New York Songlines: 7th Street

Cooper Square West | Cooper Square East/3rd Ave | 2nd Ave | 1st Ave | Avenue A | Avenue B | Avenue C | Avenue D







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

South:

Peter Cooper Park

by Heather Miller, on Flickr Statue of Peter Cooper was made in 1894 by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, who was taught sculpture at Cooper Union. The surrounding structure was designed by Stanford White.












E
A
S
T

7
T
H

S
T
R
E
E
T

North:

Cooper Union

by Heather Miller, on Flickr

Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art; free college built in 1859 by renaissance man Peter Cooper, who ran first the U.S. railroad (the Tom Thumb), helped lay trans-Atlantic telegraph cable and invented Jello.

This is the oldest steel-framed building in the United States, using Cooper's railroad rails. Thomas Edison and Felix Frankfurter both attended school here. Cooper Union's Great Hall, dedicated to the free discussion of public issues, was the site of Abraham Lincoln's "Right Makes Might" speech (1860); other speakers over the years have included Mark Twain, Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony and presidents Grant, Cleveland, Taft, Theodore Roosevelt, Wilson and Bill Clinton--not to mention Barack Obama. The NAACP had its founding conference here in 1909.


S <===         COOPER SQ EAST / THIRD AVE         ===> N

South:

Cooper Union Academic Building

Thom Mayne's Cooper Union Building by jebb, on Flickr

201-209: 2009 should see the completion of Cooper Union's new engineering and art building, a futuristic glass-walled nine-story structure designed by Thom Mayne of Morphosis. by Heather Miller, on Flickr

In this spot from 1905-2006 was Hewitt Memorial Hall, a Cooper Union building named for Abraham Hewitt, Peter Cooper's son-in-law and a mayor of NYC. It was kind of a depressing building, really.

It in turn was built on the site of the Tompkins Market Armory, which housed the 27th Regiment of the New York National Guard--the force that put down the Stone Cutter's Riot of 1834, the Astor Place Riot of 1849 and the Draft Riots of 1863. It was built on an early greenmarket.

SHEVCHENKO PLACE

Named for Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko.

St. George Ukrainian Catholic Church

NYC - East Village: St. George Ukrainian Catholic Church by wallyg, on Flickr

Spiritual center of the East Village Ukrainian community (the Catholic part, at least). Built in 1976, it replaced an earlier church that was next door.














32: Pilars Jewelry













Corner: Song 7.2, hopping Korean, was Kiev, beloved East Village all-night Ukrainian diner, not-so-beloved after redecoration, abortive name change.

Earlier this was Auster's, a spacious candy store. "His egg creams were so popular that he sold his 'secret' syup by the gallon," notes a longtime resident.

E
A
S
T

7
T
H

S
T
R
E
E
T

North:

First Ukrainian Evangelical Pentecostal Church

9: Built in 1867 as the Metropolitan Savings Bank. Carl Pfeiffer's Second Empire design is considered an architectural gem. A church since 1937. Winter in NYC 102 by mvhargan, on Flickr

11: Surma's Ukrainian Shop sells traditional crafts and is a community hub.

13: D.L. Cerney, 1940s and '50s-style clothing

McSorley's Old Ale House

McSorley's Old Ale House by Laughing Squid, on Flickr

15: McSorley's has been open since 1854, making it the fourth oldest bar in Manhattan; made famous in the writings of Joseph Mitchell and e.e. cummings, and the paintings of John Sloan. Its roster of customers includes Boss Tweed, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Babe Ruth and John Lennon. McSorley’s Old Ale House by Laughing Squid, on Flickr Its extensive collection of memorabilia includes an original wanted poster for John Wilkes Booth, a pair of Houdini's handcuffs (locked to the bar rail), a pair of coconuts brought back by Gauguin and the J. Geils Band's gold record for "Love Stinks." The cover of Woody Guthrie's Bound for Glory was photographed here. Women were not admitted until 1970, and then by court order. (Photos by Scott Beale/Laughing Squid.)

19: Village Scandal, tiny boutique

21: Sniff Aromatherapy, custom-mixed bath oils

23: Village Mingala, Burmese

31: Hebrew Actors Union, founded in 1899 to protect performers in the then-thriving Yiddish theater district.

33: East Village Chiropractic. Note plaque on building honoring residents of the block who served in World War II.

41: Burp Castle, the "temple of beer worship," ostensibly run by Brewist monks.

43: Standings was Brewsky's, bar with huge selection of beers. Downstairs is Jimmy's No. 43.

45: East Village Chinese Therapy Center

Love Saves The Day

Love Saves The Day by I like, on Flickr

Corner: Fascinating vintage store; got national attention for having a Peewee Herman display already in the window when he was busted for indecency. Rosanna Arquette buys Madonna's jacket here in Desperately Seeking Susan. Dates to 1966.


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

South:

Corner: East Mountain Natural Foods Winter in NYC 163 by mvhargan, on Flickr

48: Via Della Pace used to be Cafe Della Pace, before being taken over by the folks who run East Post. Named for a street in Rome, it has catacombs in the basement.

48 1/2: Enelra Lingerie; "makes Victoria's Secret look like the Gap"--Sexy New York

50: Middle Collegiate Church House

62: Dated 1893.

64: Tokio 7, a consignment store, was the offices of the newspaper Russky Golos ("Russian Voice"), a left-wing newspaper reportedly associated with Soviet intelligence. Later it was Les Deux Megots coffeehouse ("The Two Cigar Butts"--a pun on the Parisian cafe Les Deux Magots); the poetry reading series here, which included such poets as Allen Ginsberg, Paul Blackburn and Carol Berge, eventually became the Poetry Project at St. Marks-in-the-Bowery. There were also current events speakers, who ranged from Paul Krassner and Tuli Kupferberg to William F. Buckley. Then it was The Paradox, said to be the world's first macrobiotic restaurant; Yoko Ono and folksinger Loudon Wainwright III both worked here, and Abbie Hoffman described it as "a neat cheap health joint that will give you a free meal if you help peel shrimp or do the dishes."

66: Barbara Feinman Millinery; once the Bockley, popular 1980s art gallery.

72: Howdy Do Collectibles

74: North Star Tattoo was Varsovia Travel & Shipping. Also David's Shoe Store.

76: Marrakech Custom Tailor

78: Planet One Cafe

80: Velvet Cigar Lounge was Magry Knits; Akkudan Imports

84: Amarcord Vintage Fashion; AuH20 Clothing Design is run by Kate Goldwater, hence the name. (Was Selima Optique.)

86: Abraco Express

Corner (113 1st Ave): Spice Corner Grocery

E
A
S
T

7
T
H

S
T
R
E
E
T

North:

Corner: Virage




49: Brettschneider Funeral Home

57: In 1914, the Hebrew National Orphan Home opened here.

59: Was See Hear, underground zine shop

63: Forty Fifty Sixty, toys and other collectibles from mid-century. Specializes in vintage Barbies.



















75: Big Bar is actually quite small--but big-hearted.

77: 208, funky new and used clothing store; 77 7th, vintage furnishings. (Sign seen in window: "Bipolar Sale: Some Items Wildly Overpriced, Some Items Drastically Reduced.") One or both of these is now Klimat, bar featuring Eastern European wines and beer.

79: Blue and Gold Bar, old-time Ukrainian bar with murals

81: Krystal's 81 Cafe was Verkhovyna (aka Bar 81), similar to Blue and Gold; the name meant "Mountain Top." Tile bar by dataharvest, on Flickr

Corner: The bar known as Tile Bar; the official name is WCOU Radio. I had my first date with my wife here.


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

South:

Corner (114 1st Ave): Saifee Hardware. This used to be Tunnel Bar, which pioneered the East Village gay scene in the early 1980s. Before that it was Red Bar, a hangout for artists like Jean Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring.






96: Angelo Lambrou; Mahwish Syed Designs

102: Used to be Body Worship, a major S&M gear outlet.

104: Bobby 2000, vintage clothing for guys.

110: Sugar Boutique used to have a spinoff called Evil Sugar.

112: Village Ashtray




116: Amber Gallery, fossilized resin jewelry

120: Turntable Lab 04, dj equipment; was Sears & Robot, Japanese imports. Next door is Medusa Tattoo, formerly of St. Marks Place, which has tattooed such celebrities as Britney Spears, Foxy Brown and Julian Casablancas from the Strokes.

122: The Bourgeois Pig, a New Orleans-style cafe, was Funky Nassau, eclectic BYOB diner, and before that Stooz Records.

126: Giano was briefly Baldo Vino, before that Roettele A.G., long-running fondue spot.

128: Pylos Restaurant, well-regarded Greek, formerly It's All Greek to Me.

130: Mikey's Pet Shop










7A

Corner: Perhaps the best restaurant in the East Village that actually feels like it belongs in the East Village.

E
A
S
T

7
T
H

S
T
R
E
E
T

North:

91: Caracas Arepas Bar was Reality Sandwich Company, and before that Harry's Burritos.

93: Tibet Artifacts; Pat Pong, Thai restaurant named for Bangkok's red-light district.

97-99: Great carved faces on building.

97 1/2: Was Penny's Herb Company & General Store, reportedly relocated upstate; now a vintage clothing shop.

St. Stanislaus Church

101: Built 1872. There used to be some tension between this Polish-oriented Roman Catholic church and Body Worship, across the street, because the church's statue of Pope John Paul II had to look at some pretty risque window displays.

111: McKinley Building, built late 19th Century, used to house Tompkins Square Books and Records. Now houses The Bourgeois Pig, a decadently decorated bistro. Was/is Heatherette, fabulous clubwear; also Village Style.

117: Kut Kut Accesories used to be Chimaera jewelry

121: St. Mary's American Orthodox Greek Orthodox Church

123: Locks & Lads, funky hair salon for kids and grownups too. This is where my kid gets her hair cut; they do a great job and have yet to make her cry.

125: Bodanna Handmade Ceramics. Formerly Theo Wolinnin Licenced Undertaker; later a vintage store ghoulishly called Resurrection.

127: The Shape of Lies, museum reproductions. Also Bijoux.

129: Peter Jarema Funeral Home

131: Other Wordly Waxes and Whatever, candle magic 7B by gingher, on Flickr

Corner: Leshko's, a grungy Ukrainian diner, turned into a trendy lounge; now it's Yuca Bar, a Latin restaurant.


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

The western boundary of Alphabet City

South:

132 (corner): Niagara, bar with a beautiful neon sign. Also has a Joe Strummer memorial mural, declaring "The Future Is Unwritten." Owned by Jesse Malin of D Generation. Formerly Wally's; from 1985-90, it was King Tut's Wha Wha Hut, a venue for music, comedy and performance art. In the early 1980s, it was punk club A7--a rough joint.

The Future is Unwritten : Joe Strummer by MrOmega, on Flickr
















178: Mohamed Falafel Star was Dawgs on Park, friendly hot dog joint with canine theme.

Vazac's Horseshoe Bar

nyc by Ralph Hockens, on Flickr

Corner (108 Avenue B): Aka 7B. One of the great New York City bars, with an outstanding juke box and a rock and roll clientele. Dawn Powell uses it to mark the eastern edge of New York in The Golden Spur (though she calls it "Vasyk's Avenue A bar"), classing it with the likes of the White Horse, the San Remo and Pete's Tavern. A Bevy of Drinks by arthurohm, on Flickr

Featured in such films as Godfather II (where Pentagelli is almost garroted), Angel Heart, Crocodile Dundee and The Paper. When Rent was filmed in the East Village, this served as the exterior of the Life Cafe, because the real thing no longer looks grungy enough.

E
A
S
T

7
T
H

S
T
R
E
E
T

North:

Samuel Cox Statue

NYC - East Village: Tompkins Square Park - Samuel Sullivan Cox statue by wallyg, on Flickr

The statue is the southeast corner of the park is Samuel Cox, a U.S. representative who promoted the rights of mail carriers and created the modern Coast Guard. It used to stand in Astor Place, where the Cube is now.

Tompkins Square Park

path-trees-and-shadows by Aaron Edwards, on Flickr

Named for Daniel Tompkins, governor of New York (1807-16) and U.S. vice president (1817-25), a populist who abolished slavery in New York.

Once a salt marsh owned by Peter Stuyvesant and used by his family as a hunting ground, the park was acquired by Tompkins, who began the process of draining the land so defenses could be erected here against a potential British invasion during the War of 1812. The land was permanently drained and turned into a city park in 1834.

After being the site of bread riots in 1857 and draft riots in 1863, it was turned into a National Guard parade ground in 1866; only three trees in the park survive that leveling. Neighborhood protests resulted in the re-establishment of the park by 1879; part of the redesign was by Frederick Law Olmstead, but most of his plan was not implemented. Reconstructed by Robert Moses in 1936. Janine in Tompkins Square by edenpictures, on Flickr

A bandshell erected in 1966 was the venue for concerts by artists like Jimi Hendrix and the Grateful Dead. When 38 people were arrested for playing conga drums, a judge threw out charges, citing "equal protection for the unwashed, unshod, unkempt and uninhibited."

A struggle over a homeless encampment in the 1980s led to an August 1988 police riot, when 44 were injured by cops with tape over their badge numbers. After a Memorial Day Riot in 1991, Mayor David Dinkins closed park for 14 months' of renovations; the bandshell was destroyed. The park now has midnight curfew.


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

Between B and C was a big heroin block in the early 1990s.

South:









190: Tompkins Square Plaza, fancy new housing.


206: Apartment of Allen Ginsberg, 1952-53. Gregory Corso was a roommate, as was William Burroughs, who started Naked Lunch here. Jack Kerouac once left a stolen pushcart on the street below, to Ginsberg's dismay.

208: Jacklight Gallery was the 5 & Dime boutique in the 1980s. In 1990-91, @ Central, an anarchist collective, was here.

E
A
S
T

7
T
H

S
T

North:

St. Brigid's School

7th and B by edenpictures, on Flickr

A Catholic school that opened in 1856, when the neighborhood was largely Irish; this unpretty building is nearly a century younger, from 1954.

195: Iglesia de Dios

Lower East Side Ecology Garden

207: Site of a dispensary run by Elizabeth Blackwell, the U.S.'s first licensed female physician.

209: This women-led squat got title to its building in 2002. after the storm by Kilgub, on Flickr

Corner (107 Ave C): Zum Schneider, Bavarian-style beer hall opened in 2000.


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

The block of 7th Street between avenues C and D has been proposed as a historical district.

South:

Alphabet Lounge 3 by Fiasco NY, on Flickr

Corner (102 Ave C): Alphabet Lounge, laid-back club



274: Rainbow Co-op, another squat legalized in 2002; known to neighbors as "the Germans" because of its European residents.

278: This building became a squat without ever being vacant; also got title in 2002.

E

7
T
H

North:

Corner: Building that looks like Cthulhu's bank has housed artists for decades.

247: Iglesia Cristiana Misionera, established in 1947 and moved here in 1954, is one of the oldest Latino Evangelical congregations on the Lower East Side. Renovated between 1986-92, it's been offering services in English as well as Spanish since 2002.








Corner (93 D): East Drive Pharmacy, since 1903


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

South:

Jacob Riis Houses

A large public housing complex built in 1949. Named for a Danish-born photojournalist whose work documenting New York tenement life, especially his book How the Other Half Lives, helped inspire slum-clearing.





Is your favorite 7th Street spot missing? Write to Jim Naureckas and tell him about it.

New York Songlines Home.

Sources for the Songlines.

Share