Postal carriers first traveled the Boston Post Road, the first official post road in North America, in 1673. The road had been established by Colonel Francis Lovelace’s decree on behalf of King Charles II (1630-1685) of England in that year. Originally a Native American trail, the Boston Post Road took two weeks to travel between New York and Boston by horse. Acting to improve traffic and postal delivery efficiency, authorities changed the route several times. In 1783, Lewis Morris (1726-98), an influential American political leader and landowner, created a new and final route that passed through his land, known as Morrisania in what is now the Bronx, on the way to Massachusetts. The Boston Post Road remained a major postal route in New York City until the 1840s, when it was phased out following the rise in popularity of railroads for commercial transportation. In the present day, the former Boston Post Road has become U.S. Highway 1 from Boston to New York City, which leads into Boston Road in the Bronx, and Park Avenue, the Bowery, and Broadway in Manhattan, and concludes at Battery Park at Manhattan’s southern tip.
For more than a decade, the triangular strip of land located at the corner of Boston Road, Allerton Road, and Williamsbridge Road, and now known as Boston Road Garden was the site of an abandoned fast-food restaurant. An enormous volume of refuse collected within the property’s chain-link fence and, in 1989, local merchants, displeased with the eyesore, adopted the land as a community project. Their organization, the Allerton Business and Community Association (ABCA), worked with local volunteers to clean the space.
In 1997, at the request of ABCA, the city assigned the Boston Garden property to Parks as a Greenstreets project. ABCA agreed to continue to maintain the previously trash-filled parcel of land. Greenstreets is a joint project of Parks and the New York City Department of Transportation, which was begun in 1986 and revived in 1994 with the goal of converting paved street properties, such as triangles and malls, into green spaces.
The Neighborhood Initiative Development Corporation (NIDC), in conjunction with the ABCA, initially installed over 120 plants, most of which were provided by Parks, as well as several rose bushes provided by the New York Botanical Garden. The space now includes a living Blue spruce (Picea pungens) that serves as a permanent holiday centerpiece, and more than 25 different species of plants -- including Spindletrees (Euonymous), Quince (Chaenomeles speciosa), Bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica), Maiden grass (Miscanthus sinensis), Red cedar (Junipera virginiana), and Chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum). Between 1997 and 2000, NIDC installed Belgian blocks around the perimeter of the green space, and planted over 350 bulbs with the assistance of middle school children.