3: Residential
In 1822, a Yellow Fever outbreak swept through New York.
The outbreak's epicenter was at the port downtown, where ships came in from Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean. The more affluent New Yorkers fled up north to escape poor sanitation, congestion, and disease. They moved to the outskirts of the city near Greene Street.
Lithograph, 1793 Yellow Fever epidemic. From Nova, A Short History of Quarantine.
The influx of people led to a construction boom: by 1834, there were 26 houses on the Greene Street block, a shop, and a Dutch Reform church. By 1846, New York City’s growth northward had blasted past Greene Street.
Zoom to map
City Of New York. Samuel Augustus Mitchell, 1846. David Rumsey Maps
  Greene Street
Many new residents of Greene Street were wealthy, with an average for those who reported any asset of wealth per household of $30,000 (or $14 million today). Most of them were merchants or educated professionals, and more than half had at least one domestic servant.
Zoom to map
[Plate 32: Map bounded by Houston Street, Crosby Street, Prince Street, Marion Street, Spring Street, Laurens Street.] Perris-Browne, 1853. Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division, The New York Public Library Digital Collections.
Benjamin Mendes Seixas was one successful resident of Greene Street. He was a cigar importer, a descendent of Jewish immigrants from Portugal who had moved to New York in the 1700s to escape horrific persecution. Benjamin moved his family to 133 Greene Street in 1842. A census record from 1850 shows he was still living there with his wife, 6 children, and 5 servants.
1850 Federal Census Records
Part of the attraction of the neighborhood for Benjamin Seixas was the opportunity to live close to others from his extended family, members of which are shown here. We know their locations from death records that show how even a wealthy family could not escape horrific mortality rates.
Map Legend:

Purple: 1830's
Green: 1840's
Blue: 1850's
Orange: Synagogue

Map, created with OpenStreet tiles in Mapbox.
139 Greene Street, the last remaining example of brick residential architecture on the block.
Map of the city of New York extending northward to Fiftieth Street, Matthew Dripps, 1852. David Rumsey Map Collection
Greene Street rapidly became a wealthy neighborhood.
Scroll with or or
or use compass here
Explore captions up here
Access the menu here
Zoom Out