Downing Street Playground
Downing St to Carmine St, Av Of Americas
Directions via Google Maps
This West Village playground, located on Downing Street and Avenue of the Americas, is named for the street that runs to its south. Downing Street was laid out in 1799 and named no later than 1803, when it first appeared on a New York City map. The origin of its name is unclear. Some credit it to Thomas Downing (1791-1866), an African American freeman who moved to New York from Virginia in 1819 and made a career selling oysters. Located at 5 Broad Street, Downing’s Oyster House was popular with leading politicians, businessmen, and celebrities. Intriguing as this association is, however, it appears to be no more than a coincidence, for Thomas Downing arrived in New York City about twenty years after the street was named.