500 years ago West 103rd Street was a camp for the Lenape indigenous people called Welikia, “my good home,” according to conservationist Eric Sanderson. W 103rd Street was perfectly located in the middle of Mannahatta, “the island of hills” with a fresh water stream jumping with fish, which still flows today in Central Park. If you enter the park from 103rd Street, you can follow the water from The Pond to the stream that flows toward Harlem Meer lake. Imagine the landscape teaming with “bears, wolves, songbirds, and salamanders, with clear, clean waters …and porpoises and whales in the harbor.”
In the 17th Century, the Dutch colonists pushed out the Lenape and renamed the area after their hometown neighborhood of Bloemendaal (“vale of flowers”), anglicized to “Bloomingdale.” The British pushed out the Dutch in 1664. The American Revolution pushed out the Brits. In 1794 the City’s Common Council created Bloomingdale Road along the Lenape Wecquaesgeek trail, as a north-south connector. We call it Broadway. In the first part of the 19th Century, this was farmland.