Some dumbass city worker—who possessed a knowledge and appreciation of NYC history that we've come to expect from this administration—last week hung a new street sign at the corner of W. Houston Street and Mercer. Only the worker didn't check the spelling of Mercer before making the sign, and the guy who hung it apparently didn't look around to see all the other signs and businesses that said "Mercer."
Sometimes you wonder if City officials think Houston Street is pronounced like the city in Texas.
The worker who actually spotted put the stupid thing up was corrected by one
Beth Gottlieb, "who said she was ignored when she pointed out the error to an orange vest-wearing city worker installing the sign. His response? "I'm just doing my job.""
Let's see how long it takes them to take it down.
Like a number of streets in Soho, Mercer was named for a figure from Revolutionary times. Hugh Mercer was a Scottish-born surgeon and an Brigadier General in the Revolutionary War. He had fled his native land because he had been assistant surgeon in the army of Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1745. When the Prince's army was crushed by the English, he went into hiding and eventually made his way to America. (You can understand why he joined to Revolutionary Army to fight the British.)
He fought in the Battle of Trenton with his good friend George Washington. He then advised Washington to march on Princeton, a move the resulted in the defeat of some of Cornwallis' forces and turned the tide of the war. Unfortunately, he was killed in that battle in 1777, apparently mistaken for Washington himself by the capturing British. He was 50. He lay dying under an oak on the battle field that later became known as the Mercer Oak and survived until 2000, when high winds blew it down.
For a forgotten guy, Mercer sure knew everybody who was anybody back then. In addition to Washington, he was a familiar of James Monroe and John Marshall. Mercer County in New Jersey is named for him, and his apothecary shop in Fredericksburg, Virginia, where he settled, is now a museum. There's also a statue of him there.
Mercer's many descendants include both Gen. George Patton and songwriter Johnny Mercer!