The History of Kip's Bay

Kips Bay in Manhattan is a neighborhood with a long and rich history. Located on the East River and per the New York Times the boundaries of the neighborhood  are between East 23rd Street to the south and the northern border of East 34th Street. Kips Bay traces its history back to the colonial period of the United States and is home to historical events and notable locations. Keep reading to learn more.

Kips Bay Founding

Kips Bay traces its history to when New York was known as New Amsterdam. The area is named for Dutch settler Jacobus Hendrickson Kip who owned a farm located north of what is today 30th Street and the East River. Despite the bay for which the area was named for being filled in the name remained unchanged. The main farmhouse built by Kip stood for nearly 200 years from 1655 until its demolition in 1851. Built from imported Dutch stone it was the oldest house on the island of Manhattan when it was demolished in 1851.    

Historical Events

The area of Kips Bay played an important role in several events during the founding of the United States. During the American Revolution a battle was fought there between American and British forces. The Landing At Kip’s Bay saw British General William Howe lead 4,000 troops during an invasion that occurred on September 15th 1776. Landing at the area of what is today East 33rd Street the British forces greatly outnumbered the American defenders. The 500 militiamen under the command of Colonel William Douglas retreated realizing they were outnumbered quickly retreated. Shortly after The Landing At Kip’s Bay the British would occupy New York. Later during the first presidential administration of George Washington he was presented with a slip of Rosa gallica (the French Rose) grown at the Kips Bay farm’s orchard. The orchard was well known and claimed to be the first garden in the American Colonies to grow the French Rose.  

Locations Of Note

Kips Bay is home to several interesting locations. Due to rebuilding over the years many of the original buildings from the colonial period have been lost. However, there is a single home built between 1790 and 1870 that still stands to this day at 203 East 29th Street. The wooden home is a private residence and is officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Other notable locations include the United Nations International School, Waterside Plaza on the East River, and the historic Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital which has since become a homeless shelter.       

Kips Bay Today    

Today Kips Bay is home several buildings belong to NYU. Some of these include the Tisch Hospital, NYU College of Dentistry, and the NYU School of Medicine. Businesses include the Kips Bay Plaza and several local business which have Kips Bay as a part of their name. Notable residential areas include the Kips Bay Towers (designed by the architect I.M. Pei) completed in 1965 and currently home to over 4,000 residents. Other local sites include Stuyvesant Cove Park and a branch of the New York Public Library.