From Herman Melville’s Redburn: His First Voyage (ch. 17)
Sailors have a great fancy for naming things that way on shipboard. When a man is hung at sea, which is always done from one of the lower yard-arms, they say he “takes a walk up Ladder-lane, and down Hemp-street.”
The phrase does actually appear in Bartlett Whiting’s Early American Proverbs and Proverbial Phrasings.