|C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the Worlds Best Literature.|
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.
|By Thomas Allibone Janvier (18491913)|
|AS all the world knowsbarring, of course, that small portion of the world which is not familiar with old New Yorkthe Kissing Bridge of a century ago was on the line of the Boston Post Road (almost precisely at the intersection of the Third Avenue and Seventy-seventh Street of the present day), about four miles out of town. And all the world, without any exception whatever, must know that after crossing a kissing-bridge the ridiculously short distance of four miles is no distance at all. Fortunately for the lovers of that period, it was possible to go roundabout from the Kissing Bridge to New York by a route which very agreeably prolonged the oscupontine situation: that is to say, by the Abingdon Road, close on the line of the present Twenty-first Street, to the Fitzroy Road, nearly parallel from Fifteenth Street to Forty-second Street with the present Eighth Avenue; thence down to the Great Kiln Road, on the line of the present Gansevoort Street; thence to the Greenwich Road, on the line of the present Greenwich Streetand so, along the riverside, comfortably slowly back to town.|| 1|
| It is a theory of my own that the Abingdon Road received a more romantic name because it was the first section of this devious departure from the straight path, leading townward into the broad way which certainly led quite around Robin Hoods barn, and may also have led to destruction, but which bloomed with the potentiality of a great many extra kisses wherewith the Kissing Bridge (save as a point of departure) had nothing in the world to do. I do not insist upon my theory; but I state as an undeniable fact that in the latter half of the last century the Abingdon Road was known generallyand I infer from contemporary allusions to it, favorablyas Love Lane.|| 2|
| To avoid confusion, and also to show how necessary were such amatory appurtenances to the gentle-natured inhabitants of this island in earlier times, I must here state that the primitive Kissing Bridge was in that section of the Post Road which now is Chatham Street; and that in this same vicinityon the Rutgers estatewas the primitive Love Lane. It was of the older institution that an astute and observant traveler in this country, the Rev. Mr. Burnaby, wrote in his journal a century and a half ago:Just before you enter the town there is a little bridge, commonly called the kissing-bridge, where it is customary, before passing beyond, to salute the lady who is your companion; to which custom the reverend gentleman seems to have taken with a very tolerable relish, and to have found curious, yet not displeasing.|| 3|