by Kevin Walsh

PURELY guesswork on my part, but I’ll bet Five Mile Stone, a tavern on the corner of 2nd Avenue and East 85th Street in Yorkville, is named for a marker on a long-vanished road that used to meander through the countryside in the Upper East Side centuries ago.

The Boston Post Road, which followed an already established Native American trail, was established in 1673 as couriers bringing mail to different locales in the colonies traveled the trail, which was then very rough and interrupted in several locations. Couriers would mark miles by hacking cuts into trees at intervals. After nearly a century, the road was straightened and improved somewhat between New York and Boston, and from 1753-1769 heavy stone markers were set at one-mile intervals, with the surveying supervised by Benjamin Franklin. Postal rates were set by the distances between one spot and the other.

According to The Milestones and the Old Post Road  (1915) by George W. Nash and Hopper Striker Mott the Post Road’s 5th mile marker was formerly located at 3rd Avenue and East 77th Street, but I imagine the bar’s proprietors figured this location was close enough. Just about all traces of the road itself have vanished in Manhattan, as the road fell into disuse in the early-to mid- 1800s as the street grid system was built on the island from south to north.

There are only two extant markers surviving today in NYC. One is the 11-mile marker, which can be found on the grounds of the Morris-Jumel Mansion in Sugar Hill. Another is the 12-mile marker, embedded in the outside wall of Isham Park at Broadway and Isham Street. There are other surviving markers in towns like Mamaroneck and Hastings-on-Hudson.

On Delancey Street between the Bowery and Christie Street, you will find a tavern called the One Mile House (it has replaced its sign since this 2014 Street View photo). The Bowery is an existing section of the Post Road, and the first mile marker was placed along the old road at about Delancey as it was one mile north of City Hall in the 1760s.

Info from: The Bowery: The Strange History of New York’s Oldest Street by Stephen Paul DeVillo.

Ocean Parkway MilestoneQueens mile marker

Five Mile Stone

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Sergey Kadinsky March 16, 2023 - 8:34 am

Taverns love to adopt historical place names.
It makes them appear older than they really are.
Examples include:

Croton Reservoir Tavern (Mdtown)
Sunswick 35/35 (LIC)
Dominie’s hoek (LIC)
Norman’s Kil (Greenpoint)

Peter March 17, 2023 - 8:27 am

Sean’s Bar in Ireland claims to be the world’s oldest bar, at over 1,100 years old, but the historical evidence for that assertion is questionable at best.

redstaterefugee March 16, 2023 - 11:35 am

I was taken to The Bird & Bottle, which is located on Albany Post Road in Garrison, for my birthday in 1972. It was such a pleasant experience that returned twice (in 1981 & 1983). “Try it, you’ll like it”:


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