Did you know that Lower Manhattan's original shoreline sat where Pearl and Greenwich Streets are today?
Once dotted with coves, marshes and creeks, the landscape of Lower Manhattan was originally much narrower than it is today. The curve of Pearl Street, which is named for the pearly shells found on the shore at the time, marked the island's eastern waterfront, while Greenwich Street bordered the Hudson River to the west. Although the early Dutch settlers expanded the island between one and four blocks on each side, it was not until the 20th century that Lower Manhattan's geography underwent a dramatic transformation.
In 1934, construction of the East River Drive began, expanding Manhattan to the east. Running 9.5 miles from Lower Manhattan's Battery to the Triborough Bridge, the highway is built on a combination of landfill and pile-supported relieving platforms. In 1945, the East River Drive was renamed the Franklin D. Roosevelt East River Drive in honor of the late president; today it is most commonly referred to as FDR Drive.
By 1976, Lower Manhattan had expanded an additional 23.5 acres with the creation of Battery Park City along the Hudson River. With 1.2 million cubic yards of earth and rock excavated for the World Trade Center as its foundation, Battery Park City is now home to a residential neighborhood, great schools and five public parks.