In 1686, the area now known as Bryant Park was designated public property by New York Colonial Governor Thomas Dongan. After being routed by the British in the Battle of Long Island, at the start of the Revolutionary War, General Washington’s troops raced across the site. In 1807, the grid system of streets was laid out in what is now considered midtown, expanding north from the already cosmopolitan downtown Manhattan. Fifteen years later, in 1822, the land came under the jurisdiction of New York City, and one year later, was turned into a potter’s field. The city decommissioned the potter’s field in 1840, in preparation for construction of the Croton Reservoir on the adjacent plot of land (now the Central branch of the New York Public Library).