200 Hudson Street is one of those huge loft buildings with hundreds of windows built in early-to-mid 20th Century seen frequently in Tribeca lining Hudson and Varick Streets. The building sports a historic plaque on its Desbrosses Street end, taking note of yet another one of George Washington’s many frequented areas, before, during and after the Revolutionary War. The Father of His Country probably has been in my home, as well — or rather the forest it was before anything was built here in Little Neck.
In 1775 Washington visited the home of Leonard Lispenard, a major landowner in southern Manhattan at that time. Nearby Lispenard Street was named for either Anthony Lispenard (1640-1696) or grandson Leonard (1714-1790). Anthony Lispenard was a refugee from 17th Century France, as many French Huguenots emigrated to the Colonies in the 1700s. He became an alderman, and assemblyman and a treasurer of King’s College (which developed into Columbia University). He married into the Rutgers family (the Lispenards also intermarried with the Bleeckers) and came to own much of the property that is now west of Broadway and south of Canal. Unfortunately, back then much of that was swampland, which became the source of troublesome mosquito infestations before the area was developed and built up with the aid of landfill.
The tablet was likely affixed to the building that occupied this spot before 200 Hudson was constructed.