegetable carts were banned from the street by city ordinance, so as not to block the fire engines. The hogs were banned shortly after that for health reasons during the cholera pandemics. In the late 1890’s the city sold the carriage house at 17 Barrow Street. The owner turned it into a somewhat more discreet house of ill-repute than those in the “Tenderloin District” above Madison Square.

In 1910 to 1969 17 Barrow Street became a silent movie house., then a bar, a restaurant, a bar again, and again a restaurant. In 1970 it was purchased by its current owners who restored the carriage house, finding numerous bits and pieces of earlier life in New York including old coins, hand-made horseshoes and antique bottles dating to the early 1800’s. An original hitching post was uncovered, which is still visible in the present bar area.

17 thoughts on “17 Barrow Street

  1. Sherry Lynn Felix 2016-05-26 / 11:54 am

    I said I ate there. I also provided a link to the restarant’s site – see history. See other comments too.


  2. joey 2016-05-26 / 10:09 am

    Gorgeous doors, familiar history — well done! 🙂


  3. Norm 2.0 2016-05-26 / 8:31 am

    A fascinating story and a gorgeous set of doors – well done Sherry 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. sustainabilitea 2016-05-26 / 7:56 am

    I imagine it’s great on the inside, too. The surroundings of the doors really give the whole place its character.



      • sustainabilitea 2016-05-26 / 8:03 am

        I’m trying to look at a number of posts before heading off to work, Sherry, so I both missed it and didn’t have time. I’ll get back to it and thanks for the reminder.


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