How New York Ate 100 Years Ago
FARMING
for illustrations, follow the link at the bottom of this page
New York farming landmarks: The Newtown Pippin, an eating apple with a light citrus flavor, was named for the area around Newtown Creek, near Maspeth, Queens. This apple was exported to Europe with great success. Propagated from grafting the original Brooklyn tree, the Newtown Pippin became a popular commercial variety throughout the country (touted by many horticulturists, including Thomas Jefferson). This apple is still available at the Manhattan Union Square green market early in the apple season. (For more about the Newtown Pippin, see the links page.)

The first cattle ranch in the nation was established at Montauk, Long Island, in 1747.


Bronx
In 1900, Irish immigrants were tenant farmers and tended orchards and vegetable gardens and formal gardens on large estates in Riverdale and in Throggs Neck (north Bronx on the Hudson), where the advent of public transportation soon fostered subdivision.

German truck farms were clustered around Belmont and Castle Hill Point (south central and southeast Bronx).

Italians planted squatters' gardens along the Park Avenue railroad tracks from 138th to 158th St. and raised fruit and vegetables in front and backyard gardens of their homes. Livestock, such as pigs and chickens, were grazed

in parks and public areas. Italians foraged for milkweed, mushrooms and dandelion greens in Franz Sigel Park (153rd St. and Grand Concourse). People trapped blackbirds and other fowl along the East River near Hunt's Point in the Bronx.

Brooklyn
Goat Town was a five-block area around Fountain and Pennsylvania Avenues in East New York (Southeast Brooklyn), and small pig farms dotted the area around Bedford Ave. and Montgomery St., known as Pig Town (West Brooklyn on the East River) until renamed Wingate in the 1950s. Produce from Long Island and points west was sold at the the Flatbush market, or the Wallabout market in Brooklyn, where merchants built wooden sheds to house their wares. Asparagus grew in abundance on a knoll on Pacific St. where it was said the soil had been fertilized with the bodies of British casualties of the Revolutionary War.

Staten Island
Immigrant communities, particularly Greeks,
worked truck farms near Bull's Head in Staten
Island that provided the Manhattan markets
with vegetables and livestock for Washington
Market.

Click "Next" below for photos