New York Songlines: 5th Street

Cooper Square | 2nd Ave | 1st Ave | Avenue A | Avenue B | Avenue C | Avenue D


16-20 Cooper Square: An impressive building with striking red brick arches. At No. 18 is Lost City Arts, architectural antiques; No. 16 houses Kaplan Educational Centers, a standardized test coaching chain owned by the Washington Post.



S <===               COOPER SQUARE               ===> N

South:

200 (corner): Evelyn & Louis Green Residence, a project of the Jewish Association for Services for the Aged.

206: The Howard Mission and Home for Little Wanderers was here, located "in the very heart of a region of squalor, wretchedness, vice and poverty"--King's Handbook.

210: New York Kunstalle was Beethoven Hall, German-American community center; American Bowling Congress was founded here in 1895, setting the maximum bowling score at 300 and the distance between pins at 12 inches. Now a luxury condo.



















246: Was Jack's Luxury Oyster Bar, owned by the same couple that runs Jewel Bako. Now a barber shop.

248 (corner): Bareburger, local organic burger chain. Was Sin Sin/Leopard Lounge; "sin sin" is Irish for "that's that."

E

5
T
H

S
T

North:

The Standard

Cooper Square Hotel by Professor Bop, on Flickr

A 23-story high-end hotel with a futuristic glass-clad form that's been likened to a shark's fin. To my eye, this is a much more attractive building than the Sculpture for Living at Astor Place. Initially opened in 2009 as the Cooper Square Hotel, it was rebranded as The Standard (part of a schmancy chain) in 2011 after the original owners ran into difficulty.

209: The Scratcher, hidden, un-Disneyfied Irish pub. The name is Irish slang for "bed."

211: The Three Jewels, nonprofit Buddhist center

225: Japanese hair salons; was is-wine, affordable wine boutique.

Jewel Bako Exterior by kev/null, on Flickr

239: Jewel Bako, tiny, fancy sushi


Corner (87 2nd Ave): Mosto, Italian; when this space was the Cooper Square Diner, writer Quentin Crisp used to eat here nearly every day. Earlier it was BiniBon, restaurant where in 1981 waiter Richard Adan was knifed to death by Jack Henry Abbott, a literary ex-convict whom Norman Mailer had helped to get out of jail.


S <===               2ND AVENUE               ===> N

South:

Corner: Mary Ann's, popular Mexican mini-chain

304: White Trash, retro housewares.

There's a little park here where a friend of mine used to smoke weed, across the street from the police station.





336: New York Songlines chronicler Jim Naureckas used to live here; his trapezoidal room was so small that if he closed the door, the fan in the window (looking out on an air shaft) would stop blowing. On the ground floor used to be 5th Dimension comics.

E
A
S
T

5
T
H

S
T
R
E
E
T

North:

Corner (88 2nd Ave): Cooper Diner used to be across the street, when this corner was the Sports Page sports bar.

309: Mojo, semi-fancy restaurant

9th Precinct

NYPD 9th Precinct by Scott Beale / Laughing Squid, on Flickr

321: Police station used as exterior for NYPD Blue and Kojak (though the facade's been since redone). Photo by Scott Beale/Laughing Squid.

325: Gimme Records is only open on weekends.

333: Yippie leader Abbie Hoffman lived here in 1967, at the time he led a protest of the New York Stock Exchange by throwing 300 dollar bills onto the trading floor, causing a mad scramble.

Corner (83 1st Ave): Three of Cups, romantic Italian; Quentin Tarantino got into a brawl here, May 2, 1998. In the Tarot deck, the three of cups signifies emotional fulfillment. Used to be Dizzy Chicken.


S <===               1ST AVENUE               ===> N

Village View Houses

Village View Sunset in the East Village by jebb, on Flickr Mitchell-Lama co-op whose seven towers were built in 1964. There is a pleasant shortcut through these highrises to Avenue A.




S <===         AVENUE A         ===> N

The western boundary of Alphabet City

South:

Corner (72 Ave A): East Village Prescription, homeopathy-oriented drug store.

512: Jazz great Charlie Mingus used to live here.

536: Le Gamin, cheap, tasty and Parisian

540: Bouche Bar, "quirky local favorite"--Shecky's








E

5
T
H

S
T

North:

Corner: Con Edison transmission station

507: Sophie's, good dive bar with matching jukebox

511: Le Tableau

513: Anil Gupka at Inkline Studios, world-famous tattoo artist East Village's Ace Bar by jebb, on Flickr

531: Ace Bar, notable for its lunchbox collection and holographic werewolf. This is the only bar I've ever been kicked out of.

535-539: Fifth Street Squats were demolished by city, 1997.

545: Lavagna


S <===               AVENUE B               ===> N

The Earth School

Earth School by Green Map System, on Flickr

Corner: A public elementary school opened in 1992 with an environmental and peace focus.



South:

624: Was a branch of the Aguilar Free Library









E

5
T
H

S
T

North:



629: Science-fiction writer Samuel R. Delany had his first East Village apartment here.






S <===         AVENUE C         ===> N

In the 1960s, this intersection was the city's main heroin market.

South:

704: Poet Allen Ginsberg lived here in 1964-65. Visitors inclued Kerouac, Warhol, Ken Kesey and Timothy Leary.

714: There was a small park here dedicated to local Vietnam vets Jose Mojica and William W. Kladek (who lived two doors down).



E

5
T
H

S
T

North:











S <===         AVENUE D         ===> N

Lillian Wald Houses

by minusbaby, on Flickr Public housing project named for Lillian D. Wald (1867-1940), who provided aid to the Lower East Side through the Henry Street Settlement and the Visiting Nurses Society. She fought for women's suffrage and against child labor, and help start the Women's Trade Union League. Margaret Sanger of Planned Parenthood was her protegee.




Is your favorite 5th Street spot missing? Write to Jim Naureckas and tell him about it.

New York Songlines Home.

Sources for the Songlines.

Share