New York Songlines: Avenue A

Including Essex Street

E 14th | E 13th | E 12nd | E 11st | E 10th (Tompkins Square) | E 9th | St Marks Place | E 7th | E 6th | E 5th | E 4th | E 3rd | E 2nd | E Houston | Stanton | Rivington | Delancey | Broome | Grand

1st Avenue is only the first avenue that goes all the way up Manhattan--there are four avenues before 1st, built on the island's swampy southeastern bulge, that were given letters instead of numbers. Avenue A is now considered the western boundary of Alphabet City--a formerly poor neighborhood that is rapidly gentrifying.

Ira Gershwin wrote a song in 1925 called "I'm Something on Avenue A": "There's a part of Manhattan/That's Jewish and Latin/My neighborhood, Avenue A..../Though gunmen may roam there/I'm proud of my home there/No matter what people may say."

Essex Street, the portion of the avenue below Houston, is named for the English county, like neighboring Norfolk and Suffolk--which is somewhat odd, because several other streets in the neighborhood are named for heroes of the War of 1812, fought against England.



Stuyvesant Town

stuyvesant town by dandeluca, on Flickr

Built in the late 1940s by Met Life Insurance Co. as affordable housing for returning World War II vets; now being converted to market-priced rentals. To build these highrises, Met Life leveled the notorious Gashouse District-- which chemical fumes made one of Manhattan's least desirable neighborhoods. The district produced the fearsome Gashouse Gang; since there was little to steal on their own turf, they would travel to other neighborhoods and rob the criminals there.

In The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs uses Stuyvesant Town, with its lack of nonresidential development, its scarcity of streets and its repetitive architecture, as an example of how not to fix cities.

Poet Kenneth Patchen lived at 265 Avenue A in 1942--now part of Stuyvesant Town.


W <===         EAST 14TH STREET         ===> E
The northern boundary of the East Village

West:

There was a WTC memorial by Chico here--replacing a Lady Di/Mother Theresa memorial by Chico. Now it's an ad.

221: Muzzarella, tiny Euro-style pizzas

211 (corner): On October 10, 1928, Salvatore D'Aquila, then head of what would become the Gambino crime family, was gunned down here outside a doctor's office. It's recently been a bar called Lucky Stiffs; Fuzion on A, an Asian fusion restaurant; and Oggi, a pricey Italian. Just north at the same address is Drop Off Service, a dark, British-y bar that kept part of the signage from the laundromat that used to be here to use as its incongruous name.

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218: A Cafe lounge

216: Alphabet City Studio--tattoos

214: Was The Sound Library, used vinyl for DJs and collectors. Moved to Orchard Street.

212: Forbidden City, cool sake bar

210 (corner): Al Diwan, Mideastern (the name refers to a high-ranking official), was Nopal del Este, Mexican, which was was Il Covo dell' Este, Italian.


W <===         EAST 13TH STREET         ===> E

West:

209 (corner): Inkstop Tattoo

Obscura Antiques & Oddities

207: This fascinating curiosity shop--featured on the reality TV show Oddities--moved here in 2012 from East 10th Street. Was Jane's Exchange, consignment store for kid's clothes, toys etc., which moved to 3rd Street. Until 1995, the Sparacio & DeMarco Funeral Home was here.

203: Downeast Arts Center, a performance space associated with NY Artists Unlimited. May lose its space.

201: Va Bene Pizza was Alphabet City Skateboard Operation 195 Avenue A by edenpictures, on Flickr

193-195 (corner): Was Milo Printing Company, since 1911. A handsome building.

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206: Common Ground, pub, was Parlay; before that Z Bar.





202: SnakeMonkey Studio, art and curiosities

200: Rapture Cafe & Books claims inspiration from Emma Goldman, Allen Ginsberg and other local hell-raisers. The space was Korova Milk Bar, designed like the bar in Clockwork Orange and featuring a variety of moloko-based drinks.

198: Zaika Halal Cuisine

194 (corner): Was The Raven, eclectic live and DJ music. Closed after 2006 fire.


W <===         EAST 12TH STREET         ===> E

West:

191 (corner): Poppy's Gourmet Corner was Metropolitan Funeral Service. Vampire Freaks by Lucius Kwok, on Flickr

189: Vampire Freaks, fetish gear and goth toys, was Dave's Electric Motors & Pump Co. Chain Link II by edenpictures, on Flickr

Corner: Mary Help of Christians parking lot, which used to host weekend flea market, apparently was formerly a cemetery associated with the church. Its most famous resident was Lorenzo da Ponte, the librettist of Mozart's operas The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni and Cosi Fan Tutte, who died in 1838. The cemetery's remains were relocated to Calvary Cemetery in Queens in 1909.

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Reading the Menu by edenpictures, on Flickr

188 (corner): Table 12 cafe was The Cock, randy gay bar that moved to 2nd Avenue; previously Q Bar

186: Komodo, friendly Asian-Mexican fusion





Paradise Alley

174 (corner): Was the site of Paradise Alley, tenement courtyard featured in Jack Kerouac's Subterraneans and Allen Ginsberg's "Howl." After the buildings were torn down in 1985, following a fire, part of the site became the Chico Mendez Mural Garden, commemorating the murdered Brazilian environmentalist. After the garden was bulldozed, the Weinberg Apartments were built here by the Educational Alliance, a group originally dedicated to assimilating Jewish immigrants.


W <===         EAST 11TH STREET         ===> E

West:

173 (corner): Westville East is the popular spinoff eat eat eat by roboppy, on Flickr of a popular West Village eatery. Was La Ceiba, long- running Mexi- can named for the silk cotton tree, which was sacred to the Maya.

171: Was Isis Seafood, which seemed to be connected to Horus Cafe down the street; Isis was Horus' mom. For a longer time was Alphabet Kitchen, tapas restaurant that signaled the rebranding of Alphabet City. Back in 1980 this was the 171A Studio, an unlicensed punk club-turned-recording studio where Bad Brains and the Beastie Boys cut their first records.

169: Hi-Fi, a bar that claims to have the best jukebox in the world--it may actually be true. (It contains tens of thousands of MP3s.) Used to be Brownies, where a lot of cool bands played.

167: Was Starlight, posh gay scene; formerly Velvet, and before that No-Tell Motel, a surreal (straight) pickup joint.

165: Monk thrift store was Hip-o-Drome, c. 1972 gay bar.

Boys Club of New York

Dad on Avenue A by edenpictures, on Flickr

Corner: The nation's first Boys Club, founded in 1876 by railroad tycoon Edward H. Harriman; at this location since 1901.

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172 (corner): Gal Friday by editrixie, on Flickr
Bar On A, a cozy cocktail lounge -- recently expan- ded to the corner--with a snaky decor, reflecting its nickname BOA. Sundays has the burlesque show Kitty Nights. The corner used to be Aquilino, a bistro, and before that a bodega.

168: Alpha y Omega Pentacostal church is surrounded by an unneighborly fence.

166: "PEACE" is painted on the facade of this building, which is home to artist Anton Van Dalen. NYC - East Villlage: Clocks by Chico by wallyg, on Flickr

164: Orologio, time-themed Italian. From 1966 to '68 was the Psyche-delicatessen, the East Village's premier head shop in the hippie era.

Corner: Horus Cafe, mini-chain of Egyptian coffeehouses/hookah bars. Named for Osiris' hawk-headed son. Was Spectra Photo/Digital. In the 1960s, there was a sandwich shop called The Something here with a two-story vertical sign.

New York. East Village. Avenue A by Tomas Fano, on Flickr


W <===         EAST 10TH STREET         ===> E

West:

St. Nicholas Church

NYC - East Village: St Nicholas Church by wallyg, on Flickr

Corner (288 E. 10th): Carpatho-Russian Greek Orthodox Catholic Church. Built 1883 as St. Mark's Memorial Chapel, designed by St Patrick's Cathedral architect James Renwick Jr. A beautiful Gothic Revival building; note St Mark's lion on north side. Both north and east walls have faces made of leaves--a romanesque motif known as a foliate mask--that is believed to be a pagan survival, and is interpreted as representing the Green Man, a vegetation god.

155: The address of the Leonardo da Vinci Art School (1924-1940)

153: Tompkins Square Deli

151: Mamani was Lite Touch on A, tasty and cozy Middle Eastern hole-in-wall; Live Shop Die, a hippy boutique, used to be here. At the same address is San Loco, taco mini-chain.

149: Sara Samoiloff Jewelry

147: Was Tompkins Square Studio, crafts. Here were the offices of the East Village Other, an alternative alternative weekly from 1965-73. Photo: In Cafe Pick Me Up across Avenue A from Tompkins Square, East Village, Manhattan, New York by p0psharlow, on Flickr

145 (corner): Cafe Pick Me Up, congenial coffeehouse for watching Alphabet City go by. ("Pick Me Up" is a translation of Tiramisu, the Italian dessert.)


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NYC - East Village: Doc Holliday's Saloon - Chico mural by wallyg, on Flickr

141 (corner): Doc Holliday's, ironic yet rowdy Country bar. Clog-dancing on the bar. Said to have the city's best Country jukebox. Named for the victor of the Gunfight at the OK Corral.

139: Sustainable NY, recycled goods + cupcakes, was Hopscotch!, a kid-friendly coffeehouse; before that alt.coffee, grungy, long-running Internet cafe.

Lucy's

135: Friendly, authentic dive bar. Lucy, the maternal Polish owner, has been tending bar here since it was Blanche's on St. Marks Place.

131 (corner): Was Kai Kai, tiny Thai named for the phrase "who sells hen's eggs," which in Thai is the word "kai" pronounced four different ways. Now expanded into the next door space that was Accidental CDs, a grungy 24-hour used CD store that was about the last punk thing on the avenue; briefly was a bakery for dogs, which was a little too Paris Hilton. Next to that is Flea Market Cafe, a French restaurant/cafe. Naked Santa by edenpictures, on Flickr Nino's Pizza of NY serves decent slices (and Italian ice) on the corner; a favorite stop for my 4-year-old (as well as for comedian David Cross).


W <=== ST MARKS PL

East Village Corner I by edenpictures, on Flickr

Corner (132 St Marks): Sushi Lounge, formerly Friends 2 sushi, was biker bar Alcatraz. There's a mosaic on the north wall celebrating the Constitution's bicentennial.

123: Fares Deli-Grocery

121: Was Tompkins Park Laundromat

119: Odessa, Ukrainian diner; old version (two doors down) has more character. At Odessa... by roboppy, on Flickr

117: Odessa Cafe, the classic diner with a ceiling that appears to be shag carpeting painted red.

115: Alphabets, cards, T-shirts, kitsch, tchotchkes.

113: Ray's Candy, newspaperless newsstand noted for its egg creams. Leshko's by edenpictures, on Flickr

111 (corner): Yuca Bar, a hip Latin restaurant, was Leshko's, a long-running grungy Ukrainian diner, then a slick lounge.






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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.

Earlier a salt marsh owned by Peter Stuyvesant, the park was drained and developed in 1834. After being the site of bread riots in 1857 and draft riots in 1863, it was leveled in 1866 and turned into a National Guard parade ground. When German socialists gathered here in 1874 to protest the faltering economy, police injured hundreds in what was called the Tompkins Square Massacre. 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.

A bandshell erected in 1966 was venue for concerts by Jimi Hendrix and 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." In 1985, the bandshell became the venue for the first Wigstock. Tompkins Square, Manhattan by Danny., on Flickr

In the 1970s and '80s, the park became a homeless encampment, as depicted in the Don Delillo novel Mao II. (The park also appears in the Philip Roth novel My Life as a Man, as the spot where a character arranges to buy urine from a pregnant woman.) A friend who grew up in New York says that he and his friends used to dare each other to go in. In August 1989, murderer Daniel Rakowitz served soup to the homeless here that may or may not have contained the remains of his roommate Monika Beerle.

Attempts to evict the homeless led to the August 1988 police riot, when 44 were injured by cops with tape over their badge numbers. After the Memorial Day Riot in 1991, Mayor David Dinkins closed park for 14 months' of renovations, including the destruction of the bandshell. The park now has a midnight curfew. Tompkins Square Hawk Eats Squirrel by carolvinzant, on Flickr

Though Pale Male in Central Park gets all the press, Tompkins Square has also been a habitat for red-tailed hawks since at least 2004.




The blacktop in the northwest corner of the park is one of Manhattan's prime skateboarding spots--known as the TF, the Training Facility.

Dreaming of a Warm Winter by mdumlao98, on Flickr


Only three trees survive in the park that are older than 1866, all sycamores; one of them is here, at the corner of 9th and A.


Avenue A Playground

New Playground by edenpictures, on Flickr

The center of toddler social life in the East Village. If you're a regular here, you may know me as "Eden's father." Closed for renovation from October 2008 until July 2009.







A scene in Die Hard With a Vengeance was filmed in this corner of the park. The movie Hurricane Streets, directed by Morgan Freeman, also features Tompkins Square. Murder victims frequently turn up here on NYPD Blue.




Samuel Cox statue

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

The statue appearing to hail a taxi in the park's southeast corner is of 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.


W <===         EAST 7TH STREET         ===> E

West:

7A

7A by edenpictures, on Flickr

109 (corner): Popular East Village eatery. University of the Streets on second floor is a karate school.





105: Mini Thai Cafe. avenue a by EssG, on Flickr

103: Avenue A Sushi, Japanese restaurant and gallery--described by a reader as "glow-in-the-dark paint, anime movies, guest DJ's and open until at least 3 a.m." Julius & Ethel Rosenberg lived in this building in 1940.

Pyramid Club

Pyramid Club by edenpictures, on Flickr

101: This club's flourishing drag scene produced such cross-dressing phenomenons as RuPaul, the Lady Bunny, Lypsinka and Wigstock; it also made rock history in June 1989 as the site of Nirvana's first New York show, and has hosted such bands as They Might Be Giants, Gun Club, Sonic Youth, Red Hot Chili Peppers (their New York debut), Beastie Boys and Fischerspooner.

Nina Hagen mentions it in her song "New York New York." Madonna held her first AIDS benefit here. Neighborhood artistes like Ann Magnuson, Steve Buscemi and Karen Finley have premiered works here. Nico of the Velvet Underground used to live in the loft upstairs.

The creatively detailed building dates to 1876, designed by William Jose and originally serving as a meeting hall/restaurant for the German immigrant community-- variously known as Kern's Hall, Shultz's Hall, Fritz's Hall and (for a 30-year stretch) Leppig's Hall.

95 (corner): Via Della Zoccolette (''Street of the Sexy Girl,'' a place in Rome) features cicchetti, the Italian version of tapas; replaced Pisces, long-running seafood place.

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Corner (132 E 7th): 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

110: Pizza Shop has pretty good pizza. Was Sal's Pizza, opened 1967-- now across the street









100: East Village Farm, a small supermarket or a really big deli. This used to be the Avenue A Theater, a cinema (also known as the Hollywood).




Sidewalk

Brownbird Rudy Relic by roboppy, on Flickr

94 (corner): All-night restaurant/bar, opened 1978, features live entertainment, including over-the-edge comic Rick Shapiro. Hosts The Fort, which was originally an illegal club on Rivington where the anti-folk movement was born.


W <===         EAST 6TH STREET         ===> E

West:

Eatin' French Fries by edenpictures, on Flickr

93 (corner) : Benny's Burritos, ironic (but cheap and tasty) Mexican

91: Sal's Pizza, since 1967-- but moved to this location c. 2007. Was Luckys Burger Shop, before that Benny's take-out window.

89: Damask Falafel, tasty Middle Eastern

85: Takahatchie, Village Voice-touted sushi; Opaline, absinthe-themed restaurant; Juicy Lucy, juice bar

85A: was Kim's Video, first outlet of the incomparable video chain; its closing due to an exorbitant rent hike was a real cultural loss to the 'hood. Briefly replaced by Tigerland, Viet/Thai. Downstairs was Route 85A, happy underground bar; briefly Big Lug, bear hangout. Now known as The Rook. Ryan and Kara Karaoke by edenpictures, on Flickr

81: Sing Sing Karaoke has good song selection, poor soundproofing. Was Babyland, surreal infant-themed bar.



79: Fei Ma, Chinese take-out; means "Flying Horse" Sunset on Village View in the East Village of NYC by jebb, on Flickr

63 (corner): Village View Apartments. Pleasant shortcut through highrises to First Avenue.

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Ryan on Sixth Street by edenpictures, on Flickr

Con Edison sub- station























E 5TH ST ===> E

72 (corner): East Village Prescription, homeopathy-oriented drug store.






66: Lancelotti, styley housewares; Etherea, alternative music; Ink, foreign and domestic periodicals

64: Exit 9, funky gifts










W <===         EAST 4TH STREET         ===> E

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Ageloff Towers

55 (corner): This apartment building with cool Assyrian detail was built by developer Samuel Ageloff for $2.5 million in 1928, hoping to lure the affluent to what was then the Lower East Side; the 1929 stock market crash put a crimp in this plan, but it's not true, as the Songlines once reported, that Ageloff committed suicide by jumping off his tower. His grandson informs me that the developer bounced back from the Depression, "enjoyed life very, very substantially," and lived to be 92.

Cucino Cuzco was on the ground floor--now a bank.

51: Urban Roots was Medina Natural Foods

47: Galeria J. Antonio, crafts, was Limbo, New Age coffeehouse

45: Knit, specialty yarn

43 (corner): Mo Mo Falana, faerie-like designer dresses

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Corner: Key Food supermarket Avenue A Lion by edenpictures, on Flickr

50: Native Bean, formerly The Bagel Zone, before that Nation. The building features a frieze of medieval-looking lion faces. The bank here used to have the only ATM in the East Village east of 2nd Avenue.

Two Boots

Scoping the joint by Chuckumentary, on Flickr

44: This is the Two Boots pizzeria, the first of a chain of Italian/Lousianan cooking (two regions shaped like boots). The cinephile restauranteurs used to also have Two Boots Video, the Den of Cin experimental cinema space and, on the corner at 155 E. 3rd, the Pioneer Theater, featuring offbeat offerings --all unfortunately closed.


W <===         EAST 3RD STREET         ===> E

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41 (corner): Was Des Moines, a place to hang out.

39: Essex Card Shop

37: Reboot, formerly the flagship of the Two Boots mini-chain.

35: Sons + Daughters, pricey toys/children's clothing


























29: Pretty Decorating

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Corner (150 E 3rd): East Village Farm, deli; not to be confused with the bigger store four blocks north.

36: Amir Restaurant, falafel

Mo Pitkin's House of Satisfaction

Mo Pitkin's House of Satisfaction by aphrodite-in-nyc, on Flickr

34: The folks from Two Boots' attempt to create the quintessential East Village hangout, complete with Judeo-Latino cooking (e.g., the Cuban Reuban), a venue for bands and readings called Upstairs at Mo's, and Sadie's Hideaway, a private party space. The place is named for Phil and Jesse Hartman's eccentric cousin, who claimed that he tried to assassinate Hitler. Sadly, now closed.

32: Esashi sushi Burger Klein by justindula, on Flickr

28: Gracefully, gourmet grocery store that sparked an organizing drive at local bodegas. Formerly Burger-Klein, a furniture store whose sign is still on the facade. In 1989, this was Context Studios, now in Williamsburg.

26: A methadone clinic.

24 (corner): Graceland, deli owned by the same Grace that owns Gracefully.


W <===         EAST 2ND STREET         ===> E

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2A by edenpictures, on Flickr

25 (corner): The bar with no sign is known as 2A

23: Cantinella was Alice's Coffeeshop, Polish-American diner. Briefly Aunt Baba Jean's.

17: Best Housekeeping, appliances since 1924

13: Up & Up Laundromat

11: Ben Ari Arts, Jewish religious items

9: Ella was Julep, Boysroom, Shampu, Vain, Arca.

7: The Library, a cozy, dimly lit bar lined with books; formerly Psycho-Mongo's House of Sublimation, and the vibe is not as different as you'd think. Nice Guy Eddie's by Babbling Bryan, on Flickr

5 (corner): Nice Guy Eddie's ( "Home of the Eddie Burger"), bar named for one of the more repellent characters in Reservoir Dogs. In the early 1990s, it was a music club called Street Level. There's a KISS mural on the southern wall.

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20 (corner): Was Schneider's Juvenile Furniture; after serving the East Village's baby needs since 1950, moved in 2004 to Chelsea.



14: Double Down Saloon, New York incarnation of a Las Vegas "clubhouse for the lunatic fringe." Was Julep (which moved across the street), before that Mekka.

12: Kelly's Sports Bar, latest in a succession of bars here, including J.P. Warde's, Alchymy, Spoon and Jaycox Coal.

10: Discovery Wines, an info-rich, gallery-like shop.












deli by a sheer moisturizing experience, on Flickr

Corner: Houston Deli, formerly Food Valley


W <===         EAST HOUSTON ST         ===> E

The southern boundary of the East Village

West:

Palladio would be proud, or horrified by masck, on Flickr

Corner (225 E Houston): Element, a dance club. Was Manhattan Gentlemen's Club, a strip club; a goth nightclub known as Chaos and The Bank; and artist Jasper John's home and art vault. Originally the Provident Loan Society, whose name can still be seen on the building.

179: Essex Ale House was 12'' Bar, formerly Filthy McNasty's, before that Baby's Bar & Lounge. At the same address is Essex Kitchen, a noodle joint. Building dated 1910.

Corner: E & S Wholesome Foods--for Essex and Stanton, presumably.

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ABC Playground

ABC No Playground by EssG, on Flickr Notable for its giant metal frog.





Anna Silver School (P.S. 20)

166 (block): Named after the mother of a former board of education president, P.S. 20 was educating the children of immigrants since 1898--mostly Eastern European Jews like George Gershwin, Edward G. Robinson and Jacob Javits. It's been on this block since 1964--now most of the students are from families that come from China, Latin America or Bangladesh--though there's also a new wave of Eastern Europeans.

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Corner (117 Stanton): El Nuevo Amanacer ("The New Dawn"), Latin restaurant

161: Clayton Patterson Gallery & Outlaw Art Museum houses a huge archive of Lower East Side cultural history. It was Patterson who taped the Tompkins Square police riot of 1988.

151: The first meeting of the Workmen's Circle, a radical Jewish labor group, was held at this address in 1892 in the apartment of cloakmaker Sam Greenberg. It's now the site of Gotham Court, a 2003 apartment complex, which houses the Laugh Lounge, a comedy club where Todd Barry sometimes performs.

139-145: These tenements date to 1889. No. 141 is KGB Liquor, est. 1933 (20 years before the actual KGB).

137: Rewind lounge was SX 137

133: Mason Dixon, Southern-themed bar from the owners of Fat Baby

131 (corner): Fancy Pharmacy

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123 (corner): Was Visconti Italian Menswear

121: At this address, at the house of coin dealer Augustus B. Sage, the American Numismatic Society was founded on April 6, 1858. Now there's a bar here called Whiskey Ward--which was the nickname of the Lower East Side's 4th Ward, noted for its drinking establishments.

119: Sunflower Video

115: Boss Tweed's Saloon, named for the corrupt leader of Tammany Hall who died two blocks away; replaced Smithfield, bar named for a Dublin vegetable market.




103: Le Lupanar, new restaurant; the name derives from a Pompeiian brothel. Used to be Rodriguez Restaurant, Latin diner.

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Essex Street Market

essex market 2 by bondidwhat, on Flickr

120 (block): These buildings were put up in 1938 to give pushcart vendors a home when pushcarts were forced off the street to make way for the automobile. While most of the vendors did very poorly by the transition, one of the market buildings is still in use. Essex Market by emily geoff, on Flickr Another is occupied by the Downtown Family Care Center, an NYU project. The north end of the market is occupied by Essex, a spacious, arty bar. Towards the south end is a reincarnation of Shopsin's, legendary West Village eatery.


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West:

Corner (111 Delancey): American Choice Deli

83: Fong Da Bakery


Eastern Dispensary

75 (corner): In 1895, this stand-alone building was part of a healthcare system for the poor, which included Greenwich Village's Northern Dispensary. Also known as the Good Samaritan Dispensary. Now houses Eisner Bros. sportswear--founded c. 1971.

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Corner (115 Delancey): Olympic Restaurant, diner










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Seward Park High School

Alphabet/City: Seward Park High School by litherland, on Flickr

The school was built on the site of the Ludlow Street Jail. Victoria Woodhull, who in 1872 became the first woman to run for president, was jailed here that Election Day for publishing an account of Rev. Henry Ward Beecher's affair with a parishioner. (As a woman, she would not have been allowed to vote anyway.) This jail was also home to William Marcy "Boss" Tweed, after he was convicted of misappropriation of funds in 1873. Though he escaped to Spain at one point, he was brought back and eventually died here on April 12, 1878. Bernard Tschumi's Blue building from Grand & Essex by hragvartanian, on Flickr

The school dates back to 1929; famous grads include Walter Matthau, Tony Curtis, Zero Mostel, Jerry Stiller and the songwriter Sammy Cahn--not to mention both Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Today the New Design High School, an art-oriented magnet school, is on the fourth floor.

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64-66: Seward Park Extension



























60: Former site of Aarom Sinsheimer's saloon, where on October 13, 1843, the service organization B'nai B'rith ("Sons of the Covenant") was formed by 12 German-Jewish immigrants. (See plaque.) Now the address of the Coalition for Human Housing daycare center.

56 (corner): Seward Park Community Center


W <===     GRAND STREET     ===> E

West:

Nueva York by Manuel Delgado Tenorio, on Flickr

Corner (355 Grand): Flowers cafe has benches outside labeled "for our customers and the elderly."

49: East Side Company Bar is owned by Milk & Honey's Sasha Petraske-- but unlike Milk & Honey, you don't need to know the secret phone number to get in. At the same address are The Pickle Guys.





W <===         HESTER ST



21: King Size Bar, from the owner of Il Bagatto--the name is ironic.
















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Corner (357 Grand): Law & Tax Offices



Seward Park

NYC - LES - Seward Park: Mosaic Map by wallyg, on Flickr

This park was established in 1899 by the Outdoor Recreation League, replacing crumbling tenements that were torn down in 1897. It's named for William Seward (1801-72), an early abolitionist who became NY governor (1838-42) and a U.S. senator (1848-61), he served as secretary of state under Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. He's most remembered for paying Russia $7 million for Alaska in 1867. But it's his pro-immigration policies that made him the namesake of this park serving an immigrant neighborhood.

The northern part of the park was made into a playground in 1903--the first munipal playground in the U.S. A public bath--the first in a New York park-- was built here in 1904 and demolished in 1936, replaced by a recreation building in 1941. NYC - LES - Seward Park: Schiff Fountain by wallyg, on Flickr

The Schiff Fountain, paid for by financier Jacob H. Schiff and designed by Arnold Brunner, was built in 1895 in Rutgers Square and moved here in 1936.

Numerous Tai Chi practitioners can be found in the park every morning.


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This intersection is the site of an annual Succoth market, selling palm, myrtle and willow branches for the Jewish holiday.

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Corner (162 East Broadway): Golden Carriage Bakery is part of a local chain of Chinese bakeries--in a six-story building from 1900.

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Straus Square

NYC - LES: Nathan Straus Square by wallyg, on Flickr

Named for Nathan Straus, a co-owner of Macy's who gave much of his wealth to philanthropic projects, including lodging houses, a tuberculosis sanitarium for children, World War I relief and health centers in Palestine. Straus was a primary proponent of the pasteurization of milk. Formerly Rutgers Square, named for Henry Rutgers, scion of a brewing family that owned land here; Rutgers was a Revolutionary oficer and donated money to revive Queen's College in New Jersey, now named after him. Includes the Supreme Sacrifice memorial, a pillar dedicated to the Lower East Siders who lost their lives in the world wars.


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Corner (2 Rutgers): The Crossroads, an eight-floor condo development built in 2000








Corner (141 Henry): St. Teresa's Church (Roman Catholic)

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Corner (165 East Broadway): Wing Shoon Seafood Restaurant was the Garden Cafeteria (1911-83), a kosher dairy joint that was an intellectual hub of the neighborhood. The likes of Emma Goldman and Leon Trotsky used to argue politics here; Fidel Castro paid a visit when he was in town. Isaac Bashevis Singer, a regular, featured the place in "The Cabalist of East Broadway."

The current restaurant was the setting for the Flight of the Conchords' song "Sugar Lumps."


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Rutgers Houses

playground, Rutgers Houses by 2613 say yeah!, on Flickr

Block (61 Pike): An NYC Housing Authority development built in 1965, with five 20-story buildings housing 721 apartment with more than 1,600 residents. It's named for Henry Rutgers (1745-1830), a local landowner and brewer who used to own a large farm on what is now the Lower East Side, including the land this project is built on. He also gave his name to the New Jersey university.

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La Guardia Houses

1955, Madison St by CORNERSTONES of NY, on Flickr

300 (block): A NYC Housing Authority complex, built between 1954-57. The five buildings between Rutgers and Clinton streets, each 16 stories, house 610 units. The namesake is Fiorella LaGuardia, mayor of New York City from 1934-45.



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EAST RIVER







Is your favorite Avenue A spot missing? Write to Jim Naureckas and tell him about it.

Topography: Avenue A is a collectively produced guide (now largely historical) to Avenue A drinking establishments.

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