Prior to the 20th century, Washington Mews was referred to as “Stable Alley” because it was, in fact, a row of stables. Development of the area bordered by Washington Square North, Fifth Avenue, Eighth Street, and University Place dates back to when Robert Randall, a Revolutionary War captain and a merchant, died in 1801, leaving his farm to be used for elderly and retired sailors. When Sailor’s Snug Harbor was formed in 1801, it began leasing the land to support its Staten Island complex. In the early 1830s, the upper class residents of Washington Square North, known then as “The Row,” developed the Mews by building stables equipped with living space for coachmen and their families.
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