Bloomingdale Neighborhood History Group
All five parts are available as a single pdf for download below
Created by Gilbert Tauber, member of the planning committee of the Bloomingdale Neighborhood History Group
THE NAMING OF BLOOMINGDALE
It is likely that, by the time Theunis Idens moved there about 1688, the name Bloomingdale was already being used for the area north of the Great Kill and west of the Harlem Line. It is also likely that the inhabitants of New Harlem were the first to use the name, at least in its Dutch form. The village of New Harlem, at about today’s 125th St. and First Avenue, was first so called in 1658. The village of Bloemendael in the Netherlands is about two miles west of the original Harlem. Manhattan’s Bloomingdale was a similar distance west of New Harlem. It would have been logical for residents of New Harlem, who used the area to their west for grazing and other purposes, to refer to it jocularly as Bloemendael.
On March 10, 1688, the marriage register of the Reformed Dutch Church in New York records the marriage of Francisco Van Angola, young man (i.e., a bachelor), “Van Bloemendal” to Dorothee Bresiel, young lady, (i.e., maiden), “Van de Barbadoes,” the first living “op Bloemendal” and the second “op Frederick Philpszens land.” This is the first known use of the name Bloemendal in a written record. The Dutch preposition “op” usually means “on” (in the physical sense), which suggests that “Bloemendal” might denote a specific farm or estate. On the other hand, in this context, it might also have the meaning of “at.”
The entry in the marriage register indicates that the wedding took place at New Harlem. It also specifies, by the terms young man and young lady, that neither partner had been previously married. In an age of frequent early mortality, marriages involving widows and widowers were common.
It is almost certain that both bride and groom were Black. Most of the early slaves in the New Netherlands were brought from Portuguese territories in Africa or from Brazil. Angola or Van Angola was a common name among former slaves of the Dutch West India Company. Starting in the late 1630s, a number of the Company’s long-serving slaves were manumitted and settled on small grants of land along the West Side of the Bowery between today’s Houston and 14th Sts.  Dorothee was from Barbados, but the name Bresiel may indicate a connection with the Portuguese colony of Brazil. At the time, Barbadoes was a center of the transatlantic slave trade, in which Frederick Philipse was a major player.
THE NORTHERN TRIANGLE
Following Nicoll’s 1668 grant to Isaac Bedlow, there remained a large triangle of ungranted land to the north of the Bedlow grant. It ran from 107th to an acute angle between the Harlem Line and the Hudson River at what is now the foot of St. Clair Place, formerly West 129th St. The end of the Harlem Line was described by the surveyor Casimir Goerck in 1785 as being the site of a certain sycamore tree. It was, according to Stokes, just west of 12th Avenue, very near the foot of the steps now leading down from Riverside Park. In 1677 the northern tip of the triangle, amounting to about 30 acres, was granted by Governor Andros to Hendrick Hendricksen Bosh, a sword cutler.
Under the Dongan Charter of 1686, the now-truncated triangle became the property of the City of New York. In 1700, to help finance the construction of the new City Hall on Wall Street, this parcel was ordered surveyed and sold at auction. The winning bid was from John Miseroll Jr., yeoman, of Bushwick., who afterward assigned his bid to Captain Jacob DeKey. The final deed to DeKey gave the acreage as 235 acres, 3 rods and 18 perches and the price as 237 pounds.
Bosh’s 30-acre farm was sold before his death to Thomas Tourneur, a member of one of New Harlem’s leading families. Tourneur already owned the farm when DeKey got the larger parcel to the south.. After Tourneur died in 1710, DeKey purchased the 30 acres from Tourneur’s heirs. No record of Jacobus DeKey’s death has been found, but his son Thomas advertised the farm for sale in 1732. In a deed dated before May 1, 1735, Thomas DeKey sold the property to Adriaen Hoogland and Harman Vandewater, who divided it between them.  Hoogland’s share was the farm conveyed by his executors to Nicholas DePeyster in 1785. In 1795, Nicholas DePeyster’s barn was on or near the site of Adriaen Hoogland’s house.
Footnotes for Part 4 can be read by clicking the "Read More" to the right.
Footnotes for Part 4
(1) Stokes, op.cit., Vol 4. Chronology Nov 27, 1658. There is a legend that New Harlem was so named to avoid strife after Stuyvesant determined that none of its settlers were from the original Harlem. More likely, the name honors old Harlem for its resistance to the Spanish siege of 1572-3.
 Danckaerts, believed that New Harlem itself was so named because it its distance from New Amsterdam was similar to the distance between their namesakes in the Netherlands.
 Stokes, op. cit., Vol. VI, p. 21
 Purple, Samuel S. (ed.) Collections of the New-York Genealogical and Biographical Society, Vol. I.: Marriages from 1639 to 1801 in the Dutch Reformed Church, New York. Published by the Society. New York, 1890, p. 64.
 Other toponymic surnames among these former slaves included Santome (from Sao Tome), Portuguese, Spagnie, Cartagena, and Congo. The Company’s policy toward former slaves was not entirely benevolent. The plots they were given were along the main approach to the city, making them a buffer and early warning system in the event of an Indian attack from the north. In addition, while the former slaves might be free, they might still owe some part-time service to the Company, and children born to them might still be slaves.
 Stokes, op. cit. Vol. VI, Pl. 84B.
 Ibid., p. 97.
 Riker, op. cit., p. 368n.
 Stokes, op. cit. Vol VI, p. 97.
 Riker, op. cit., p. 368n
 Stokes, op. cit. Vol. VI, p. 98. Stokes describes disputes over the boundary between Harlem and DeKey (and later Hoogland and Vandewater). Because the Harlem Line ran due south from 129th St., it cut off some slivers of farmland at the foot of the hills between 107th and 116th Streets. The boundary was eventually adjusted to reflect topography.
 Ibid., pp. 97-98.
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