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94 Prince St, New York, NY 10012

The land that would become present day SoHo (from Canal Street north to Houston Street; from West Broadway to Crosby Street) was marsh and forest land until the Dutch began establishing farms in the area in the 1640s. The first farms were owned by freed slaves. In fact, in 1663 the Cafe was a farm owned by Domingo Angelo, a freed slave. The Dutch West India Company had a policy of freeing slaves and granting them farms on New Amsterdam’s outskirts. This practice was not altruistic in nature. Slaves were freed and given farmland in order to construct buffer zones to protect the settlement against Indian attacks.

In 1697 the block bounded by Prince, Spring, Mercer, and Greene Streets (on which Fanelli’s is located was deeded to Nicholas Bayard (1644–1707) by the British colonial government and became part of his farm. The English had taken over New Amsterdam from the Dutch in 1664 and renamed it New York.


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