Some time prior to 1767, three streets were laid out east of the Bowery and called First, Second and Third Streets. Fourth and Sixth Streets followed, with the already established Orchard Street in place of Fifth Street.
In 1807 the City Commissioners adopted the plan that created the grid of streets and avenues that cover most of Manhattan today. As the grid streets were laid out and opened, it was soon realized that confusion would result from the duplicate names and in 1817 the Common Council resolved to rename these five streets. They used the opportunity to honor several officers who had been killed in action or died during service in the War of 1812
First Street was renamed Chrystie Street after Lt. Colonel John Chrystie, who died from illness in 1814 after being captured in battle on the Niagara frontier. Second Street was named Forsyth Street in honor of Lt. Colonel Benjamin Forsyth, who was fatally wounded in battle in Canada in 1813. Third Street is now Eldridge Street, named after Lt. Joseph Eldridge who was killed and scalped by Indians in 1813 while fighting in Canada. Fourth Street was renamed Allen Street for Captain William Allen, who was killed in a naval battle off the coast of Ireland in 1813. Sixth Street was called Ludlow Street after Lt. Augustus Ludlow, who died in a naval battle near Boston Harbor in 1813.